Explore these opportunities if you want to make a real connection with your prospects and clients.
Relationship selling is one of the oldest sales methodologies. While I’d argue that there are more consistent and effective sales methodologies available today, many of the lessons that we learned from relationship selling are still valuable. How you connect with your prospects and clients on a human level will always be important and can end up making a big difference in your business.
Again, relationship selling is not a new idea, and that’s probably why you are missing opportunities to leverage the human touch to its fullest potential. You are thinking, “I’m friendly, and I’ll ask about a client’s kids or golf hobby,” and move on.
Here are a few opportunities you might be overlooking:
Leverage your network before you take a first meeting
This is advice that everyone thinks they’re following because they check their LinkedIn connections, but one of our advisor clients showed us how you can take this to a new level. Before he attends a meeting, he asks everyone in his firm if they know either the prospect or anyone else at the prospect’s company. He also checks his own network for people who might know the prospect, and calls in a favor. He’s established the fact that he would go to the ends of the earth for people in his network; so they typically do the same for him.
Avoid getting bogged down in the details of the plan, especially early on
In-depth product knowledge is valuable, but the more you lean into the particulars of a plan, the farther you tend to drift away from the human being across the table. Find commonalities between you and your prospect so that you can connect with them. Do this by researching the prospect ahead of time and by understanding what prospects in your space care about. Sometimes that connection can come from something as simple as your articulating a business problem they might have and why it would matter to the prospect.
We sometimes think that being the subject-matter expert also means putting on a facade of infallibility and invincibility. But part of being human means being vulnerable and flawed. It’s OK to talk about challenges you might be facing or tell a personal story. For instance, did you spend all day yesterday in the emergency room because your 10-year-old broke his arm playing football? Talk about it. You can open the door to your personal life and still be professional. The result is a prospect who is more engaged with you.
Remember that mindset and sincerity matter
Just because you present content that seems personal to a client or prospect doesn’t mean that it will come across as genuine. There is no way to fake being genuine, but it might help to think of you and your prospect as peers. You might be selling something, but if you frame the interaction in your mind as a meeting of two equal professionals working collaboratively toward the same goal, this might help you talk and engage with your prospect in a way that comes across as natural and authentic.
When you integrate more human-to-human connections into your business—from your sales process to how you engage your employees to how you manage your network—you build a web of stronger relationships. More engaged prospects mean more sales and more loyal clients. By having a network of people who feel like they know you and are deeply connected with you, you will have more help when you need it. And employees who feel like they know you inherently trust you and want to help you succeed.
Leveraging the potential of the human-to-human touch has been the subject of so many books and has been taught at so many seminars that we’ve turned an authentic and organic part of being human into a paint-bynumbers formula. Step back from that and acknowledge the reality of who you and your prospects are so that you can make a real connection.