Making new friends is hard. There’s a lot of anxiety in that first interaction. Will they like me? Do we have anything in common? Will I like them? How do I start things off?
I know, this is a blog about sales. Stay with me. We’ll get there.
The result of all this anxiety is that we often wait around for just the right moment, endlessly search or wait for someone to introduce us, or worse…simply avoid the introduction.
The result? No introduction, no new friendship, no new experience, missed opportunity for you and the new friend.
I develop customer relationships much like I build friendship. And the pitfalls are all the same.
So, now back to sales and what this little story illustrates.
The Amount of Stuff is Exploding
The Internet and social media has caused the amount of stuff you can collect on a people and companies to explode. You can literally lose hours of time running down all the rabbit holes people and companies create with their online behavior.
This is very dangerous to your sales performance.
All this stuff becomes a dangerous placebo for your sales anxiety. And just like a placebo, when you get right down to the real results you’re still sick (no sales).
Discipline Your Collecting
To avoid this peril I recommend disciplining your collecting or pre-sales research. A few of the tricks I use:
1. Follow the guideposts – Chances are your prospect is directing you to where they want your attention. These are the places and things they want you to know about them. You’re not a gotcha entertainment reporter. Stop researching like you’re trying to uncover a secret.
2. Get the basics – You don’t need research and find out all the details of a prospect’s life back to grade school. Not only is that a waste of time, but it’s going to freak your prospect out if you start ask them why they got a C in Art back in third grade. Leave some room for discovery at your first meeting.
3. You only need a couple of themes – You want to be as natural and free-flowing as possible when you start up a new relationship. However, it’s nice to have a couple of themes or commonalities that you can pull out of your hip pocket if you’re losing attention. But, you only need a couple–so get them and then stop.
Start Processing (GTD-style)
Hopefully, I have saved you time and made your stack of prospect research much smaller. Now the most important part: Start processing.
I think GTD for Sales. Nothing closes without contact. Be confident you have enough to start a conversation and start processing through your leads.
Your turn. This post was just a starting point. I know we all suffer from this endless collecting pitfall in sales. Help me and others…
What are your tips and tricks on knowing when to stop collecting and start processing?