Whenever decision-makers are willing to meet with you, you have reached a favorable juncture of circumstances. If you are then prepared to take advantage of this opportunity by building a level of trust with these individuals, there is a good chance that they will tell you enough about themselves so that you can easily recommend the appropriate package of your products and/or services that will meet their express needs.
Many top sales representatives feel that the sale is as good as closed if they can just obtain an appointment or meeting with a decision-maker. Their feeling is that their prospective customer must need their products or services or they would not be willing to set an appointment in the first place. The following checklist has been developed to help you make the most of a favorable juncture of circumstances and build the trust levels that are vital to your overall sales success:
Smile! No matter what kind of day you are having, if you will smile it will give those people you contact a feeling of acceptance. It will also help you feel better about your day. Tape a smiley-face or the word “smile” on your desk or telephone to remind you of the importance of a smile on your face and in your voice. Top sales professionals use the technique of thinking of a funny story or the latest joke they have heard just before meeting a prospective customer. Thinking about the story or joke almost assures them of having a smile on their face as they meet a decision-maker for the first time. Make sure you are smiling as you call for appointments or are conducting a sales presentation.
Shake your client’s or prospect's hand. A warm, firm, friendly handshake goes a long way in building a trusting relationship. It tells your clients or prospects that you are a friendly person and that you are glad to see them. If your handshake is limp it can leave a negative impression. It can be equally as bad to grip someone's hand too hard. Remember you only have one chance to make a great first impression.
Ask an open-ended personal question. (Open-ended questions require an explanation and can rarely be answered with a “yes” or “no”). Psychologists tell us that when a person reveals something personal about themselves, it builds trust.
It’s vital for you to practice using open-ended questions to create a short period of small talk (the prospect doing 80% of the talking), at the outset of your presentation. Remember, people buy from people that they trust. When people start to talk about themselves, they start to build a trusting relationship with you so that later, as you discuss your products and/or services, the things you say will be believed.
Research shows that people decide whether to follow the advice and buy from a sales professional in the first two minutes of the conversation. By following the track outlined above, you can make the most of your initial contact and truly turn each meeting of transaction into a favorable juncture of circumstances (a sales opportunity).