Sales and Dating just don’t mix. But when they do, there are lessons to be learned.
Tonight you are super sales guy Rock Ledger. You are single and in a bar. Good Times.
And lucky you, it’s also 80’s night. This feels good. This was your time. This was where the Rock Ledger legend began. So even though you are not much of a dancer, it’s flashback (and Flashdance) fever tonight so you have got it going on!
You Rock Ledger, you super sales man, you did your pre – party research, and prepared well for this 80’s night. And holy leg warmers, you spy someone you think you’d like to talk to. You remember her name is Tiffany.
Excellent. Time to make your move.
A bit sweaty now because you just had to break out some moves to the blaring tune Safety Dance, you are comforted knowing that the rusty Aquanet hairspray you found buried in your dresser drawer (literally from the 80’s you suspect), had enough juice to keep hair securely shaped into that “oh so cool” Mullet. You amble over to Tiffany in your now ill – fitting Members Only jacket and say:
“Well Hello there.”
“Well Hello to you.” She says. She looks at you coyly. She’s curious. You look back. An awkward pause ensues, but you are ready. Conversation is your game.
“I was wondering” you say, (knowing full well how good your John Stamos Full House Mullet looks)…. “Are you happy with growth of your family or are you just looking to keep the family you have?”
“Whaaaat?” She cries.
“No, I ‘m sorry. What I meant was, how happy are you recently with things? Is life going well for you? Are you really happy with your current boyfriend or do you want to be happier?”
“Listen Skippy, I barely know you..”, she says. (And of course you’re thinking that “Skippy” was Michael J Fox’s dorky friend on Family Ties and you definitely do not, look like Skippy)
“Ok I’m really sorry this is not starting off well. All I want to know is why can’t I have a serious conversation with you?”
WHAP!! Your face, ego and hair sprayed Mullet all get whacked at once. Face and ego bruised, the Mullet surrenders too and snaps back from whence it came. Your 80’s night is now over.
Mildly entertaining? Sure. But Rock Ledger’s conversation with Tiffany is not that much different than some of the early conversations we have with our business customers and prospects. Though we are well intentioned, many of us launch into some very deep questions right off the get go.
We are quick to ask these deep and frankly quite “personal” (especially when speaking with small to med size businesses) questions that while your customer won’t likely literally “slap” you like Tiffany did, they sure as hell might want to.
Think about what many of us ask after a few moments of introduction or in our first meeting.
- “Are you focused on growth or maintaining your customer base?
- “How is the economy treating you, are you guys doing OK?”
- “Are you happy with your current supplier?
- “What’s the biggest challenge you are facing this year?
- “I want to understand your needs better, so I have some questions..”
Should we be asking these questions of our customers? Yes we should. But should we take some time to buy the prospect a metaphorical drink or two and build a little trust and value about ourselves or our company first? Prove we care about really helping the prospect first? You bet. Tiffany would have appreciated it.
This doesn’t have to take too long. It can take as little as a first date but more often than not (especially today in this low trust competitive environment), you shouldn’t ask these types of “personal questions” till you’ve had a few dates or you might get whapped. It’s tough, the pressure is on. You need to perform. Rock Ledger wants to close the deals right quick too, but you saw what happened to him.
You can dance if you want to. And I suggest you do. But dance the long dance version please first.
Till next time,
Grow the Business.