As long as the concept of dating has been around, there have been analogies for it. It seems like someone out there is always trying to find a way to explain non-sensical things such as dating in terms that more people can relate to. Honestly – do a google search for “dating is like [insert topic of choice].” You’ll see more Buzzfeed articles than a high school girl’s Facebook feed. At times it can often feel like everything in the world is somehow relatable to your love life (especially if you’re bitterly single).
Though I don’t claim to be the all knowing master of either sales (well, maybe I am, because I use Spiro) or dating (I’d like to meet the person who is), I’ve noticed enough overlap where experience in one might help the other. So if you’re an unlucky in love salesperson (alternately, a savvy dater with higher career aspirations), this is the blog for you- after all, sales is basically dating. Just a heads up, sales and dating innuendos abound. You’ve been warned.
Know Your Goals
Starting at the highest level, it helps if you truly understand your primary objective. Are you trying to lock down a longterm partnership? Or do you prefer to work a higher number of opportunities at once? Now I’m not saying one objective is better than the other, but knowing what you want helps you focus your activities on reaching your goal. You’ll approach a strategic account penetration (ha) differently than you would when juggling a ton of leads at once.
It helps if you’re also up front with your prospects with what you’re goals are. Being clear up in the beginning can help you avoid a conversation you do NOT want to have later on.
Keep A Fresh Pipeline
I can’t state this one enough! Falling too fast for that one golden opportunity you think will definitely close is a rookie mistake, my friend. Shit happens and you can’t anticipate everything. Keep a healthy pipeline of prospects to avoid devastating failure from the one that got away.
On that note, this also does not just mean having a huge pipeline filled up with just anyone. You’re better than that. If a first meeting didn’t measure up, I’m ok with second chances. Beyond that, drop underwhelming prospects like a bad habit. Your time is too valuable to be wasted on the bottom dwellers, who will just suck time and give nothing in return.
Utilize Multiple Lead Sources
Where do the prospects in your pipeline come from? Your lead sources. When one lead source dries up – well it often helps if you have another one to go to! If you keep striking out while in person networking, you might want to start looking at the scary world of the internet. What if you’re already on one internet source and it isn’t working out? Try another.
There are lead sources for everyone. If lonely farmers in the country can find leads, you have no excuse. And what should you do if you come across an old customer through one of these new lead sources? Well, that depends on how you left things last time. It may be healthiest for all parties for you to put your head down and keep digging.
Keep Good Notes
The form of the notes are up to you – scribbled napkins after a meeting, a CRM system, or even just mental notes if you can pull it off. If you’ve listened to my advice this far, you probably have too many leads and prospects to just go the mental route, though. As long as you are listening and understanding requirements of the prospect, and can keep a log of what you talked about already, or get an awesome proactive sales CRM, like Spiro to do your data entry for you.
Imagine this – you have an awesome ‘first meeting’ story prepared about that one time you met Lil Jon at a club in New York. You’ve practiced this thing through to perfection, complete with a great punch line provided by the king of punch lines, Lil Jon himself. And now imagine on your next meeting with the same prospect you launch into this story again, forgetting that you already told this story. Embarrassing.
Another point – Nothing worse than going into a meeting and confusing prospects! Good luck back peddling out of that one. Take good notes.
Hopefully you can now take my sales advice and grab a few more dates this week – or maybe take my dating advice and make a few more sales!