There is no such thing as the best CRM software.
There are several products that may address your business requirements better than others, but there is no top CRM solution or best CRM system. Sorry to disappoint you. There is a lot of hype in this industry sector and millions spent on marketing and branding, but the best CRM software for you is the system that best meets your current and future business requirements. It’s that simple.
Mid-sized enterprises and large corporations understand this. Smaller businesses tend to make their decision based more on name recognition and price than on business requirements. If I said Microsoft Dynamics CRM was the best CRM solution no one would argue, or perhaps the folks at Salesforce.com might. Now if I said Commence CRM was the best I am sure this would generate a few replies such as “Who?!” That’s because companies like Commence do not sell into the enterprise market or have the marketing budget of a Microsoft or Salesforce.com. But if I told you this company has been servicing the customer management software requirements of small to mid-size companies for more than two decades and has several thousand customers around the world this might get your attention. You see my point?
While I do not know your specific business requirements, I can offer some advice with regard to your selection of a CRM solution.
- Buy from a trusted name, but not necessarily the most branded name. For example, say you are a small business in the recruiting industry and you have uncovered a CRM solution that successfully addresses similar requirements to yours; they may be a better fit than Microsoft CRM – even if they are not as well known.
- How long has the company been in business? This is a scary industry and many of the current CRM solutions providers may not be around in the near term. Find one that has had staying power and a large customer base.
- Ask where your data is. Most of the newer CRM solutions are cloud-based which means someone else is storing your data somewhere. Find out where and make sure it’s a world class hosting service that will be protecting your data.
- Does anyone answer the phone when you call? Many low cost CRM solution providers only provide e-mail support, probably because they don’t have the staff to support your business. How comforting is that?
- Product enhancements – should you expect any? Will there be any? The technology sector moves at the speed of light. You will want to partner with a solution provider that continues to invest in their product, and protects your investment in theirs.
Good luck and good hunting.
Larry Caretsky, Commence CEO, has released the white paper “Don’t Let Quality Leads Slip Away: Executive Takes Action with CRM Software.”
Here’s an excerpt including the introduction and you can download the full white paper below:
“As a sales executive of a computer software firm, I became consistently frustrated when comparing the number of leads that we generated every quarter to the number of new business opportunities we closed. Something just didn’t add up so I decided to dig into this and find out what was going on…
The project was driven by our internal requirements and the frustration shared by so many executives I had interviewed who were looking to address this business challenge.”
Click to view or download the full CRM Whitepaper.
Image by Ben Andreas Harding on Flickr under Creative Commons license.
This is a Sales Question and Answer article from guest poster Dave Kahle, author and leading sales educator. Follow Dave’s latest Tweets at @davekahle.
Q. Dave, I’m interested in what you would recommend for a subscription to a monthly sales magazine and a sales improvement seminar.
A. You have touched one of my hot-buttons with this question. So, forgive me if you give a longer answer than you expect.
First, let me applaud you for asking the question. As amazing as it sounds, I have come to the conclusion that only about 5% of sales people ever invest in their own growth and improvement. My understanding of that number has evolved over the years. I used to think it was much higher, but the more experience I gain, the more I’m convinced that it’s a rare and unusual sales person who will actually spend $20.00 or so to improve himself/herself, much less to actually go to a seminar. So, just by asking the question, you have indicated that you are probably in that top percentile of sales people. And, the fact that you probably will invest in improving yourself means that, over time, you will distance yourself from the pack.
Before I tackle your question head on, let me sketch a little more background. Here’s a phrase to remember: Learning event. What’s a learning event? It’s an experience you have in which you encounter some new ideas, you gain insights in new ways of seeing existing ideas, or you are reminded of behaviors and practices of which you may have been aware, but from which you have drifted away.
So, reading a newsletter could be a learning event. So could a sales meeting or a conversation with one of your colleagues. So could five minutes spent after a sales call reflecting on what went well and what didn’t.
