A skillful sales rep will typically start with a relevant ice breaker that immediately transitions into a brief conversation, whereas less proficient sales reps give a forced ice breaker that awkwardly leads to their initial approach. Keep in mind, I’m not supporting a 5-minute ice breaker. Effective ice breakers can take place quickly. However, I do support a genuine ice breaker that shows you have interest in the potential customer.
As I like to say, “Emphasize how to customize, humanize and personalize the experience.”
Although you have several items needing to be discussed throughout the course of a sale, don’t forget to look for opportunities to talk with people during this process. For example, while talking with a potential customer who gets interrupted by their son who is dressed for a baseball game, you should pause your sales pitch and ask a couple of questions about the boy’s team. Showing interest in others builds trust with them.
During one encounter on the doors I observed a sales rep go through the exact protocol that I’d taught him…initial approach, qualify, overcome the concern and close…it was flawless. Unfortunately, he was missing the element of the personal touch and when it came time for the customer to give her credit card information there was some hesitation. So I interjected with a simple question,
“How long have you lived in the area?”
This question spawned the makings of a great conversation. We found out where she moved from and what she did for a living. Those two extra minutes changed the entire conversation from technical to personal.
She gave us her credit card number and even admitted that she never gives her credit card information out to anybody, but apparently we weren’t just anybody. We had built a relationship and gained her trust. A simple question was all it took to turn a sales pitch into a meaningful conversation.
Look for opportunities to talk with your potential customers…don’t just try to sell them!