In sales, we are taught how to overcome objections, get past gatekeepers, push for appointments, and close sales. We bombard prospects with generic pitches over the phone and email. Sometimes we stop in unannounced and ask them to stop what they are doing to talk to us. And we wonder why some prospects don’t like salespeople?
Most salespeople essentially are taught to go against basic human nature when approaching prospects. We do things to prospects that we hate when they are done to us! Do you like getting calls from telemarketers that won’t take no for an answer? No, of course not. But we often do the same exact thing.
The problem is that we get so focused on the goal of making a sale, and quickly, that we start to look at prospects as just a means to an end. We essentially dehumanize the prospect, thinking of them as this faceless entity on the other end of the phone just waiting to hit us with objections. Instead, we need to approach prospects the way that we want to be approached in a sale. Get to know each other, build trust, and ultimately help them make the best decision for them and their company.
Here are some do’s and don'ts when interacting with prospects.
DO: Get rid of the sales speak. Focus on building relationship and trust before trying to make a sale.
DON’T: Try to get an appointment. If your objective is purely to get an appointment with the prospect, then you are putting undue pressure on yourself, putting the prospect on the defensive, and sounding like every other sales rep they talk to. Instead focus on building credibility and rapport, and the appointments will naturally follow.
DO: Treat the call like the first move in a chess match. You can’t win a game of chess in one move, but you can strategically set up for the next and subsequent ones. Sales is the same way – treat your first call as a strategic move that is designed to improve your overall chances of getting the sale.
DON’T: Become Impatient. Your prospects are busy, and just because they haven’t returned your last couple of calls doesn’t mean they aren’t still interested – it likely means they just have a lot on their plate. Be pleasantly persistent without being pushy, don't panic, and don’t make assumptions that you’ve lost the sale.
Most of us, prospects and sales reps, are trying to accomplish the same things. We want to do a good job, we want to make a good living, and we want to remove as much stress and risk from our jobs as possible. When we approach a prospect as another human being with the same goals that we have, they appreciate it and it ultimately results in more sales.