What’s important is this: As a result of a learning event, you focus on some better behavior which you are going to implement in the future. Learning, for adults, is all about behavior. In other words, you must find something that you can do differently, and decide to do that thing.
For example, you may have participated in one of my seminars. That’s a learning event. Following the seminar, you say to yourself, “I really should spend more time prioritizing my customers, so that I don’t waste my time with low potential accounts.” That thought is the “better behavior” which you decided to pursue as a result of the learning event.
Generating those kinds of commitments is what learning is all about. When you asked for a recommendation, my belief is that you ultimately want to generate those commitments to “better behavior” in yourself or in the sales people you manage.
I sometimes hear this kind of comment, “I knew that” from an experienced sales person following a seminar. My response is, “So what?” This is not about what you know, it’s about what you do. So the question should not be, “Is this something new that you didn’t know?” The question should be, “Is this something good that you are not doing, or that you could do better than you are now?”
The emphasis has to be on action (behavior), not just knowledge. Here’s a real life example. I had a conversation with a sales manager calling me with a problem. He had read my “How to Excel at Distributor Sales” book, and was impressed with, among other things, the chapters on getting organized. He said, “It is such basic information, but yet they don’t do it.” He went on to say that getting your file system organized was fundamental, but when he rode with his sales people, none of them had done it.
That’s the point. They probably all knew that they should be organized, but none of them were doing it. You see, it wasn’t about knowledge, it was about behavior.
If you want to continually improve, then you regularly answer the question: “What could I do better than I am doing now?” The question is not, “What do I not know that I should know?” It’s not just knowledge, it’s knowledge applied that is the issue.
The way you find answers to that question is to regularly engage in learning events.
In other words, rather than just one intense day-long seminar once a year, I’d prefer you to be involved in a learning event at least once a month, if not weekly. My recommendation is four hours once a month. The systematic and regular involvement in learning events puts you in the mindset of continuous improvement, constantly stimulates you with new “better behaviors” and allows you the time to focus on one or two areas of improvement every month.
One more little piece of background before I provide some specific resources for you.
We all understand that people have different ways they learn best. One thing that is rarely acknowledged is that different media generally have a slightly different impact on our learning. For example, when we take in something strictly by ear, we have a tendency to believe it more and remember it less. That’s why you can’t remember last Sunday’s sermon in church. It may have sounded good at the time, but you’ve lost the message in the few days since then. Taking something in by reading has the opposite impact. We are more critical of the information, but we retain it longer. It’s not as believable, but is more memorable.
The best learning experiences, then, require you to listen, to read, and to do. In that way, you are far more likely to gain helpful answers to the question, “What could I be doing better than I am doing now?” By the way, that explains why my telephone seminars, in-person programs and multimedia programs are configured and structured the way they are. They are all designed to maximize your learning by appealing to a multiple number of senses.
Sales Training Resources
That brings us to this conclusion: If you are going to do “continuous improvement” effectively, then you need to regularly expose yourself to a variety of learning events, focusing on the question, “What could I do better than I am doing now?” as a way of gaining value from every experience.
Here, then, are a variety of resources:
Start with my ezine by subscribing at http://www.davekahle.com/mailinglist.htm
Personal Selling Power has been a good quality publication, although I haven’t seen it around recently. I also subscribe to Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, which focuses both on management and sales. There are industry-specific publications for almost every trade group imaginable. Rather than attempt to list them here, let me just encourage you to get on their subscription lists. Contact the national association of companies who do what you do, and find out what publications are available for your industry.
I have to admit that I’m a terrible critic of others in my business. I think there is so much fluff passed off as information by people who have no idea how to help people learn, that it’s outrageous. So, I rarely find someone to recommend.
Beyond that, there are dozens of learning events in the form of seminars. Ask around, and get word-of-mouth recommendations from people whose opinion you respect. AMA does a good job with almost everything they produce, although they are a little pricey.
