Here are two goals and two tactics that will help you build relationships with new customers and prospects faster AND it will make your day much more fun. I used this in both inside and outside sales.
Let’s say today is Tuesday and I work in outside sales. I’m going to set two goals today.
Goal #1: Contact X number of people today through a combination of appointments and cold calls.
Goal #2: Make 75% of those people smile at least once during our conversation. I will do that by looking for openings when I can use humor in an appropriate manner or when I can make a statement that builds rapport with the person to whom I’m talking.
I once walked into an insurance agent’s office knowing only that the agent was female. Inside I found two women working in her office. I walked in with my business card in hand, smiled, and paraphrased the old Marine Corp slogan, which was in use then. “I’m looking for a few good women!” They immediately laughed and the ice was broken. The agent heard me, came out, and I was able to make my presentation.
At other times I’ve cold-called businesses where it was obvious my timing was wrong as the receptionist was extremely busy. I’d smile, hand her my business card, and say, “Wow! You’re busier than a Wal-Mart in December!” She’d smile, and I’d say that I’m come back some other time.
My first tactic was to smile. My second one was to downplay selling my products and services and to focus on their wants and needs.
Setting a goal of seeing a certain number of people per day made the day challenging and exciting. I’d frequently find myself at 5PM saying, “Okay, I need two more contacts to make my goal.” Instead of being worn out at 5PM, I was still raring to go.
By setting a second goal of making 75% of them smile; I was forced to maintain a friendly, personable attitude that facilitated listening. Taking that one step further, I focused on listening to their needs and became adept at asking two or three questions to qualify the prospects.
Bottom line, by setting these two goals and using the two tactics of smiling and listening, I was able to establish more relationships with people.
For those of you in inside sales, it may not be practicable to set a goal of seeing X number of customers. But you can make 90% of the ones you see smile. That act of smiling may be what brings the customer back to see you.