In my last post I wrote about one habit I recommend salespeople break while building rapport and trust with prospects – saying “let me be honest with you.” In this post I want to recommend a habit for you to start – that of establishing agreement with your prospect. Don’t we all wish that we could get this more often with our prospects and clients?
I believe that if you focus on agreement throughout your sales process you will find you spend less time selling and less time chasing accounts that don’t buy.
Agreement should occur just a minute or so into your first meeting.
It can take many forms, although ultimately it simply means that you and the prospect agree on some of the basic ground rules as follows:
- The length of the meeting
- The topics to be covered/discussed
- The fact that you will both agree to say “no” at the conclusion of the meeting if you don’t think there is any value to be added.
- If there is not a “no” at the end of the meeting, you will establish clear deliverables for your next engagement with this prospect (meeting, call, etc.).
Each meeting you have with a prospect, either in person, by phone or via a virtual meeting (such as an internet chat or conference) should begin with such an agreement. Doing so shows the prospect that you are a professional and that you respect them as well as expect respect to be reciprocated from them. Most importantly, from a simple sales perspective it ensures that at the end of the meeting you get either a “yes” meaning there is a next step or a “no” meaning there is no need to meet again. When managed properly, you can eliminate prospects telling you “I need to think it over and get back to you” or any other similar situations where you lose control of the process and ultimately the sale.
Next time you have a meeting with a prospect, begin by building rapport, and then agree to each of the four points listed above. Doing so will allow you to greatly increase your effectiveness and profitability.