Business Development: It’s About Building Relationships

Too often when I am speaking to Sales Managers, they are referring to a Key Performance Indicator being the number of cold calls their team have to make.

Well, guess what, the world has changed. This doesn’t work anymore. People are tired of being pitched to and will switch off if they are hearing the same old sales pitch or they think you are trying to manipulate them.

Now it is not about the number of calls you make but it is about the quality of the calls you make. It’s not based on the volume of calls; it’s based on the quality and depth of those calls.

In the business group I am a member of we have been lucky enough to hear from the world’s number 1 authority on trust based selling, Ari Galper. He says that it’s not about chasing anything that moves with the hope that at the end you’ll make a sale. It’s about being able to delineate on who is a real prospect and who isn’t.

There are some simple tips he gives on an initial cold call which should start with the question “Hi, I’m John, I’m hoping you can help me out for a moment”. What most people are used to hearing is the sales person going straight into their sales script. This more often than not appears robotic and the prospect is likely to shut straight down.

Instead if you are asking “can you help me out for a moment” it’s creating a two-way dialogue. Ari talks about certain questions you should never ask which include:

“I’m just calling to follow up…”. Instead replace the words “follow up” with “get your feedback or thoughts following our last conversation”. This again opens up the conversation and allows trust to be created.

Other great questions that Ari suggests to help you build trust are:

  • Instead of saying “would you be interested…” replace it with “would you be open to the possibility of…”
  • Also use the phrase “Where do you think we should go from here?” That way a potential new client doesn’t feel they are being pulled towards your goal (the sale) but instead that you are comfortable in hearing the truth.
  • Ari also uses the statement “That’s not a problem” whenever he is confronted with an objection. Ari says that most sales people default to a sales pitch whenever they get objections and this further alienates the potential client. He then follows up with ”I’m not looking to replace your current supplier but would you be open to looking at some other perspectives”. This helps diffuse the situation.

Ari has got dozens and dozens of ideas and tips on how to build trust – way too many to go into here. His tips and training are designed to make prospects comfortable with telling you where they stand. That way you may have less people in your sales pipeline but more quality potential buyers.

The notion that sales people are supposed to be tough and aggressive is no longer the case. It’s now about how you engage with people and the quality of the conversations you have.

For more information on Ari’s secrets his website is www.unlockthegame.com.au. It’s such a refreshing approach and I’d recommend it to all sales professionals.