Making People Your Priority

When businesses are working to grow, this usually means they need new customers. New customers are a vital part of the growth process and possibly the most important factor in your expansion.

Your existing customers will all have more value to you than you currently realize. However, today we’ll just concentrate on finding just a few new ones.

People often think there’s some exact science to finding new people to do business with, and many marketing executives create extensive strategies outlining techniques. My experience has led me to a very simple take on the matter, and that is that the more people you speak to, the more customers you’ll get. Now, I agree that developing your skills and refining your techniques will improve the success of that process, but until you’ve reached some level of success, there’s nothing upon which to improve. A 100 percent improvement on zero is still zero.

People do business with people they like and trust. People also buy from people, not service providers or retailers. So it’s fair to say that finding customers is a lot like looking for romance, and there are certain rules that guarantee success. In business, our tool for flirting with our prospects is called rapport. To master rapport, you can follow these six simple steps:

1. Smile. The first decision somebody makes when they meet you for the first time is whether or not they find you appealing. Smiling adds to your attraction and makes you more approachable. In sales, just smiling from the inside is not enough. Remember to tell your face that you’re happy!

2. Show a genuine interest in other people. Since the most important person in your own life is yourself, this ends up being more difficult than it sounds. Showing interest means asking questions and more questions. Your enthusiasm about their life will really help. Be interested – not interesting.

3. Encourage others to talk about themselves — and actually listen. If you rearrange the letters of the word “listen,” it spells “silent.” Active listening is a skill that demands practice. Eye contact, nodding and simple gestures encourage others to give out more information. Don’t be afraid to remain silent after someone’s response to a question. They will fill in the pause with further detail.

4. Use the person’s name whenever possible. The sweetest sound to any person in any language is their own name. However, to use it, you must have remembered it, so listen carefully. It’s important.

5. Talk about their interests, not yours. We don’t all have the same motivations when we make decisions. As such, it’s your prospect’s motives, not yours, that are important. Your approach should emphasize how your product or service will help your prospect achieve their goals.

6. Make the other person feel important. Simply opening and closing a conversation correctly can have a massive impact on people. Old-fashioned courtesy and manners win massive bonuses in today’s society. Remember to say “thank you” and do it in the most appropriate way for the occasion. If you get a chance to show an act of kindness, even something as small as opening a door for your guest, then take it.

Introduce these simple steps in everyday conversations when you’re out in your marketplace, and you will be blown away by the results. Remember that until you’ve built rapport, the customer is not ready to make a buying decision.