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What Do You Do After Introducing Yourself?

Here's the scenario:

You've found a prospect. You are at the beginning of a meeting with them (b2b or b2c). After you introduce yourself and chit-chat for a while, what do you do next?

Please share your strategy with the SalesPractice community. - by Skip Anderson
I typically begin a questioning/probing phase after a brief introduction. My company is well known in the transportation industry, so very little intro is needed. However, due to the number of new leads I deal with, I don't have time to be strung along by those that either aren't interested or simply don't have the resources to purchase the product(s). so if they begin to balk or hesitate, I stop and requalify them to uncover any obstacles or find out which stage of the buying process they are in currently. - by Mr Paul
If it's a chance meeting because we happen to both be somewhere, Skip, following the chit chat I say what I do and have to offer.

In that kind of situation there's time for conversation about what I do and offer if that person wants to engage in it. If it's engaged in it has all the looks of a typical sales conversation where finding out if the other person has a need, want, and willingness to buy provided my product can meet his/her conditions of satisfaction are met and so are mine is the goal. That's it!

If it's a telephone call I typically engage in a one minute intro and offering ending with "is that something you want or are looking for?" If no it's "Goodbye." If YES the conversation becomes a trust and respect to see if I want to do business with that person and if that person needs, wants and is willing to pay for what I offer provided he/she meets my conditions of satisfaction and visa versa. That's it.

Professionals sales is all about meeting needs and wants and willingness to buy in an interpersonal environment of mutuality with complementary condiditons of satisfaction being met. All of that is to say that focused inquiry and questioning, defining those conditions of satisfaction, and engaging in a strong positive relationship is everything that counts.

MitchM - by MitchM
I ask questions to find out what they need or want and how I can help them. I want to know where they are at in the process so that I can pick them up at that point and carry them forward. - by waynelong
My general introduction (for situations where the meeting wasn' speifically arranged to talk abotu something) typically includes a couple of brief examples of the sort of client problems I work on - along with the statement that the way I work is to focus on the specific challenges and issues faced by my clients.

That then provides an intro to ask them if they have similar challenges or issues (if they haven't already jumped in by then).

Ian - by ianbrodie
I almost always in person and on the phone in both warm and cold calls start probing as soon as possible. it is an essential part of my rapport building and sales process. It is hard to start selling before you know what the needs are. - by bmtrnavsky
I almost always in person and on the phone in both warm and cold calls start probing as soon as possible. it is an essential part of my rapport building and sales process. It is hard to start selling before you know what the needs are.
What actions do you recommend for rapport building? - by realtor
That's a tough question... because for me that process never stops, but in the beginning when we are chit chatting I am actually asking a lot of open probing questions and listening closely. I try to make connections between myself and the client whether it is with kids, college, hobbies, whatever. I also throw out a lot of "cookies" (positive affirmations) whenever I can. I try to stay away from the generic "That's awesome!" comments and tend towards the specific I'm glad to see you are very research minded. Not many people understand the number of things they need to consider when making a decision like this.

The real key is being yourself and being real. if you are fake or just trying to force a connection it will come across that way and they will turn off. It is important that you act like you care because you really do.

I think this is an important consideration in any kind of sales.

-Brad - by bmtrnavsky
in the textbooks, first you introduce yourself, chitchat for a minute, then go into a little about the company, then the general questions, then probing question, determine the best product that will match the clients needs, explain the benefits/features of that produce, then close the sale.

well thats the textbook flow of a sales presentation, good luck.

Luke V. - by vandenberg_luke
I'm exceptionally skilled at listening and engaging the other person in conversation that puts him or her at ease telling me lots of personal things. What I'm doing is deciding if this is someone I want to do business with, someone I can trust and respect, and someone who is a potential high probability prospect.

MitchM - by MitchM
I'm exceptionally skilled at listening and engaging the other person in conversation that puts him or her at ease telling me lots of personal things.
Do you have a few pointers you would share about putting others at ease? - by realtor
Here's the best I can do if I even understand it, realtor. Somehow I've learned how to be fully aware of my own fears and feelings of inferiority and inadequacies from childhood into adulthood and embrace them, learn from them, and use them in a transformational way that gives me a relaxed and connected feeling - maybe it's intellectual maybe it's emotional and it's also reflective - when I'm with people. Call it empathy.

I live in a sense of being a child in the playground of life full of new experiences and people and situations I've never encountered that cause me to be curious and open to what I'm going to find.