With about 50,000 books published in this country every year, you have an almost limitless variety from which to choose. I’m regularly asked to recommend a good book. My response is this: Read my books first. After you have read my books, then it really doesn’t matter much. If your attitude is right and you prepare your mind with the question, “What could I do better than I am doing now?” you’ll find something of value from almost any book.
Go to the library or the local book store, and pick up whatever appeals to you that day. Having said that, I have to admit that I am impressed with Neil Rackham’s books, and recommend them highly.
5. Other resources
Self-study multimedia programs are highly effective because they appeal to all the basic ways to learn. I specialized in them, and you’ll find a variety on my website. If you really want to get serious, check our Sales Resource Center® where we deliver 455 multimedia training programs 24/7 over the web – but remember, it’s only for the top 5-percenters of the world.
Whew! Now that’s a long answer to a short question. Hope this helps.
Article By Dave Kahle
Copyright MMXIII by Dave Kahle
All rights reserved
A best practice for sales people by Dave Kahle, author and leading sales educator.
There are several very common temptations that routinely present themselves to the field salesperson. One is to become too reactive. When you succumb to this temptation, you eventually default to a mindset that sees your job as essentially being your customer’s gofer. You determine where to go and what to do on the basis of who wants something from you at the moment. Thus, where you go on Monday depends on who called on Friday.
Another temptation is to be lulled by the repetitive nature of the business-to-business selling situation into a mindless routine. When you succumb to this temptation, you quit thinking about the most effective actions, and give in to the lure of the routine. It’s 10 AM on Tuesday, and you are at account ABC. Why are you here? Because it’s 10 AM on Tuesday. That’s what you do. It’s been years, if ever, that you thought about why you are here. You just are.
Both of these create salespeople of marginal performance, because they rob the salesperson of one of his most powerful assets: The ability to invest his/her selling time where it will produce the greatest return on time invested.
There is, however, a discipline that serves as a counter-weight to these temptations. The best salespeople routinely and with discipline and method, create a monthly plan for the investment of their time.
The monthly plan is an essential discipline that holds the two temptations discussed above at bay, and, at the same time, produces decisions that lead to the most effective actions.
It is a best practice of the best, and one of the Five Key Disciplines that we teach participants in our Kahle Way® Selling System.
A monthly plan is just that – a plan that you create for the investment of your selling time over the next 30 days. You do one every month, at the beginning of the month.
Normally, it will take you 30 to 90 minutes. In it, you complete a two-page form that asks you to identify the most effective actions you can take during the coming month, by category. For example, the monthly plan lists each of your target accounts, and asks for a one-line description of what progress you want to make this month in each of those accounts.
If your company expects higher performance on key product lines, then planning for this month’s efforts in regard to those is another category.
If you have some expectations for acquiring new customers, those efforts are described and to which you are committed.
You identify those opportunities that are closest to the money, and describe what progress you are going to make to bring them to closure.
You identify and commit to your efforts to improve yourself this month.
All of these are areas on which you focus, make decisions about, and then commit in writing to specific actions.
The result? A plan for the most effective use of your sales time next month.
It is a regular discipline of the best. To learn more, consider The Kahle Way® Distributor Selling System, or The Kahle Way® Business-to-Business Selling System.
Image “08:40″ by Alberto676 on Flickr under Creative Commons license.
This is a best practice for sales people by Dave Kahle, author and leading sales educator.
Article by Dave Kahle
This is one of those pieces of conventional wisdom that no one seems to question: “It’s good to be passionate about your product.” Like so many of these conventional myths that ingrain themselves into our psyche, this one has the potential for frustrating countless thousands of sales people, sales managers and chief sales officers.
Let me reassure you: It is not necessary to be passionate about your product or service in order to sell it effectively. In fact, your passion may be a detriment to an effective sales process.
Before you impale me on the skewers of this deeply-help belief, let’s consider this together.
