Analyze Your Prospect In The First 5 Minutes Of The Sales Call

On the 18th of January I wrote a post dedicated to how salespeople miss so many factors on first sales calls. In my opinion the first few minutes of the sales call are the most critical. And I will probably receive some critical emails proving how wrong this opinion is. I accept that. The close is the most important event of a sales call but the close will not happen until the salesperson navigates those first five minutes.

Salespeople need to understand that prospects do not always trust them. Why? Because history does not treat salespeople kindly. Prospects have fresh memories of buying microwaves, cars, tools, computers and a host of other everyday items. Prospects approach every buy with a certain wariness of being “taken”. They don’t want to spend more than they should, they don’t want to be taken, they don’t want to buy without getting some sort of deal. Wariness is a prospect’s state of mind.

So, let’s go back to your sales call on Pete the prospect. You have to always think about their “state of mind”. What does the prospect expect? Are they on the defensive? How many people have they seen before you? Are they buyers or tire kickers? What do you have to do to separate yourself from all the other peddlers?

The answer to that is simple and I mean simple! The moment you come face to face with a prospect begin to bond with them. Match their handshake. If it’s a linguine special then press somewhat harder but don’t break their knuckles. Medium handshake requires a medium return handshake. A bone crusher handshake requires a bone crusher in return. A male or female here makes no difference. I taught my kids to make a firm handshake and adapt as needed depending on whose hand you’re shaking.

Mirror the eye contact and match the tone of voice. This may be the most key. People process information at about the same rate they speak. Fast talkers process info quickly; slow talkers process info more slowly. Listen to how people talk and match their speed and and how loud or soft they talk. Why? Because we all tend to “identify” more closely with people who are similar to or like us. The closer we identify to someone the more we trust them and this goes for prospects as well.

The Final Thought: The faster you bond with someone the faster they trust you. T. Schaber


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