Think back to the last time you had a bad date. Where did you (or they) go wrong? Now think back to the last time you experienced a bad sales pitch and the reasons why it failed. Chances are there are many similarities to be found between these two lists. It comes as no surprise; we often exhibit the same wacky behaviors when we’re trying to impress someone. The good news: being a better salesperson = being a better date— and vice versa. Kill two birds with one stone this Valentine’s Day with these seven ways sales should be like dating:
1. Do your research
Inviting your vegan date to a steakhouse is going to get you about as many kudos as presenting to your prospect about things that don’t concern them (zero). Make sure you’re googling the heck out of your customer before you go anywhere near that meeting room. HubSpot has this list of fourteen places to research a prospect before a sales call if you’re looking for a good place to start. (Note: we’re not suggesting you creepily stalk your date, but at least look at their profile to make sure you know a little bit about them. Use the internet for good, not evil.)
2. Listen more, talk less
Few things are worse than listening to someone incessantly talk about themselves— especially when they’re trying to make a connection with you. Make sure you’re prompting your prospect to talk about their situation so you can learn the pain points they have, as well as those they might not yet realize they have. When you listen, it shows you care.
3. Talk with them, not at them
The days of lecturing are long, long gone. People crave two-way interactions and engagement, so make sure you’re establishing a balanced conversation with your prospect (or date), unless you want them to pay more attention to their phones than whatever it is you’re trying to say.
4. Know how to handle objections
Look, it’s okay if your date doesn’t share your favorite color or movie or sport. If you like different things, look at it as an opportunity to introduce them to something new, not as a sign that you’re doomed to be alone forever. If your prospect doesn’t think every facet of your tool or solution is right for them, don’t assume they won’t find tremendous value in it anyway. Listen to their objections, accept and take them into account, and then focus the conversation on the things that address their immediate needs.
5. Don’t rush the close
You know you’re great, we know you’re great, but that doesn’t mean they know you’re great. Going into a pitch and acting like your mere presence is all that’s needed to convince a prospect they should buy is just as bad as leaning in for a kiss thirty seconds into a first date. Take your time, have a real conversation, and get to know each other. The more you understand your prospect and the more they understand you, the better chance you have of closing the deal.
6. Know when to end it
Genuine connection is what we’re all after, but just because you make one doesn’t mean you need to cling to it for dear life. We’re all busy people— we have things to do, places to be, cats to feed. Once you think you’ve hooked a prospect, stew in that goodness for a little bit, and then let them go to think about how awesome you are. They’ll miss you, and then they’ll call you, and then the rest will be history.
7. Don’t leave without agreeing on next steps
If you end a meeting without defining next steps, there’s no telling what will happen. People don’t want to chase you, so don’t make them. End your pitch with at least one clear action item just like you’d end a good date with plans for a next one. This will show your prospect that you’re serious and that they can expect to hear from you again soon.
While we can’t be there on your next date to whisper pointers in your ear (creepy), we can be there during your next meeting. Prezi Business presentations are perfect for sales pitches because they don’t use the typical slide-based, linear format. Now you can ask your prospect what they care most about and navigate directly to that information. No script, no ego, no problem. We call this method conversational presenting, and you can learn all about it by downloading our eBook below. Bonus: Prezi Business includes analytics, which tell you how your prospect is interacting with your content after the meeting has ended. It’s just like being able to read your date’s diary! (Please never, ever do that.)