Want to discover why selling is like dating? Read on.
“Hello, Stationers Direct; how can I help you?”
‘’Hi, It’s Dave from Super Supplies, Is Julie Andrews there please?”
“One second, Dave, I’ll put you through.” …
“Hi Dave, It’s Julie here; thanks for calling me, I love getting calls from your sales guys. I got your email and, WOW, I’m sold, I want to buy all of your products straight away!”
Wouldn’t it be great if this was the response to every (or even one) of your cold calls, instead what tends to happen is:
- The receptionist will get your name and/or your company name wrong at least twice. “No, it’s Super Supplies, not Super Surprise!”
- ‘Julie Andrews’ won’t have a clue who you are.
- If you do get through, you’ll be met with more suspicion by Julie than how a turkey views Christmas.
So how can you change this? Well for a start you need to warm your leads up and make them want you!
Selling is like dating. You need to treat the selling scene like you’re getting ready to meet the love of your life.
Been a while, since your last date? Don’t worry we’ve got you covered with our little black book of tips below.
Stage 1: Searching for that special someone.
As we’ve said, selling is like dating. And this stage is critical for both, selling and dating. Are they the right person for you? Are you fit for them? Have they already committed to someone else or is there room for maneuver for them to check out your *ahem* product?
Going on a blind date means you won’t know any of this until you are sat down with the person. That’s why more and more people are signing up to dating apps and websites to help them narrow that search pool down further.
This way, they only need to talk to people that they know like them back or have similar likes and interests.
Confession time, I met my wife at a young age and so I missed out on using all the dating websites and apps, but I have it on good authority that it is basically a case of signing up, writing your profile and then going ‘hunting’ for people you think you could be a match for…. Much in the same way you look for a sale.
So, in the huge, wide world, there are millions of companies but how do you find the companies which need what you are selling?
Linkedin is always a good place to start by searching for companies or people who work in certain industries or have a certain job title, to narrow down your search.
You could also try D&B Hoovers or Zoominfo. Both companies have huge databases that extract information from elsewhere, copy them into useful data fields, and store it in a database. You can then gain access and search by filters for the exact companies you would like to find, and you can even import these details into your CRM system.
Stage 2: Flirt with them a little.
You’ve secured their details, now it’s time to warm them up and say … 'How you doin'?'
…well maybe not quite, but it is time to flirt.
So how do you flirt in a business sense? It’s maybe best not to drop innuendos into your email or send them a saucy snap.
Instead, if you’ve got their email address it’s time to put it to good use.
Not by sending them email upon email of the history of your company and how great you are though Super Supplies have been up and running since 1973… blah blah blah.
Here at Super Supplies, we are proud to say we stock over 1500 products.
Still don’t care.
Your prospect doesn’t care about you or your company. They just want to know what’s it in for them?’ What benefit is your product going to give them that they haven’t already got?
It’s time to give them something! Imagine you are on a blind date, you need to get their interest quickly, give them something which proves that you’re a good match for them.
To do this, we recommend email nurturing, which is similar to keeping in touch with someone after your date via text messages. Essentially, you’re warming them up for a second date.
This a series of emails that will go out to them over a set period of time, which show you know all about them, what their pain points are, and that you know how to fix them.
Make sure as part of this series of emails, you send them an email case study too. This shows that similar companies in their industry are working with you and show how you have solved their problems.
So, you aren’t just selling to them, and you are proving that you know all about them and their industry. You have even helped similar companies, so by not using you they are at a disadvantage.
Stage 3: Arrange a date.
You are now on to stage three of why selling is like dating, flirting over, it’s time to arrange a meeting. But how? I hear you ask.
Well, no one likes the thought they are missing out on something. So, if you have done a good enough job at stage 2 then you can sign off your last email with a simple, ‘Can you afford to miss out on our product? Can we arrange a call?’.
Now, if you’ve got their number give them a call, remind them of all that excellent material you shared with them and why your product is such a great fit for their business.
Much like on a date, confidence is needed at this stage. You have done the right research and you trust in your product, so you really are helping them.
Sometimes and for whatever reason, bad timing or maybe they’re committed to someone else, you might not be able to talk to them further or they really aren’t interested. It is a ‘no’.
Unlike a date, even if they are committed, why not ask them ‘if you can circle back in a few months?’ Then in the meantime, you can even put them into another email nurturing campaign to prove your worth once more.
Don’t let a ‘no’ deflate you, as a wise fisherman once said, there’s plenty more fish in the sea, so get back to stage one and get looking!
Stage 4: The meeting.
If you have been successful at stage three, then it’s time to meet up and see if you really are a good match for each other.
Expectations have been set and you’ve given them a nice taster of what they can expect from you. You need to ensure there are no nasty surprises at this stage.
Just like a date, no one want’s to be ‘catfished’, so if you’ve said your product can help a company solve a problem then you need to ensure it does.
If your product can’t solve their issues, then your meeting will have been a waste of time for both of you.
So, get prepared!
Just like a date, get your best clothes ready, do your online research (don’t mention how good they looked in those holiday snaps from 2011 though!), make a list of things to say and ask and get a good night’s sleep.
At the meeting, make the day about them and discuss their needs. Remember you have two ears and one mouth for a reason, so listen more then you talk but always relate back to how you can solve their problems and benefit them.
Offer them free advice if possible, too, if you noticed something they aren’t doing, which your company can help them with, tell them. This way you are already working with them and for them, which builds trust.
Stage 5: Seal the deal.
Do everything right in the meeting and just like a date, at the end of the night, it’s time to seal the deal, right?
Well, sometimes you can do everything right, but you won’t get what you want straight away. It could be that the company you’re dealing with will have a long internal buying process or lots of decision makers which make it impossible to sign off on a deal right away.
Don’t stress, respect their decision and agree a time to check back with them.
Stay in touch too! Just like after a date you need to judge your success. How well did it go? Will you will be likely to get that kiss on the cheek, next time.
Stage 6: … And live happily ever after!
So, you’ve got back in touch, got that second date and a third and things have been going well, now it’s commitment time!
In a business sense, you’ve been getting on well, you’ve shared some good times, you laughed over that time you asked, “how are you?” and they said, “I’m good … for a Monday.” Ha, PRICELESS!
You get down on one knee (which looks a bit weird to the person buying from you), “Will you marry me?” you accidentally ask, I mean… “Can we sign off on a deal?”
“Yes!”, They’ve said yes, job well done. It’s time to get that contract signed and it’s time to live happily ever after, right?!?
Well no, not quite. Just remember, as well as good times, just like any relationship, they’ll be bumps in the road too.
This is when your true worth shines. Bad times are natural but don’t forget what attracted you to them. Don’t forget all they have done for you and just like a marriage, reward them, unexpectedly, from time to time!!
Then you really can live happily ever after!