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What's your intent?

When you first meet a customer, what is your number 1 intent in the first few minuets? - by Tony Dunne
My intent in the first few minutes of meeting with a client is to survey the situation (can I help this person?) and decide if this is someone I want to work with (realistic, qualified, etc.). - by AZBroker
My intent in the first few minutes of meeting with a client is to survey the situation (can I help this person?) and decide if this is someone I want to work with (realistic, qualified, etc.).
AZBroker

Me to, the only trouble is it took me about 10 years of hard selling and hard closing to work it out:cu - by Tony Dunne
My first intent is to find out whether how can i help this person and what the person is actually looking for . - by mtajim
I feel whether or not I can help them in what they are looking for is SECONDARY to estalishing a "relationship" or at least the beginnings of a good one.;sm Because even IF I do not end up having what "the customer needs", I have read one of the top reasons why customers buy from a salesperson is that they "like the salesperson"....so this theory would imply that the customer although not finding "exactly what he/she wanted", may be inclined to entertain other "options" on the basis that they like who theyre dealing with.;wi

Hope this helps!

David - by truesaxman
I feel whether or not I can help them in what they are looking for is SECONDARY to estalishing a "relationship" or at least the beginnings of a good one.;sm Because even IF I do not end up having what "the customer needs", I have read one of the top reasons why customers buy from a salesperson is that they "like the salesperson"....so this theory would imply that the customer although not finding "exactly what he/she wanted", may be inclined to entertain other "options" on the basis that they like who theyre dealing with.;wi

Hope this helps!

David
I believe that theory about being "liked" is flawed. In most cases David customers don't have to "like" you but they do have to be willing to work with you. - by Liberty
I think it would depend on if you're meeting in person, or on the phone and if you're meeting in person, have you spoken on the phone?
Assuming it's a first meeting with no prior conversations, I would spend a few minutes building rapport. If they want to jump right in (skip the small talk), they'll let you know.

Susan - by susana
But i think since most people first talk on phone so its not that necessary these days to really get deep into realtions when you meet - by mtajim
When you first meet a customer, what is your number 1 intent in the first few minuets?
This might sound cold but my number 1 intent is figuring out if they are serious and qualified.;tmt - by Thomas
I think your first intent should be that you give a good impression to your client about yourself and the products that you are representing. - by jimberan
This might sound cold but my number 1 intent is figuring out if they are serious and qualified.;tmt
That's not cold that's working smart. :thup - by BossMan
That's not cold that's working smart.
Thanks Boss. :thup - by Thomas
That is smart if you don’t cause prospects to become defensive right away;wi - by Tony Dunne
My intent in the first few minutes of meeting a client is to build trust. More often than not I can build trust within a 40 minute meeting by focusing on the needs of other person. As much as possible, I remove my preoccupation with “closing the sale” and replace that with providing some lasting value to the other person.

In other words, figuring out the answer to “How can I serve”?

-Terri - by Terri
When you first meet the customer you MUST ask questions about HIM or HER. You do NOT discuss your product or service at this time. You must understand everything about the person and their business. You need to uncover problems, find out what they mean and hopefully provide a solution.

Steve Hilliar - by stevehilliar
That's not cold that's working smart. :thup
My number 1 intent is making sure I'm serious and qualified. Am I serious about helping them (regardless of where my quota is this week)? Am I (and my products/services) qualified to really make a difference for them? Then I can start to figure out if they're serious about a win/win outcome (or just shopping for price) and qualified to make a decision. - by tom behr
Am I (and my products/services) qualified to really make a difference for them?
How do you decide that Tom? - by Thomas
I think I'd qualify prospects first before actually meeting them. That way I won't waste my time nor my prospects' time. - by msato
My number 1 intent is making sure I'm serious and qualified. Am I serious about helping them (regardless of where my quota is this week)? Am I (and my products/services) qualified to really make a difference for them? Then I can start to figure out if they're serious about a win/win outcome (or just shopping for price) and qualified to make a decision.
For me, at least, there's a lot of psychological risk in selling (linked to economic risk, ego risk, etc.). So I know I can get anxious, want to push, etc. Sometimes I'll fall in the trap of believing that because what I'm selling is so special, customers ought to want it. -- all the things that make customers want subconsciously to get me the hell out of their office. For me, being serious about selling is emptying all that stuff out of my mind before the call so can be at my best for me and the customer (like a batter emptying his mind before each pitch).

If I don't already have an idea how my services could really help the customer (from pre-call research) I shouldn't be making the call in the first place. Conducting "fishing expeditions" with customers wastes their time and mine.