The dictionary definition of “passion” is this: “enthusiastic — showing or having intense emotion.” In a business sense, we commonly think of passion as arising from a conviction that our product or service is a great value, or has some really unique features. So, when we are passionate about our product/service, we are so enamored with it that we become enthusiastic promoters of it. This enthusiasm is thought to be a good thing, and managers everywhere promote it.
Enthusiasm about your product is, however, greatly overrated, for a number of reasons. Let’s look at them.
First, enthusiasm comes out of you, the sales person. It arises out of your unique combination of life experiences and values. It says something about you, but has nothing to do with the customer, and says nothing about the product.
For example, you can have two sales people viewing the same product. One, a young, inexperienced sales person, is enthusiastic about the product. The other, a more experienced veteran, is much more objective and less emotional about the product. In that very real example, does the sales person’s passion arise out of the product or out of the person? Clearly, it says something about the person, and that person’s lack of experience.
I believe that experienced purchasers often view a sales person’s enthusiasm about a product as an indication of that person’s naivety and inexperience.
But, that’s not all. In fact, enthusiasm can be a detriment to servicing the customer because it clouds the communication process and weighs it heavily on the side of the seller. It holds your (the sales person’s) opinions up as more important than the customer’s.
When you are passionate about a product, you naturally want to talk about the product – after all, it’s so great that you are enthusiastic about it. And that enthusiasm then means that you don’t inquire deeply into the customer’s needs, interests or desires. Your enthusiasm often overrides your attention to the customer.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you are looking for a car, and have in mind a used, small SUV. You visit a car dealer, and a sales person introduces himself. You explain what you are looking for. The sales person walks you over to a new car – a model that has just been introduced. It has some really great new features, and the sales person is clearly enthusiastic about it. He goes on and on and you can tell that he is passionate about this new car. You listen politely, and then excuse yourself.
His enthusiasm got in the way of your needs. Perhaps if he weren’t so passionate, because he liked the new car, he would have spent more time trying to meet your needs. While he may have liked it, you weren’t particularly interested.
His passion was based on his opinion, his needs, and his interests, and not yours. So, passion comes out of the sales person’s experience and needs, not those of your customers. Passion can interfere with the sales process.
Passion can also blind you to the truth. Here’s an example. There was a reality TV show on for a while that rated people’s inventions. One inventor has created a wooden board game. It required a large wooden construction, larger than an ordinary card table to play. It looked like an interesting game, but the judges criticized the need for this construction, particularly in a day when far more fascinating games are routinely available for a fraction of the cost on smart phones and tablets.
The inventor stuck to his guns. He was passionate. He had invested his life savings in this game, and was enthusiastic about it. His passion and enthusiasm blinded him to the truth: It wasn’t very saleable. He would be better served by cutting his losses and moving on. Alas, his passion wouldn’t let him do that. His passion had blinded him to the truth, and interfered with a more rational decision.
Early in my career I was engaged by an entrepreneur in a similar situation. He had created a device that would alert the parents of school age children when the bus was about to appear at their bus stop. He was passionate about it, and invested lots of time and money into the product. Unfortunately, the market just did not want it. It took a couple of years and hundreds of thousands of dollars for him to find that out. His passion stood in the place of a wise decision.
As a veteran sales consultant, I routinely see people who are suffering in the aftermath of a passion, misplaced. They find or create an effort or company based on a passionate belief in something. However, their passion blinded them to the realities of the market. In a last ditch effort to rescue their vision, they call for the consultant. Unfortunately, I can rarely help them. Typically, they have depleted their resources in a mistaken effort that just a little more of some marketing effort would open the flood gates, and the world would share their passion and recognize their product.
The self-improvement literature is littered with exhortations to be ‘passionate’, to follow your passions, etc. Various examples are put forth of people achieving great things by being enthusiastic and following their passions. But very seldom does one see the far more common story – a misplaced passionate enthusiasm resulting in defeated dreams, mediocre performance and human potential squandered.
From my perspective, I’ll take experience, commitment and skill over passion every day of the week. There is a problem with passion.
