Unexpectedly running into a prospective client can make even the most experienced business person salivate. You work hard, market regularly and do everything you’ve been taught to do and low and behold you run into a prospective client at your kids’ soccer game – catching you completely off guard!
Yes, salivate is exactly what some of you do and it’s exactly what you don’t want the person you’re speaking with to notice. You’re chatting with one of the Dad’s while dropping your child off at soccer practice for the first time when he casually mentions he runs a business. You immediately come to attention and begin interrogating him with 100 questions about his marketing and copy needs.
I caution you to STOP! Don’t do this! Take a breath and continue on with the conversation in a relaxed and informal manner. It’s time to continue building a relationship here, not sell.
I recently had an experience where I met someone new in a personal situation and as soon as he found out I was a successful business owner, he switched gears. It was almost like he became a different person, and started interrogating me about my business. I felt extremely uncomfortable because I didn’t know this person and didn’t want to discuss business at the time. I wanted to talk about my kid’s soccer and snacks and carpooling, etc.
I do not look forward to seeing this person again (and I will) because I feel as if they have an agenda when we speak rather than are truly interested in me and my family.
Being the analyzer that I am, I looked back at what this parent did that was specifically such a turn-off to me. I honestly couldn’t get away from them fast enough and wanted to see what role I played in this and how I could turn the situation around. I feel uncomfortable around this person now – I feel like prey rather than a potential friend or acquaintance. I felt as if he were overly aggressive about working with me and not tuning in to me and my business or personal needs. Rather he was more concerned with making a sale for himself.
The lesson here is that there a time and place for everything and the energy you bring to a situation has everything to do with the energy you get back.
If you meet someone at a non-business function it is appropriate to ask about following-up with them and scheduling time to discuss business at a later date. It’s also appropriate to exchange business cards, and then go back to relationship building, not selling.
Here are five tips to remember when you meet prospective clients in non-business situations:
- There is a time and place for everything, including selling. It may not be right here right now. Ask if it’s ok to contact them later.
- Pay attention to the person you are talking to. Watch THEIR body language and tune-in to their needs.
- Don’t be a piranha! You are responsible for the energy you bring to the space.
- Be a giver and not a taker, your intention matters. Your tone, your body language, your eyes communicate just as much if not more than your words.
- Ask general questions about them and their business. If they don’t have a problem they don’t need your help. Find out first; don’t just start talking about yourself and how great your business is.
What you have to be aware of and be responsible for is the energy you bring to the situation, which is something the soccer dad didn’t do. Your intonation, your body language and your demeanor should always be that of giving, not of getting or taking.
I have recently seen two fascinating interviews with Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, a Harvard-trained and published neuroanatomist who suffered a severe stroke. During her stroke the entire left hemisphere of her brain shut down and she was conscious enough to be aware of what was happening while it was happening. She also remembers several specific incidents during her many years of recovery.
Dr. Taylor explains how the left hemisphere of the brain holds our language skills, our self-talk, our mind. Without that she was able to understand people’s intentions by their body language, intonation and even eye contact. She could tell a lot about a person and if she wanted to spend time with them without understanding a word.
Bottom line message from Dr. Taylor, “there are people that bring you energy and people who take your energy away”, and everyone should “be responsible for the energy you bring into this space”.
Just like my soccer dad acquaintance that didn’t technically say or do anything wrong or offensive, I could tell he wanted something from me. He had “take energy”. It was repelling and not something I want to be around.
The lesson for you here is that yes, sales conversations are an important and necessary part of business and you need to engage in them. However, before you even have a sales conversation you need to create a relationship where there is a foundation of trust and liking.
You do this by approaching all of life, everything you do and everyone you meet, by giving – not taking from people or situations.
Struggling attracting clients and reaching your target market? Contact us today at Kelly@TheCopywritingInstitute.com to see if we can help.
Kelly Robbins, MA