Take the Pressure Off: Focus Less on Selling, and More on First Impressions

At my talk earlier today (see my upcoming events here), there was a lot of discussion on cold calling. Cold calling is something that feels intimidating and confusing for a lot of people, even though it doesn’t have to be.

Where does this pressure come from? From the underlying assumption that it’s about selling. And “selling” in this case means actually taking someone from zero contact, all the way to a closed deal (or very close to it).

That’s a lot of pressure to put on yourself, and on your prospect. It’s like discussing marriage and buying a home together right on the first date. Too fast, too soon. Slow it down.

What I advocate is natural selling.

That means not rushing things. Not creating difficult or complicated selling systems.

Commerce and exchange is a natural human activity. It’s not meant to be complicated. Although in our modern culture, we often complicate it and make it much harder than it has to be.

From this perspective, the first step in the sales process is to simply make an excellent first impression.

That first impression should establish you as a confident, trustworthy, professional solutions-provider.

Your very first task when encountering a new prospect is not to “sell” or close right away. (Although that is certainly possible and you should be prepared for that potential.)

Your first task is to make that great first impression.

With a great first impression, where you have communicated that you are trustworthy, sharp, and professional, you have the foundation for a productive relationship.

Bypassing this critical stage to launch into your stupid “sales pitch” or how great your company is, just turns off buyers.

And it turns them off because it’s not natural or authentic.

Most people put 90% of their attention and energy into articulating all the awesome features of their service, and only 10% on how to begin a great conversation, or how to naturally and professionally initiate a potential relationship.

They should be doing the reverse: focus 90% on the front-end, and 10% on describing their service.

(And I’m guilty of this too by the way. I need to remind myself to get my priorities straight periodically when I get lost in the “sales pitch” process.)

Trust and rapport comes first in selling. They have to buy you before they will consider buying your product.

Luckily the human connection is a lot easier for most people to create than crafting the perfect pitch.

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