Copyright MMXIII by Dave Kahle
All rights reserved
Image by MyEyeSees on Flickr under Creative Commons license.
Did you catch that Clydesdales commercial during the 2013 Super Bowl? Budweiser had just a bit of an audience that day, yes? Now – think back. How did it end?
Take a break, and check this out one more time.
How many names did they collect?
What’s the last action you can do to be a tiny part of this masterful piece of marketing?
If you can get your audience to respond, act, remember, engage, think, click, create, offer, contribute, participate, like, tweet, take action – or even name a baby Clydesdale – you have successfully used your social media marketing tool.
Think about what actions you can ask your consumers to take. If they become the slightest bit personally invested in your business, your name and product will stick with them.
It’s a fact: A whopping 63% of consumers are using social media. That is a massive amount of exposure, and if you aren’t using social media to cast a wider net, now is the time. The list only seems to grow each year: Twitter, Instagram, Quora, ZoomInfo, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, etc. Each and every one of these forms of social media is a golden opportunity to spread the message that you want to spread and to attain an even stronger reputation for your business. Just ask Budweiser.
Think of the connection between horses and beer. It seems like a far stretch, until you involve Clydesdales – make that a baby Clydesdale – and combine it with a warm-spirited, handsome, sentimental, and dedicated trainer. Budweiser created a story around that nameless pony, and what’s a viewer to do? Retain the product, retain the story, and of course, retain the question. No doubt, a fair portion of viewers will want to participate in the game of throwing into the ring a name for the pony. This is a superb example of how to create a buzz and get people talking after the commercial is over.
So what else can you do to get some of those 63% of buyers to bring some energy to your online presence? Every time they do, your online reputation is going to get a boost. Try some of these engagement techniques:
- Take a vote. Offer a few ideas for potential products that you’re thinking about bringing to the market, and have them cast their ballot with a simple click.
- Create a contest. Maybe it’s a trivia question of the week, or something light and fun that gets them to take a quick break from their daily tasks at hand.
- Let them inside. Create a short video that highlights you and your employees’ stories and pride. This will help your customers to feel a little bonded to the folks who work hard to create your product or service. We’re all in this thing together – this thing called life. Share that mentality, and you’ll grow both your reputation and client base. Keep it real, and they will respond. Maybe your viewers of the video will provide a comment or reaction. ASK them to!
- The direct involvement is always worthy, but you can also encourage your potential customer to participate in an indirect involvement question. Remember your first love? Maybe it was Fido, when you were five years old. Maybe it was your mom or dad, or maybe it was that little cutie in the back row in Algebra. For an indirect involvement question like this, you’re not actually soliciting answers, but you will still be getting them to respond. It’s an action, and that’s exactly what you want. Tie that indirect involvement question to an aspect of your business, and you’ve got them connected.
Get them to take some action, and watch your reputation skyrocket!
Engagement. Action. Response. Contribution. Connection. Your reputation and sales will increase if your social media viewers get involved.
Valerie J. Wilson is a freelance writer who writes about marketing, business, and the economy.
Image “Baby Clydesdale” by Bill Garrett on Flickr under Creative Commons license.
Image “Rocket Drag Race” by Steve Jurvetson on Flickr under Creative Commons license.
Including CRM in your sales cycle is a smart business strategy
In part one of this paper, we discussed how critically important it is to select a sales model that is appropriate for the products or services you are selling. In our case study the ‘NewCo’ company needed to transition from a high cost direct sales organization to selling via the internet and channel partners.
The second and equally important strategy to ensuring good sales execution is to implement a structured sales process or methodology that standardizes how you sell. This is important for two reasons.
1. Simplified Sales Management
First, you cannot manage and properly direct your sales team if every representative has a different approach to selling. Remember sales people traditionally come from all walks of life – from teachers, accountants and engineers to college students just entering the work force. Unless you establish a specific sales training program every member of your team is going to conduct their business according to what they feel is right. Using this approach some will perform better than others will. However, one thing is clear you will not have a uniform approach to selling.