Be that adult child curious in every situation listening to people and taking an interest in what they have to say without regard to whether or not a sale will transpire. Listen with no agenda other than to have a long term if not meaningful relationship with someone.

The joy and love in that in a feeling that even a brief meeting can make a dramatic impact in someone's life can be a life transforming experience - sales is much more than a simple transaction happening.

Does that make sense to you - do you follow what I'm saying?

MitchM - by MitchM
After a brief warm up, I ALWAYS begin with an intent statement. It establishes the PURPOSE of our meeting or my phone call, (increase sales, decrease expenses, add productivity, solve a problem etc.) the PROCESS of the meeting or the call (our agenda), and the PAY-OFF the prospect receives from our dialog.

I always begin with 1. EMPATHY (thanks for taking some of your valuable time), 2. AGENDA, (what I will cover and how long it will take), 3. THE TAKE-AWAY (our product or service may not fit your needs) 4. EXPECTATIONS (I will provide enough information to enable them to make a decision - and as a salesperson my job will be to ask for their business, and finally, 5. PERMISSION TO ASK A FEW QUESTIONS. Without asking permission, a customer may feel as though they're being grilled, probed or set up to be manipulated.

My intent statement sets the tone for the presentation, establishes my professionalism and credibility, values the prospects time and takes any uncertainty out of the prospect's mind, - i.e. they know what to expect from me.

My intent statement is well practiced and comes across as very genuine and sincere. It takes about 2-3 minutes and has worked wonders for me for over 25 years. It is one of the best methods to develop trust and rapport with any prospect in any industry.

TimePro - by TimePro
"THE TAKE-AWAY (our product or service may not fit your needs)" -- TimePro

I find that statement especially potent because I need to find out up front if in fact what I offer fits the need and want of the person I'm speaking with OR that it does not and I can disqyalify the prospect and protect my valuable time.

Is your intent statement always the same wording or does it vary?

The best to you.

MitchM - by MitchM
It is never exactly the same, but is always delivered in the sequence I mentioned. The intent statement take-away also disarms the prospect and is a great tension reducer. I also find the take-away is very effective during the presentation as prospects often tend to want something that that they can't have.

I'm often asked, how long is my warm up - prior to my intent statement. My answer is, "as long as it takes." If I can't establish some commonality, genuine trust and rapport, then all additional dialog will be fruitless. I don't believe that I always have to make a friend - but I should always be friendly and let the prospect know that I'm here for business. I see far too much chit-chat with salespeople which can often backfire with certain personality types.

Timepro - by TimePro
Thanks! Chit chatting wastes time but some time is needed for an immediate relationship to have meaning.

MitchM - by MitchM
Thanks! Chit chatting wastes time but some time is needed for an immediate relationship to have meaning.

MitchM
I disagree that chit-chatting wastes time. TOO MUCH chit-chatting wastes time, but chit-chatting can and does build trust and engagement with a prospect, and trust and engagement are ALWAYS good things.

Too much of anything is always bad.

Just the right amount of anything is always good.

TimePro: I totally agree with you that the right length of time for warm-up is "as long as it takes." - by Skip Anderson
Trust and engagement are very good things and can be achieved without or with very little chit chatting - too much chit chatting diminishes the ability to achieve trust. Skip makes a good point on that.

"TimePro: I totally agree with you that the right length of time for warm-up is "as long as it takes."' -- Skip

I agree too.

Here's another good one (who knows where this gem comes from one would find it difficult to disagree with: all you can be is all you can be and all you can be is enough!

Here's to all of us being all we can be to be enough AND knowing the limits of chit chatting.

MitchM - by MitchM
Definitely ask the client about his/her needs. Show that you care and that you want to help! - by ginac84
After introducing myself, I like to ask about the prospects business. What they do or produce, Who they do it with or for, In the industry I work in knowing why they use or do not use the products and services I provide will in a natural course of conversation reveal their buying potential. - by chrisr110465
Here's the scenario:

You've found a prospect. You are at the beginning of a meeting with them (b2b or b2c). After you introduce yourself and chit-chat for a while, what do you do next?

Please share your strategy with the SalesPractice community.
It would depend on what I determine to be the purpose of the initial meeting. In selling, such purposes can vary. For example, an initial meeting might be a fact-finding event. Or, it could be an opportunity to make a presentation, i.e., introduce a new idea.

So, in answer to the question, "what do you do next", I would state, and define, my purpose for meeting.

Then I would do my best to fulfill that purpose. - by Ace Coldiron
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