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You don’t ask a woman to marry you when you are first introduced. At least, most of us don’t. And, if you’re a woman, you don’t ask or expect to be asked then, either. You expect to be courted – to be asked out on a series of dates, to find out more information about each other, to meet friends and family, to experience that first kiss and more. Eventually, if everything progresses smoothly, you expect a proposal and then the wedding.
A sale is very similar to that. Despite the common saying from the 1992 movie Glengarry Glen Ross, ‘Always Be Closing’; you can’t ask for the sale when you first meet the prospect or you’ll be doing a lot of greeting but not much closing.
Let’s take a look at all the similarities between the sales and courtship processes. First, what if a friend or previous customer sends someone in to see you? Well, that is a blind date. You probably know more than you would if you just met someone in public. The person who refers them to you has filled you in on some information about them just like a friend would do if they were setting you up to go out with someone they knew. And, you have been recommended as someone to do business with or to date.
But what if someone just comes to your place of business looking to maybe purchase something? That will work just like if you met someone at the grocery store, laundromat or bar one night. No matter what you call it in the dating world, in the sales world it’s called the meet & greet and breaking the ice and the process is just the same.
Let’s assume everything goes well in your initial conversations and you mutually decide to move along. In the sales world, in order to proceed you need to build the relationship with your prospective customer. In a courtship, this is called dating. In either case, it cannot be rushed and it must be mutual. Part of this process, in both cases, is analyzing the other’s wants and needs. There needs to be lots of communication. In the sales world, it is important to differentiate yourself from the competition and this is true in the dating world, as well. Make yourself special and you dramatically increase your chances for success.
At some point in the dating process, you are going to lean in and go for that first kiss – trial close. One of two things are going to happen – you get the kiss (a yes to your trial close) or you get slapped (a no to your trial close). If you get the latter, you typically don’t treat it as a final ‘NO’ but rather as an objection. It is your job to try to overcome the objection and then try for a trial close again.
Once you have resolved all of the objections and have been successful at getting a few kisses, you begin to think about the proposal. You must be careful not to move too fast. Make sure you have answered all the objections and that your partner is also ready to proceed before moving ahead.
Once you are confident that both parties are ready, it’s time to ask for the sale. Like it was while dating, it is important to make the proposal different and memorable. This is a critical step in your relationship but too many men fail to pull the trigger at the right time whether we’re talking about asking for the sales or proposing.
Once your partner/customer has said ‘Yes’, we can move along to completing the process. Luckily, closing the sale usually takes less planning and costs less than the typical wedding; however, don’t settle for average. The purchase your new partner has just made is very important to them and you want to end this initial step in your relationship on a high note.
You can continue this analogy into talking about referrals, repeat business and even divorce from an unhappy customer but I’ll stop for now. Just remember, prospective customers must be handled just as politely and with as much attention as you would handle a prospective spouse. In that way you are likely to be both lucky in love and lucky in sales.