This is something many companies continue to struggle with. CRM systems do an excellent job of providing structure for companies that don’t have one, or are unsure what theirs should look like. This is not rocket science. Start by outlining the steps that occur during your sales process. The steps will vary from business to business, and the number of steps depends on the length of your sales cycle.
What are the steps in your sales cycle?
For example, the sales cycle typically begins with qualification or a needs analysis. This ensures the new opportunity is real, and that the prospect has a need for your company’s product or service, and the budget to pay for it. Next step may be a product demonstration, followed by a quote, a trial of the product, verbal agreement then closure.
2. Consistent Sales Forecasting
The benefit here is clear. Having a definitive sales process such as this allows management to see a snapshot of every new sales opportunity. If you are managing every new sales opportunity in a structured fashion, you know where each one is in the sales process and what is required to close the sale. This leads to highly accurate monthly and quarterly sales forecasts.
Using a set of pre-built analytical reports sales management can follow each opportunity through the pipeline and take a proactive approach to help win the sale.
Graphical and spreadsheet view of sales by stage
About the author:
Larry Caretsky is president of Commence Corporation a leading provider of online CRM software. Caretsky has more than 30 years of experience in the client management software industry and has written numerous white papers on the subject along with an eBook “Practices That Pay”. He leads a consulting team that assists small to mid-size businesses implement best practices for sales execution and sales performance.
Image “Businessman With Idea Lightbulb” courtesy of Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image “5 Steps” courtesy of samuiblue/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Internet marketing experts estimate that at any given time only a fraction of the market is interested in the product or service you are selling. The problem is if you don’t know who they are or when they plan on buying, how can you earn their business? Here are some things you can and need to do.
1. Implement a marketing strategy using a lead nurturing system
What I am referring to here is a series of direct or e-mail campaigns that serve one purpose, and that is to ensure that your company, your product and the value you offer is consistently in front of potential customers for months on end. Marketing people refer to this as “the rule of seven” which simply means that people may not recognize your offering until they see it seven times. So many companies make the mistake of sending a single message. If the prospect does not respond they move to a new list, convinced the first one was no good.
2. Make sure your message delivers value to the prospect
Stop selling for a minute. Special holiday discounts or offers for “free anything” don’t make sense. In fact they can irritate the buyer. I get these all the time; buy now and get 50% off. I don’t even know what they are selling so why would I have any interest – discount or no discount. Instead offer something you would have an interest in reading. If you wouldn’t click on it why would you expect a prospect to?
3. Try to differentiate yourself from your competition
Some people call this “thought leadership” which is nothing but a fancy title for being smarter than your competition. Present ideas that are outside the box, ideas that inspire creative thinking for both you and the potential prospect. If your message is educational or intriguing and gets them to think about what they read, chances are they will remember you.
4. Don’t stop marketing
People seem to think marketing is a part time job. Send a mailer and you are done. It’s not. Let’s go back to what we said earlier – You may not know the right time when a prospect will decide to buy, but as long as your product and service is consistently in front of them you can bet that when they do decide to buy you will be on the call list.
Creating an automated marketing program without the proper tools can be quite the challenge. The good news is that there are several very good CRM software programs that can automate this process and make life easy for you. In part two of this paper, I will discuss the automation process and how CRM software has matured and is delivering value for marketing professionals.
This article is sponsored by Commence Corporation, a leading provider of web based CRM software.
Image by Federico Raviele on Flickr under Creative Commons license.
Take Your Child to Work Day is gaining momentum in the state of New Jersey and provides an opportunity for children to experience what mom and dad do in their careers while the kids are busy at school. It’s a fun time for all and helps build a bond between staff members and their children.
Commence Corporation supported this initiative by creating a few activities for the kids so they could learn about what the company does and how we assist customers with their business requirements. This year the kids were given a series of fun challenges to encourage teamwork and to learn about the features of web based CRM software.
- Create a new company logo.
