At business networking meetings do you get too excited and try to thrust your product or service at a potential client far too soon?
You’re passionate about your product or service. You’re excited to tell others how it works or what it does. It’s hardly surprising that you sometimes jump the gun and try selling too soon.
After you answer the introductory question of “What does your business do?” It would be very surprising if the person opposite got out their wallets and pushed money in your hands saying, “This is just what I’ve been looking for all my life”.
Most customers will go on a journey with you, from stranger to prospect to a customer. That journey starts off with a marketing conversation that at the right time switches to a selling conversation.
Picking the right moment to switch to selling is really important. If you switch too early the prospective customer may not be ready to explore using your product or service. You risk coming over as pushy and images of used-car salesmen flash into their mind.
To stop premature selling, you need to consider the steps a prospective client needs to go through before they are ready to receive your sales messages.
When you first meet a potential client you need to get their Attention. They must see a glimmer of something of interest to them or their business.
Next they require more Information. They need to get to know you and your product or service better.
They may need to Experience your product or service. This might be a taster session or some form of free consultancy or a low cost and low risk product.
Only then will they be at the point of being ready to explore working with you or buying your product or service.
However you still need to be in marketing mode. To establish they have a real interest and need for your product or service. For most professional businesses signing up all clients that offer you money is a bad idea. We each have our ideal clients. Equally we have clients we can’t help or who may be a nightmare to work with.
Until you are sure they understand what you offer and you know they are your ideal client, you should still be asking questions and talking in a marketing conversation.
If you try to sell to someone before you have got attention, given information and an experience of your business … then it feels wrong and uncomfortable to the potential customer. While you will gain sales you will also be losing so much more.
Knowing where each prospective client is in the marketing and sales process is key to your success.