There’s this idea out there that the ability to connect on an emotional level with people is innate. Either you’re born with it, or you aren’t. It’s like gifted salespeople were blessed with outgoing personalities, while others were meant to struggle—it’s just in their DNA.
Does any of this strike a chord? Newsflash—effectively connecting with others isn’t something you’re just “born with.” In fact, similar to an IQ, it’s very much a teachable skill that can be bettered in time. The key to all of this is to work to improve your emotional intelligence (EQ) as regularly as possible.
Food, shelter and water are all basic human needs; building meaningful emotional connections with others (especially as a salesperson) is no different. Interested in bettering your EQ while also building meaningful business relationships with the buyers you’ve worked so hard to find? Look no further than the following five must-implement strategies for help:
1) First Impressions Are a Real Thing—Make a Good One
Studies have shown that opinions of others are formed within the first seven seconds of meeting someone. After that, the rest of the interaction is spent mentally justifying the initial perception. Scary stuff, but not if you know how to respond. When meeting a buyer for the first time, make certain to be positive with your gestures, facial expressions and tone of voice—this will help.
Be on time, do your homework, for the love of god put your phone away, look a person in the eye and remember it’s not all about you. This is an opportunity to earn trust and respect. This is your time to practice active listening to make a connection regardless of immediate opportunity and how you handle yourself and the conversation in that critical first encounter can make or break the road ahead.
2) Take Charge, and Move the Conversation Along
It doesn’t matter if it’s a first date, or your final meeting with a potential customer, understand how to take control of the conversation, moving things well beyond the realm of superficial pleasantries to transform business. The weather, hobbies and sports are great, but they’re safe and not very effective topics. Without crossing the line, peel back the curtain a bit, revealing your true self. People appreciate this, and will respond favorably. Remember a few key items: teach, tailor and take control while being your fabulous authentic self.
3) Ask Critical Questions, and Listen Intently
This is probably the most important part of building and keeping a relationship in my opinion. How do you know what the other person is thinking, what’s important to them, why, what they’re struggling with, etc. if you don’t ask?
Perhaps the shoe is on the other foot, and it’s your job to help someone else feel comfortable. To do this, ask thoughtful, open-ended questions. For example, it’s one thing to ask, “What do you do for a living?” It’s another to ask, “Why did you decide to become a _______.” See the difference? Once a question like this has been posed, listen intently—this is vitally important. Need help with profound questions to ask? There are countless posts on the topic with some outstanding guides, examples and insights.
4) The Platinum Rule
You remember the golden rule, right? It’s basically the law of reciprocity: do unto others, as you would have them do unto you. While great for any client interaction, there’s something better out there—the platinum rule. The platinum rule calls for treating people the way they want to be treated. By so doing, you increase comfort and prove you’re a sincere listener.
5) Remember—You’re Not Competing
This is HUGE in the business world—there’s no need to make a contest out of a simple chat, especially when a buyer is on the other side of things. If a soon-to-be-customer is opening up about his or her life experiences and accomplishments, this is a terrific thing, you want this to happen. Don’t ruin your positive momentum by feeling like you have to indulge your ego.
EQ is an important part of the sales process. To improve yours, you might have to step outside of your comfort zone a bit. Look at it as a muscle you have to work out to keep fit. Like everything else, when given the time, energy and focus it requires, using your newfound or bolstered EQ, you can make the buyer connections you’ve always dreamed of.
Now the time is yours—in addition to what I’ve talked about above, what insights or words of wisdom do you have for my LinkedIn readers about making invaluable buyer connections? As always, in the comments section below, share your knowledge. I’m excited to learn from each of you. Thanks for reading, and have a great day!
This was originally written on LinkedIn – Amy V.