On the other end of the phone, a prospective supplier was nattering on about a software platform that many of her clients use. I had just said, I don’t use that system and don’t have an interest in adopting it, and gave my reasons.
This is a great example of how we (yes, I include myself here too!) can really get off track when talking with someone who is a possible client.
It’s tempting to talk about what we know, instead of what the prospective client wants to know.
Instead of listening to what I was saying, she rambled on about things that had no relevance to me or my business. I felt a little ignored. And it was a waste of my time and her energy.
What would have made a much bigger impression is if she had asked me a series of questions up front, listened to the answers, and then used that as her springboard for sharing the aspects of her business that were actually relevant to me.
• Tell me about your business. I did some online research, but I’d like to know more about it from your perspective.
• What is a challenge for you right now?
• What services would address that challenge and support your goals?
• How do you like to work with suppliers?
• What would really impress you about a supplier?
These are some examples of what she could have asked, but didn’t. She could have done a few minutes of online research to help hone her questions, but she didn’t.
As an early indicator of whether I’m going to get what I want from her company, this did not bode well. I was immediately less confident that she could deliver.
Was it nerves on her part? Or lack of skill? Was she responding out of habit? Or is she that self-focused?
I don’t know. And as a prospective client, it’s unlikely I’ll find out.
Whatever the reason, it’s not effective, and it in fact drove me further away, the opposite of what she wanted.
The most powerful conversation you can have with your prospects is one where you begin, right off the bat, to serve them and their business needs.
A conversation where your focus is to impress and sell a prospect is going to go awry. Focus instead on delivering the level of service you offer right from the start by demonstrating it.
What’s the most powerful conversation you can have with a prospective client? It’s the one where you listen and learn, and apply what you now know by sharing valuable information that can lead him to buy.