You are in for a special treat today. Things are going to get real, and honest, and really honest in this blog. We’re going to talk about the obvious overlap in two very different worlds: Sales and Dating.
You might be thinking, “Marcie, you shouldn’t be trying to date people on your sales calls!!” Fear not, friends – I’m going for a slightly different angle.
At the same time that I entered the sales world, I was also in that post-college-crazy phase where the prominent thought in my mind was “HOLY MOLY I’M AN ADULT. AM I SUPPOSED TO HAVE A BOYFRIEND NOW?” (I eventually calmed down. Don’t worry.)
Anyway, this point in my life consisted of a mashup of discovery sales calls and first dates. Not surprisingly, my brain started making comparisons and connections between the two. Bear with me:
You have to build rapport
Call me crazy, but the wedding caterer shouldn’t be the first thing you talk about on a first date. Similarly, on a sales call, your first instinct shouldn’t be to talk prices and contracts. Get to know the guy first! By the end of this call (or dinner) this person needs to walk away knowing something about you that is special, memorable, or at the very least, not boring. The same is true for them. If you can’t remember a single thing about them when you see them in the grocery store the next week (yep, that happened), that’s your fault for not asking genuine questions. Remembering conversations you’ve had with people make them more likely to appreciate you as a salesperson, or just simply, a person.
Ask qualifying questions
So obviously, there are going to be some differences here. Unless you’re into asking your date what their Average Lifetime Value per client is (if that’s the case…stop it).
My general go-to on calls (and dates) is to learn more about the person I’m spending my time with before talking about myself too much. That way, you feel out what kind of personality you’re dealing with, and you can assess the best way to proceed from there.
If you’re talking to someone more introverted: Your line of questioning needs to be deliberate. No matter what, you should meet the person you’re talking to wherever they’re at. You need to go in with a good idea of what you want to get out of the conversation, because they might not feel like sharing a ton. And that’s fine. It’s your job to gameplan the conversation so you come away with exactly what you need to know in order to decide if you want another call (or maybe a picnic?).
If you’re talking to someone more extroverted: Buckle up. You’re about to get hit with a lot of stories, anecdotes, facts, and ideas. Prepare your mind (or your google doc) to hold onto the most important things you hear. Big personalities are fun to be around, but the information you gain from a big personality is the important part. It can be a great time, but at the end of the day, if he doesn’t have the budget to buy or has a weird obsession with beanie babies, it’s a deal-breaker.
State your case
But what happens if they’re boring?? You’re qualifying questions are falling flat and they are just an overall wet blanket. Bummer, right? Wrong!
That gives you the opportunity to have a phenomenal time refining your pitch, or, if it’s a date, just talking about something that you’re really passionate about…like food (kidding)..(not kidding). The point is, even if you have an awful experience and aren’t that into it, you want to make that person feel like they are having the time of their life so that they walk away with a good reflection of you and/or your company. If you’re reading this, you’re probably in sales. If you’re in sales, you’ve got charm. Use it!
Determine whether it’s a good fit
This part is super important: Know what you want to know before you know it.
In sales and dating, it’s really easy to compromise what you want because there’s a decent deal/suitor right in front of you, so make sure you mentally prepare by knowing what your qualifiers are. Sounds a little harsh, I know. But do you really want to spend a ton of time on someone who ends up being a bad fit for your business (or worse, your life!)?
You’ve made it! You were inquisitive, engaging, charming, and the perfect lady or gentleman! …Now what?
We’re past the point of playing the chess match in dating or business. Don’t overthink this part. If you want to continue the conversation, don’t leave that up to chance. Send the ebook, the flattering text, the ROI calculator, the flowers (chivalry’s not dead). Don’t be too pushy — there’s no room in sales or dating for poorly managed intentions. If there’s any chance of you turning this into a client relationship or otherwise, you’re going to have to put some thought into the best way to proceed. Anything worthwhile is going to take some time.
If you’re still reading, I hope you learned at least one thing you can take to your next sales call or night out. If you have any comments on whether you think I’m right, wrong, or have anything to add, let me know!