Field salespeople need to build strong relationships quickly. Here’s how:
Our very own Zac “Zoob” Kerr was recently featured in FitSmallBusiness’ Top 25 Tips for How to Become a Better Salesperson. His suggestion for reps and managers looking to master outside sales was to “honor the prospect.”
Here’s what he had to say:
“Paying honor and respect to a prospect requires appreciating what is truly great about them. Here’s an example of how you can honor your prospect in an introductory conversation:
‘Mr. Customer, regardless of the outcome, I want you to know I honor you for your accomplishments in your personal career and within your current company. As I researched your background, I became eager to talk with you because of your depth of experience with the very problem our solution solves. I realize you are an expert, and so it is a privilege and honor to have this conversation today.’
Then watch your prospects engage with you in a completely different spirit, where trust and open communication is established faster. Also, I never use this unless I truly feel it; having said that, as I have used this, I have become genuinely more cognizant that most people have noteworthy and amazing accomplishments that merit honoring.”
Though he’s knocked thousands of doors and done plenty of field work, Zac primarily works with other businesses. But there are a lot of ways that you can honor your prospect as an outside sales rep.
For those of who are also B2B, take the time to notice and appreciate your client’s facilities, whether it’s the size of the factory, the cleanliness of the dentist’s office, the ambiance of the restaurant, or whatever else. Treat the business as an extension of the individual. Comment on their accomplishments and their influence on their respective industries.
For those who are in home services, respect the homeowner as a homeowner. For most people, their home is their biggest investment and their face to the world.
If you’re selling security, honor and compliment the house. Talk about what you like about it. Then you can suggest options for securing the house, since you’ve strengthened the homeowner’s emotional attachment to it and helped them visualize their pride in it.
This same concept works for everyone in home services. If you’re in pest control or lawn care, honor the state of the home and surrounding landscaping. Talk about its strengths and help customers visualize a better future for it. In roofing, talk about what you love about the home and then offer appropriate improvements. The list goes on.
When you honor the prospect, you demonstrate to them that you’re on their team. You’ve shown that you value the same things they value, and you understand why the business, house, car, etc is important to them.
This puts you in the role of trusted advisor, which is exactly where you want to be. When you’ve demonstrated to a customer that you have the exact same goals as they do (such as improving the things they most value) you are free to make suggestions and even disagree with them without damaging the relationship.
Think about it: if you had a job that made $20 an hour and were really happy about it, you’re not going to get mad if I contact you and recommend a job change that will net you $40 an hour. You know I have your best interests in mind.
Honoring the prospect is the key to delivering whatever sales pitch you need to without coming across as abrasive, belligerent, or self-interested. When you build relationships of trust, you’ll see your network and your deals grow exponentially.