Learn to Engage Your Client

Don’t Let a Sales Call be Like a Bad Blind Date

Are your sales calls like a bad blind date? I mean for the client. Have you noticed that if you talk about yourself too much you won’t get another date? Hello! This is what many sales people do. They talk too much. They show too little knowledge of and interest in their client, and although the client is nice, they never return your call afterward. Duh!

Selling is so easy, and yet it’s so hard. Selling is easy when you know a lot about the prospect. You can show prospects how well you understand their situation in a polite and caring way, and you can then engage them in a discussion of their issues and needs. This allows you to sell the client what they want rather than convince them to change.

But selling is hard if you are focused on telling clients about your company, or media, and why it’s great, and why it’s perfect for them. Many sales people are so anxious to “sell” they never get the chance to truly engage and hear from their clients.

The idea that I would be giving dating advice makes my wife laugh. But bear with me.

Imagine a dating scenario where I — a skier — am introduced by a friend to a woman who also likes to ski. I sit down to dinner with my blind date and say: “So I understand that you ski. That’s nice, I love to ski, too! I’ve been skiing since I was a twelve and have skied in the East a lot, at Park City, Jackson Hole, and Zermatt, Switzerland. These days I ski a lot out here in Oregon at Mt. Bachelor. I’d love to take you some time. But enough about me. Tell me what you think about my skiing.”


Yeah, I know, no one with a clue would be so overbearing on a blind date. But how often do you or your sales people unleash their presentation about your magazine or Internet site and then, upon realizing they have talked too much, have words to the effect of “so tell me what you think about my magazine?”

Even worse, without asking questions about her love of skiing – first – I might have gone on that rant only to find out it is cross-country skiing she likes!

How much more likely would it be if the conversation opened like this: “So I understand that you ski. That’s nice I love to ski, too! How long have you skied? Where is your favorite place to ski? (I don’t’ need to go on here right?) I think we can say for certain that this scenario is much more likely to produce a second date.

The point here is that engaging the client is critical in every sales call. The skills to do so are not difficult. But it really does help if you train sales people and give them resources to establish rapport at the onset by telling the prospect something they know about the client and situation and then immediately asking for feedback. Focusing the conversation on the experiences, interests and needs of the prospect will keep the conversation on what they care about. Only after getting a clear understanding about where the client is coming from should sales people then begin to tell them about their property.

Sales people with the drive to overcome obstacles and who believe in their property are very valuable. But sometimes the more belief they have and the more drive they have, the more they need to be trained to hold back the sales pitch, to engage and to probe, in order that they learn to get the clients to tell them what they want. That will help your sales people have more success in making presentations and proposals that are well received. And it will win more business for management.

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