The best sales are those that involve working with people who are already interested in working with you. They’ve done their research on why your service would be the best fit for them, leaving you off the hook—no convincing necessary.
But often, this isn't how sales go. So how do you work with prospective clients who don’t yet know who you are and what your service can do for them? The prospects who don’t know what your mission is, or the value you can add to their lives?
Forming a relationship with someone who has never heard of you or your service isn’t easy, but it’s possible with a few simple tactics. Learn how to get prospects interested in your business and how to effectively nurture your relationship until they are ready to take the next step and become a client.
Secret #1. Show Them Who You Really Are
Create a vision for your prospects. How will your service help them? How will it change their lives? What goals can you help them accomplish that they wouldn't otherwise achieve?
Giving prospects an idea of how you will improve their lives automatically creates interest in your service. They’ll start to envision what their life could look like with your help. Gain their attention and plant a seed you can continue to nurture over time.
Your prospects are constantly wondering, “What’s in it for me?” Demonstrate the value you bring to the table by putting together a short report of trends you have observed or how you have helped people conquer their challenges and achieve their goals.
Share this report with prospects. You’ll be shocked by how much more willing they are to meet with you when they realize what kind of value you have to offer. Providing a report that includes “case studies” also gives the prospect something they can potentially relate to. Maybe their situation is similar to one you have highlighted. They’ll see themselves in the story you’ve shared and will visualize how you can help them overcome their challenges and achieve their goals.
Secret #2. Learn to Listen
Begin your relationship the old-fashioned way: with a conversation. Before you jump headfirst into who you are and what you can provide, give your prospect the chance to share their story.
You need to give yourself the chance to know and understand your prospect. This will allow you to better relate to them. As you learn more about who they are, you can slowly begin to share who you are. This will feel much more authentic and much less smarmy than forcing a sales pitch down their throat.
Organic conversations like these help establish a connection. You can also learn some key pieces of information that you can use in your lead nurturing process to continue to build the relationship over time.
This win-win process not only helps the prospect trust you but it also gives you insight into what their goals and plans are so you can best serve them and solve their unique problems.
So what's the key? Listen to your prospects.
It sounds simple, doesn’t it? But you’d be surprised how many people tune out their interactions and don’t actually truly listen. Often, they’re just waiting for their chance to talk. Prospects will sense this and your relationship will end before it even had a chance to really begin.
Secret #3. Create a Process
Create an organized prospecting process from the get-go. Lay down the foundation and have a plan for when and how you will communicate with your prospect: when you will email them, when you will call them, when you will mail them (yes, that’s still a thing), when and how you will interact with them on social platforms, and finally, how you will follow up with them.
Detail what will these outreaches will include, and seek to understand how they will build trust.
An organized, consistent prospecting process helps create trust, and it continues to show and create your value. By remaining in constant communication, you’ll show your prospects that you’re committed to working with them.
The work doesn’t stop once you’ve created your process. You’ll want to iterate, innovate, and improve. Don’t be afraid to change things up and experiment as you work to perfect your process.
Try sending emails at different times of the day or different days of the week. We are creatures of habit, but sometimes we need to think outside of the box when it comes to communicating with our prospects.
For example, you leave a voicemail for a prospect at 9 am on a Monday; you put a task in your CRM to follow up with them in a week, and when next Monday rolls around, you try calling them at 9 am again. And once again, they don’t answer.
What if your prospect has a recurring meeting at 9 am on Mondays? You’ll never get in touch with them if you keep calling them at the same time on the same day. Shake it up. Try calling them on different days of the week or at a different time. There’s no point trying something over and over if it doesn’t work the first few times. As the saying goes, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."
You should also try to determine what type of communication your prospect prefers. Is it email? Is it a phone call? Text? If you emailed a prospect three days ago without any response, try calling instead. Everyone has different communication styles and preferences. Your goal is to figure out which one your prospect prefers and cater to that preference.
Secret #4. Create Content
Writing articles and/or blogs is an opportunity to showcase your expertise, communicate your value, and demonstrate your worth with many people at one time. When people search your name or company and find articles and blogs you’ve authored, they’ll start to view you as an expert.
You can also link articles you've been quoted in on your website. You want to make your website stand out and optimize it so your prospects can learn as much about you and what you offer. In today’s digital, information-heavy world, no one makes a decision without gathering as much information as they can beforehand.
Pro-tip: Being active on social channels is another way to communicate your value proposition and build trust throughout the journey from prospect to client.
Secret #5. Master the Art of Mirroring
How many times have you gone into a meeting or a phone call thinking, “Ah another meeting, I can’t wait till this is over…”? We are all human and it happens from time to time. But when you have that type of attitude, your prospects might think you don’t care.
Remember to smile, match their tone, and have enthusiasm for the service you are providing. This goes for in-person meetings, video calls, and phone call. If you are communicating with a prospect, you should have a positive attitude and enthusiasm, both of which go a long way towards making them feel valued.
In your conversations, mirror your prospect to make them feel more comfortable. Mirroring is when you match your prospect's physical and verbal behaviors as a way of building rapport during the selling process.
You already do this with people you know well without even realizing it. For example, when around good friends or family, you probably use the same words and adopt the same gestures they use. However, when you are around someone you don’t know well, it is easy to revert back into your shell.
The easiest way to incorporate mirroring into your process is by matching the tone and pace of your prospect. If they talk slowly, you shouldn't talk extremely fast. Slow your cadence and read the rhythm. If it is an in-person meeting or over video conference, make and maintain eye contact (but don’t be creepy). Read your prospect's body language and respond accordingly. If you can sense their tense, try to lighten the mood and ease their tension.
These are little things, but the devil is in the details. Mirroring helps your prospects feel more comfortable and think of you more as a peer.
Another thing to remember is to smile often. Not just during in-person meetings but also during phone meetings. While your prospects can’t see you over the phone, I swear your smile still shows! I personally find it helpful to stand up and walk around during phone calls. This adds some energy to the conversation and also gets me out of the rhythm of just sitting at my desk. Win-win!
You also want to keep the prospect talking. Don’t spend so much time talking about your service that you don’t get an opportunity to learn more about the prospect and their unique situation and pain points.
Lastly, use the prospect’s name during your conversations. This helps keep the conversation personal. By simply inserting someone's name into a few statements here and there, you keep the prospect engaged. If you can feel the attention of your prospect starting to fade, say their name and bring them back to the present moment.
It’s also helpful to include their name as the conversation comes to a close: “It was great talking to you today, Bill. I look forward to staying in touch.” This ends the conversation on a personal and positive note. You can adjust this statement however you see fit. Try a few different things and figure out what feels best for you.
Engaged body language, provoking prompts, and thoughtful questions keep the conversation focused on the prospect and moving in the right direction.
Your relationship with your prospects won’t become reciprocal until they understand your value and are able to visualize the benefits of working with you. How do you make this happen? Through nurturing. Be persistent, be personal, and be patient. Relationships don’t happen overnight, and they certainly don’t grow without work. Fortunately, these simple tricks can help lighten the load.
About the Author
Lindsey Harrington is known as the Growth Guru at XYPN, helping prospective members learn more about membership and what it takes to join our growing community. She is passionate about sharing the tools and resources the community has to offer to help individuals start, run, and grow their own fee-only financial planning practices.
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