Intimacy and Opportunity

Robert-photo-w-icon-150-4-7-10-FINAL4-150x150Prospects have stated and unstated needs. Discovering the unstated ones results in getting the order. Intimacy is the key that unlocks these hidden unstated needs and begins to build the emotional connection with a prospect that leads to an order.

What is the best way to foster intimacy with new prospects?

Your first three minutes with a new prospect is your chance to put the person at ease and gain insights into his or her thinking. Most new prospects are naturally wary. They don’t know you and have been burned before, so your first objective is to get them talking about themselves soon after you’ve met. To facilitate this, prepare for the meeting by researching the person (experience, hobbies, family, etc.) and the prospective organization (mission, news, etc.), seeking items that you can reference to promptly build rapport. Be sincere and enthusiastic. Maintain eye contact. Listen actively.

Then, seek a mutual understanding with the prospect about the purpose for your visit (why you requested it). Being in agreement about why you are meeting establishes clear expectations for your meeting and demonstrates respect for his or her time.  Share your objectives for the meeting and secure acknowledgement from the prospect. Then, solicit your prospect’s expectations and acknowledge them. This simple process reduces uncertainty and pressure, easing your prospect’s concern that you might be wasting time or trying to manipulate the situation.

Let the prospect know that you first seek to learn about their business and request permission to ask a few questions.  Advise that you respect the time being provided and will ask for his or her feedback during the meeting. Clarify the prospect’s stated needs and then ask why they are important, to the company and to the person to help identify the prospect’s goals. This will begin to establish the intimacy required for the prospect to share more of the unstated needs.

In response, be generous in offering suggestions or recommendations citing prior experience; ask for feedback on these ideas. This generosity reinforces the development of intimacy and trust. You are a credible supplier with proven solutions to provide. You’re not selling – you’re collaborating to solve a problem.

When their business depends on it, people prefer to buy from people, not faceless organizations. The most successful salespeople know this and believe that they can make a difference for their customers. As prospects sense the sales person’s confidence and willingness to commit, they grow more comfortable sharing insights about the unstated needs that must be met to secure an order. This level of intimacy creates the emotional connection that enables the purchase decision to be made. 

How can you accelerate the development of intimacy during your first minutes with a new prospect?

How can you convince the prospect that you win when they do?

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