Love The One You’re With
Finding common ground is the next step after professionally introducing yourself to a customer. (You do that don’t you?) Some people, like my mom, have a natural knack for being able to talk to anyone; if you are like me, I struggle in this department. I am an introvert by nature and an extrovert by profession. When I worked in surveillance for the casino industry, isolated in a dark 15×5 room with only one other person, being an introvert was ok-not so good in sales. In our industry, we have to be able to become a human to our customers. The only way to do that is by finding some similar interests with them. When a customer can relate to you, they are more apt to buy from you. I use the acronym L.O.V.E. (fittingly enough) in an effort to find common ground with my customers.
· L–Likes: What do your customers like to do in their spare time? Because I live in South Louisiana, a lot of my customers love the outdoors. Men and women love to hunt, fish, and alligator hunt- well maybe not the last one, but everybody thinks we do. (I run from them just as fast as you do.) Everyone has an interest in something besides punching a clock. Find out what they like-you and your customer may share a common interest. Caution: If you don’t share their interest, don’t act like you do; you will lose credibility. Be a good listener instead; your customers will love to share what they know.
· O–Occupation: What do they do for a living? I’ve encountered salespeople who think they are prying when asking a customer what they do for a living? My question is, “Do you get offended when someone asks you about buying a car?” I rest my case. Use open-ended questions like, “That sounds interesting, tell me more.” Or “What attracted you to that line of work; “You’ve been there a long time and have worked your way through the ranks, how did you do it?” These are just a few questions you can use in an effort to get your customers to open up. In order to become interesting, you must first become interested.
· V–Values: What are your customers’ values? I don’t mean lay ‘em on the couch and get them to share the most intimate details of their lives; finding out if they belong to civic organizations, non-profit orgs, or any sort of involvement in the community is a sure-fire way of getting customers to talk about themselves. You may belong to the same organization; in turn, you will receive instant credibility.
· E–Endorsements: Developing a great reputation with your sold clients is an invaluable way to receive third-party endorsements. As Jim Ziegler advises, develop an evidence book chocked with photos, testimonials and thank you cards will make your credibility stock soar. We are more likely to buy clothing, books, or other products when the one endorsing the product is someone we relate to.
So the next time you are trying to find some common ground with a customer or even in a social setting, learn to L.O.V.E. them and see your relationships deepen. See you on the Blacktop!