- Search for an image to use in a blog article. You can see the results of this challenge on the Commence CRM Blog.
- Guess the number of jellybeans in the jar.
- And a tough challenge… untangling a box of computer cables.
Their day ended with lunch and an outdoor recess. We love the results of their work! What do you think?
Image “soma dispenser” (jellybean jar) by Troy McCullough on Flickr under Creative Commons license.
Breaking the ice with new customers is based on the initial meeting or point of contact. With that, it is important to have an understanding of the prospect’s purpose and goals. Preparation and planning for that initial meeting is imperative.
Although we use the word ‘meet’ to describe our first contact with new clients and others, what really matters is whether we connect with them. Whether you ultimately want to focus on selling office furniture, IT equipment, or marketing services to the customer, you have to first make a connection.
Every process is easier if you have a strategy.
The best way to ensure that will happen is to have a strategy. Strategies for breaking the ice with new customers should include careful prep work, and the meeting must include interacting with the individuals.
Strategies do not come with 100% guarantees; however, almost everyone agrees that talking with clients and customers is a great way to initiate a connection. It’s what to say and how to say it that seems to cause concerns.
As mentioned, breaking the ice is not just meeting and greeting a customer; the goal is to make a true connection. In order to do that, it is important to initiate a conversation. Ideally that conversation will start on a positive note.
Real conversations are built on the exchange of ideas. This means each person gives and shares thoughts. As the conversation takes place, other things should also be happening. For instance, this is the time to work at finding a way to link the person with his or her name and personality and ideas.
Preparation for the Connection
Learning all you can about the person or business before the meeting makes it easier to know how to break the ice. Besides providing basic information that will be helpful, the knowledge learned can help you feel more confident and comfortable about the meeting.
It’s also a good idea to learn something about what is happening in the niche or industry that might impact the individual or business. In today’s world, it is usually a simple process to find information about industries, people, and businesses online.
Arming yourself with this information makes starting conversations a simple process. In addition, it makes it easier to align yourself with the potential customers’ perspectives.
Body Language Speaks
Your body language may say more than your words do. This means it is important to give consideration to the way you dress and present yourself. Plus, the tone of your voice and the way you say things does matter.
Customers are people, and they want to connect with individuals they feel comfortable with. Most people feel comfortable with someone who displays confidence and authenticity.
Do you present yourself with confidence and poise?
Sometimes it’s the simple things that get overlooked. That is, we forget to smile and make eye contact or to offer a firm handshake. Once again, preparation counts. Good posture along with appropriate attire is a great start in the preparation for a meeting with a new or potential customer.
Align with the Potential Client
After preparing for the meeting, you will have some information about what matters most to the potential customer. But keep in mind that establishing a real rapport will make the meeting go more smoothly.
Take the time to ease into the conversation. As the discussion unfolds, it is your job to actively listen to what the potential client is saying. Listen for the deeper messages. This allows you the opportunity to provide insights about how your company or products can help the client meet his or her needs.
Listen closely for the deeper message behind the words spoken.
Although you have lots to say about your business or product, it is very important that you listen closely to what the client has to say. Much can be learned about a client’s needs, goals, and desires through the information he/she shares.
After all, most meetings are restricted to a tight time frame. With that in mind, whatever the client spends time talking about ranks high on his/her priority list.
When your focus is on breaking the ice with new clients, your real goal should be on ways you can help the potential customers. Approaching the task in this manner takes the mystery out of the process and suddenly potential customers become people that have needs.
Planning and preparing for the meeting will help ensure there will be a true connection. If you are sincere in your efforts to help and you respectfully listen to the client’s ideas and perspectives, most ice-breaking meetings will turn into much more.
About the author:
Debbie Allen is a freelance writer and online marketer who often writes about business topics such as online reputation and selling office furniture.
Image “Business Strategy” courtesy of ddpavumba at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image “Confident Young Businessman Posing Casually” courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image “Thoughtful Business Person” courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net