If you've been on Earth for more than a couple of minutes, you've heard the sales tip "you only get one chance to make a first impression." The phrase is so popular because it is so true. Your initial meeting with a person will set the tone for all future meetings. While the relationship can change over time, that first encounter will always lay at its heart. So, it's always in your best interest to make an incredible first impression. Sometimes, that's easier said than done. Here, we'll show some ways to put that sales tip into practice.
Sales Tip 1: Image Management
Of course, you already know to shower and brush your teeth before a sales meeting. The basics have been covered to the point that everyone should have them memorized. However, dressing for success can be a bit more complicated. Many new salespeople adopt the standard business style of dress. That's a great sales tip if you're in a boardroom selling software to executives.
What if you're selling tractors to a farmer in Des Moines? Or equipment to a plant manager in Cleveland? A suit and tie is going to look pretty out of place in either of those settings. A good sales tip is finding out what kind of venue you're going to be meeting in. You don't want to wear bib overalls (which could look condescending), but a business suit isn't going to look right either. For non-corporate settings, khakis and a collared shirt almost never miss. In some settings, even nice blue jeans and a button down can work. Find out who your audience is ahead of time, then dress for that audience.
Sales Tip 2: Be Over-Prepared
A prepared script is a great way to get the sales conversation started. During the first few minutes, it's not unusual for prospects to feel reluctant to talk. Dead silence doesn't help either of you, so have some key points that you're prepared to talk about. Make sure that those points relate directly to the specific wants and needs of the prospect--generalities are useless, they can find those online.
As the prospect warms up, you won't be able to stay on script for long. If you don't know much about the product beyond the script, you'll be out of your depth in a matter of minutes. If you don't know how your product relates to the prospect, you'll be out of a sale even faster. A good sales tip is doing extra homework to establish yourself as a trusted source of information first, and a salesperson second.
Sales Tip 3: Learn to Listen
It's easy to get excited and want to talk about your products. After you've done all your research and preparations, you may want to make sure you get out every point that you memorized. Unfortunately, that can make you come across as pushy and only interested in a sale. No matter how much research you've done before hand, your greatest source of information is still going to be the prospect.
Once a prospect starts to talk, you need to start listening. In just a few minutes, their words and body language will tell you everything you need to know about their position in the buying cycle. They'll show if they're distracted, meaning you haven't won their attention. They'll tell you about the problems their having, giving you things to connect your products to. And they'll tell you what their motivators to buy are, doing half of your work for you. Once they start talking, get away from the script and use simple, direct questions to help them guide themselves to your products.
Putting it all Together
No sales tip is going to guarantee a great first impression every time. Some prospects aren't going to connect with you, and things can go wrong. However, by adopting every sales tip here, you can minimize those experiences.