Qualifying customers for me is first about the relationship - do they display the kind of trust, openness and candor that suggests they'd be a good partner -- I test that by displaying maximum trust, candor and openness myself and checking their response.
Hope that helps
Tom - by tom behr
If you're struggling to differentiate yourself from competitors, or build relationships when customers only want price based transactions check out Joe Guertin's 2-21 podcast "Selling yourself" about qualifying with customers based on the value you create.
I think it's as important as the smart planning step of pre-qualifying msato mentioned. Not every customer wants to go on the value-based partner jourbey with you, even when you've done everything "right" (or they may just not be ready yet.) I ask myself whether I want to continue down the road with a customer who's unwilling to partner, in dogged pursuit of an order (which we all have to do sometimes) or politely walk away to find a better customer. Sometimes the best decision is figuring out who not to do business with. - by tom behr
This might sound cold but my number 1 intent is figuring out if they are serious and qualified.;tmt
Ah, but are you a rubber or steal hammer???:yi - by job ready strategist
Ah, but are you a rubber or steal hammer???:yi
I don't get it. :cu - by Thomas
I don't get it. :cu
It's about approach, type and style of salesmanship.thmbp2; - by job ready strategist
It's about approach, type and style of salesmanship.thmbp2;
What are the traits of the rubber and steel hammer approach’s? - by Tony Dunne
What are the traits of the rubber and steel hammer approach’s?

“Are you a rubber or steal hammer?” I puzzled over that question, and finally decided that “rubber hammers” try to get close to customers and “steal” hammers just take from them. ;wi

“Rubber vs. steel” is easier. We’re all making this up, of course, but it seems to me that a “rubber hammer” bounces, and a “steel hammer” smashes. Unless I’m in a tough negotiation with an unethical party on the other side, I leave my steel hammer in the tool box when working with customers. (In negotiations, sometimes you have to “beat” the other side in to working collaboratively towards a win/win goal – the only really sensible outcome.) But it’s hard to see what value I’d get from beating on customers.

A rubber hammer would seem to be better. It bounces, and doesn’t damage what it hits so much. But why use a hammer at all? By analogy, I’ve been restoring the 1730’s house JoAnn and I live in for 20 years (ugh!) and was always a hammer guy, good old 20 oz. long shaft steel framing hammer, nicely-balanced wooden-handled 16 oz. − when I was driving nails (“If your only tool’s a hammer…”). Then a buddy showed up with a power nailer. Instead of Tap. WHAM! WHAM! WHAM! just pfffht pfffht. The hammers sit in the barn now, unless I’m working on furniture or hanging a picture.

When we talk at customers, we’re always using a hammer − rubber or steel. Asking questions and conversing with customers is more like a nailer – a power tool.
- by tom behr
What are the traits of the rubber and steel hammer approach’s?
Rubber Hammer:

Establish rapport thru commonality
Establish need
Have understanding, patience, and tolerance
Putting the client first
Listen to hear
Hear to listen
Leaving the door slightly ajar
A real desire to do the right thing for the right reason

Steel Hammer:

In your face
If you don’t buy now
No problem, absolutely, you’re the boss/man
I wouldn’t do this for anyone else
Have I got a deal for you?
You don’t want this; you want that, don’t you?
What do you mean you have to think about?
Trust me…etcmsnwnk; - by job ready strategist
“Are you a rubber or steal hammer?” I puzzled over that question, and finally decided that “rubber hammers” try to get close to customers and “steal” hammers just take from them. ;wi

“Rubber vs. steel” is easier. We’re all making this up, of course, but it seems to me that a “rubber hammer” bounces, and a “steel hammer” smashes. Unless I’m in a tough negotiation with an unethical party on the other side, I leave my steel hammer in the tool box when working with customers. (In negotiations, sometimes you have to “beat” the other side in to working collaboratively towards a win/win goal – the only really sensible outcome.) But it’s hard to see what value I’d get from beating on customers.

A rubber hammer would seem to be better. It bounces, and doesn’t damage what it hits so much. But why use a hammer at all? By analogy, I’ve been restoring the 1730’s house JoAnn and I live in for 20 years (ugh!) and was always a hammer guy, good old 20 oz. long shaft steel framing hammer, nicely-balanced wooden-handled 16 oz. − when I was driving nails (“If your only tool’s a hammer…”). Then a buddy showed up with a power nailer. Instead of Tap. WHAM! WHAM! WHAM! just pfffht pfffht. The hammers sit in the barn now, unless I’m working on furniture or hanging a picture.

When we talk at customers, we’re always using a hammer − rubber or steel. Asking questions and conversing with customers is more like a nailer – a power tool.
well saidthmbp2; - by job ready strategist
Ok, I see where you’re both coming from and there’s one thing I’d like to add.

To a hammer EVERYTHING looks like a nail.bgwnk; - by Tony Dunne
Ok, I see where you’re both coming from and there’s one thing I’d like to add.

To a hammer EVERYTHING looks like a nail.bgwnk;

But not every nail is the same.

Not every nail serves the same purpose.

And, one size nail doesn't fit all...thmbp2; - by job ready strategist
When we set up appointments with prospects, we qualify them for the following.
1. An hour of uninterrupted time – sometimes longer.
2. The purpose of the meeting – to determine whether we have a mutually acceptable basis for doing business.
3. Determine what they want to accomplish and whether they will spend within a reasonable price range to get it done.
4. Agree on buying intentions – if we can meet their conditions of satisfaction, they will commit to going forward toward the purchase from us.

