Selling on Valentine’s Day
By Alex Cole
To Develop a Happy Client Relationship:
- Take it slow and don’t try to “fall in love” too quickly
- Learn as much as you can about your prospect
- Determine if there is compatibility
- Don’t force a relationship that isn’t there
- Don’t be afraid that it might not work out long-term
Remember the ultimate goal is to answer the question: “Do you qualify to do business with me and do I qualify to do business with you?”
Play The Sales Brew:
By Alex Cole, Recruiting Specialist, Hire Better Salespeople
People either love or hate Valentine’s day. And it’s not all based on whether you are in a relationship or not. Some believe it’s a commercialized holiday that merely focuses on the giving of material possessions instead of focusing on the deeper meaning behind the celebration… love.
Love is a lot like selling. Or, more accurately, romantic relationships are a lot like selling. From the very first encounter until you say “I do”, they are parallel in approach and progression.
Let me explain…
At the beginning of any relationship, there is a courting period. The “getting to know you” phase is crucial for making a great first impression, gaining information about the other person and gauging if there is significant compatibility. The first date is primarily to figure out if there should be a second date. The same is true with selling. The first call is all about first impressions and seeing if there is any future for you and your prospect. In either scenario, if the first encounter goes well, you typically set up a meeting or agree to a second date.
After that, you may fall under the “dating” category. While in a romantic situation, you’re focused on still trying to learn as much as you can about the other person. You continue to build on the relationship by scheduling more dates and staying in touch with them via calling/emailing/texting. As you become more and more comfortable with the person, you tend to loosen up, show your sense of humor a little more and, generally, fall into a growth pattern. During each date, you look to take the relationship one step further and still try to decide if this is a long-term fit.
Once again, this is the same with selling. Usually there is a development curve that every new business relationship goes through. You set follow-up meetings to go over deliverable specifics, pricing, etc. After you get comfortable with a prospect, maybe your emails even get a little less formal- maybe you throw in a joke every once in a while or talk about the latest and greatest sporting event. Your ultimate goal is still to uncover this: “Do you qualify to do business with me and do I qualify to do business with you?”
Assuming all goes well and both parties are on-board with taking the relationship to the next step, you become exclusive. And this is where true growth occurs. Couples go through periods of happiness, sadness, anger, etc. which usually result in a stronger bond. There is a certain understanding in an exclusive relationship that it is not the type of thing you just throw away when times get hard. You work together to make it through. You work to make each other happy on a daily basis. And I’m sure you can guess what I’m about to say – yup, this happens in selling too. At this point, you are no longer selling to a prospect but to a customer. You are exclusive with one another now, so there is a certain level of trust and understanding. When you encounter differences of opinions and road blocks, you work hard to uncover the problem and fix it. That’s what you do in a good working relationship. And just because they are a customer now doesn’t mean you stop trying to do whatever you can to make it a happy situation. You may even “wine and dine” a customer, every once in a while, to show them you care. Obviously, this happens in dating and significant relationships. Which brings us back to the topic at hand- Selling on Valentine’s Day.
So, this is my lesson to you: Treat every prospect like they are someone you are trying to date. And no, I don’t mean that literally. What I mean is take it slow, learn as much as you can and don’t be afraid of the possibility that it might not work out long-term. Don’t try to fall in love too quickly. Don’t force a relationship that isn’t there. At the end of the day, you want to look at your prospect and know that there is a genuine connection and that both parties are happy. It won’t work out otherwise. So, go out and kiss a few frogs, go on a couple of dates and see who is the right fit for you and your business.
Now, for those that have already found “love”, congratulations to you. Go take your customer out on a “date” and show them some love this Valentine’s Day.