Do you know how long it takes a prospect to decide whether he or she would want to continue a sales conversation any further?
Researchers from NYU have determined that we make eleven decisions about others in the first seven seconds of meeting. This means that your prospects are sizing you up in the first few seconds of meeting. Yet how much thought do you put into the first few seconds of an interaction?
Most sales people are out there greeting prospects with over-the-top enthusiasm. But because everyone is using this same outdated strategy, prospects are instantly turned off. This means that most sales people are blowing themselves out of the water in those first seven seconds. Don’t let this happen to you.
Instead, it’s time to be totally and completely distinct from the competition. Here are two tips to being more distinct:
Pattern Interrupt: Prospects expect sales people to behave in a certain way. It typically involves lots of insincere enthusiasm and a focus on the sales person’s product or service. However, when a sales person behaves in a way that is different from what the prospect expects, this is called a pattern interrupt. You are actually interrupting an expected pattern, so the prospect no longer knows how to handle the situation. This puts the sales person in a position to actually lead the interaction.
Seek to Understand: Since most sales people are totally focused on themselves and their products or services, nothing makes a sales person more distinct than to focus only on the prospect and his or her challenges. Take the 30-second commercial for most sales people. It’s generally focused on how long they’ve been in business, how they have the best service, and how their product is superior. Prospects don’t care! What they care about is how the product will solve some of their challenges. So cater your opening to focus on the challenges you solve and solutions you create.
Marc Wayshak is author of the book Game Plan Selling and conducts sales training in Boston.
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