When we first meet the prospect(s) we do the following steps.
1. Confirm the rules of engagement, above.
2. Determine whether we can have an immediate relationship of mutual trust and respect.
3. Learn exactly how they do business and who has final buying authority.
4. Get agreement to deal with everyone involved in the buying decision.

That is the first half of the High Probability Selling process.

Contrary to popular opinion:
Most prospects do not buy from the salesperson they like best;
Demonstrating a sincere intention of learning the prospects needs and solving their problems does very little to establish trust or respect. - by JacquesWerth
Jacque-
Great points. In my own practice I find your initial qualifying questions #2 and #3 really powerful if they’re sincere. I tend to hold back until the face to face meeting for #4 in the top list so there’s been a little direct contact before I ask that question, but that’s just me. I’d agree that customers who have a hard time being clear and candid about your bottom four questions are basically disqualifying themselves.

Every time, bar none, I’ve been sloppy and skipped step #1 in your bottom list (Rules of engagement) I’ve paid for it down stream. I also ask “How will you know that we have a sufficient level of trust and mutual respect to allow us to work well together?”

I find the interesting qualifying conversations are when an otherwise promising customer says. “I can only give you a half hour” or “I have final buying authority.” (when you’re pretty sure the customer doesn’t.)

I also strongly concur with your final points about establishing trust and respect (although it’s not easy selling when the customer dislikes you.) - by tom behr
Wrote in small part:
I also ask “How will you know that we have a sufficient level of trust and mutual respect to allow us to work well together?”

I find the interesting qualifying conversations are when an otherwise promising customer says. “I can only give you a half hour” or “I have final buying authority.” (when you’re pretty sure the customer doesn’t.)

I also strongly concur with your final points about establishing trust and respect (although it’s not easy selling when the customer dislikes you.)
Tom: The first question (above) seems to be a good one, but it is not; here's why. Trust and Respect are emotional responses to another person. Asking someone to set logical standards for their emotional judgments is counter-productive.

If you read the first several pages of the last chapter of our book, you will see an example of the "Trust and Respect Inquiry." It is all about emotional linkage; it is not about business. However, in about 15 minutes, it sets up the most powerful kind of business relationship.

Obviously, if the prospect immediately dislikes you, you will never get the chance to establish a relationship of mutual trust and respect. - by JacquesWerth
Good points here from both Jacques and Tom thmbp2; - by Tony Dunne
When you first meet a customer, what is your number 1 intent in the first few minuets?
It is so important to get intention right... as I explain below, but in answer to the question, my number 1 intention is to do whatever I can to help them buy. My no 1 interest is that they buy the right thing.

Whatever a person’s intention it will come out in their behaviour, they can’t stop it. It’s a human thing and on the receiving end we will either pick up the intention either consciously or subconsciously. Have you ever been in conversation with someone and they are saying one thing and you just don’t believe them. It’s because they are not being congruent when they are delivering their message. They say one thing - the words and the rest of the message in terms of tone and non-verbal is not backing up what they are saying. If you are determined to sell to your customer then your behaviour will come across as such.

Young inexperienced males often go to night clubs to close deals!! If they have closing a deal on their mind too early in the evening then they will crash and burn - it will come out in their behaviour and the behaviour is inappropriate for that early in the evening. If you want to change your behaviour, change your intention. Don’t sell; rather help your customer to buy. If you truly believe that you are their to help your customer to buy and that means you walking away from the deal if it’s not appropriate for your customer - then you will come across as far more credible and trustworthy.

As they say, you only get one chance to make a first impression.
- by Firstborder
Not to be off-topic but have you ever intended one thing-like ordering at a restaurant, asked for another, and got what you originally intended? - by Calvin
Firstborder's focus on intention is an astute observation. His sales language is different from HPS, but his examples indicate that we are on the same page on this issue. - by JacquesWerth
Firstborder's focus on intention is an astute observation. His sales language is different from HPS, but his examples indicate that we are on the same page on this issue.
Add my strong agreement to the others regarding Firstborder's spot-on comments on intention -- which explains why salespeople whose words say "I want to help you" and whose intention is "I want to make this sale!" "I need the money!" encounter so much resistance.

Since we talk to ourselves far more than we talk with customers, maybe the internal sales conversation is the one to get right first... - by tom behr
Not to be off-topic but have you ever intended one thing-like ordering at a restaurant, asked for another, and got what you originally intended?
Intention come across. ;wi

Add my strong agreement to the others regarding Firstborder's spot-on comments on intention -- which explains why salespeople whose words say "I want to help you" and whose intention is "I want to make this sale!" "I need the money!" encounter so much resistance.

Since we talk to ourselves far more than we talk with customers, maybe the internal sales conversation is the one to get right first...
Your intentions speak so loud I can't hear what you're saying. ;wi - by AZBroker
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