In-person sales calls can be incredibly valuable when you know how to create a buying atmosphere. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to start the meeting (and the relationship) on the wrong foot.
I spent 13 years of my career in the mortgage business. During that time, I saw far too many loan officers perform some pretty pathetic sales calls on realtors. More recently, in my work as a sales coach, I’ve seen these same poor techniques repeated across many industries.
Here are the most common examples of bad sales call techniques (I call them the 3 B’s):
the 3 B’s of bad sales call techniques
- Bribery: “If you give me one of your deals, I’ll give you a special rate!”
- Bakery: “I’m just stopping by with some cookies/donuts/cupcakes to see how things are going.”
- Begging: “Please just give me a chance with one of your deals! I promise I’ll do a good job and earn your business!”
Unfortunately, the 3 B’s rarely work. That’s because when you don’t do the proper work up front to create a buying atmosphere, the relationship isn’t built on trust. No matter how nice you are, your prospect is worried about “being sold” or getting talked into something they don’t want.
Permission to Say “No”
A buying atmosphere is created right at the start of your meeting; it’s where you develop trust and start to form a partnership. You give your prospect permission to say no, then move into a comfortable conversation to see if you are a fit for EACH OTHER. Going into a prospect meeting should never be one-sided.
You shouldn’t go into a meeting trying to “earn” their business; that gives them the upper hand and/or permission to mistreat you. An ideal prospect respects you as much as you respect them. Going into a meeting saying you’re going to earn their business doesn’t give you a chance to evaluate them to see if they’re a fit for you.
In the mortgage industry, this technique helped me build lasting relationships and grow my business primarily through referral partners. So my example below reflects a loan officer/ realtor relationship, but these techniques apply to any industry.
5 Steps to Create a Buying Atmosphere:
- Step 1: Thank them for the meeting.
- Step 2: Tell them that you’re different.
- Step 3: Set proper expectations.
- Step 4: Give them permission to say no.
- Step 5: Ask them if that sounds fair.
Here’s an example of what it sounds like:
“First of all, I want to thank you for taking the time to meet with me today. I also want to let you know that the way I partner with my clients may be a little different than you’ve seen before. I’m not here today to beg for your business or even try to earn your business. I believe we should go into this as a partnership. I’d like to start by having a conversation about your goals, share some of my goals, and learn more about what you’d like to see from your loan officer (insurance agent, financial advisor, consultant, etc.). At the end of our meeting, if we decide it’s a fit, great! If not, no big deal. Either way, we’re both going to feel much better about our next steps. Does that sound fair?”
When you create a buying atmosphere, it takes the pressure off of you – and them! You’ll leave the meeting feeling better, and you’ll know exactly how to proceed.
Good luck! I’d love to hear how this works for you, so please share!
Until next time—go sell some stuff!