Most of your prospective customers (“prospects”) are currently working with another supplier of goods and services similar to yours. They have a relationship with this supplier. We often hear companies refer to these suppliers as their partners. These partners are fulfilling the basic needs of the prospect and maybe more. Together they have built a trust based on knowledge, familiarity, and shared experiences. The prospect and supplier are comfortable with one another. How do we get the prospects to cheat on their partners?
There is an art to being noticed. Here are three effective means to get their attention:
- Have a mutual friend make an introduction
- Speak at a public event or host a webinar on a subject that is tantalizing
- Engage digital media – social media or email – to provoke interest in you
Give your prospects something unique to both them and you; an idea or a solution to a problem.
Note: Patience is key and so is a benevolent spirit.
Now that you have caught their attention, ask your prospect what problems they are facing today. If you have gained their comfort, they will likely share one or more things that are challenges for them. Here is where you ask if you can help them. You may need to assure them there are strings attached and there shouldn’t be. We are working to build trust. The answer is easy for them – yes or no. If the answer is yes, you have a first date. Now, go to work to present the best you through your creative thinking and problem solving.
Note: The current partners will defend themselves if the prospect tells them of the date, so be prepared. Acknowledge their role as an important partner and invite them to the table. It is disarming.
THE SECOND DATE
In order to get a second invitation to spend time together, you must spark both a personal and practical relationship – “I like you and your ideas.” Most relationships are built on a mix of likeability and mutual support. The likeability requires time together in person, on the phone, or video chatting. Mutual support comes from you solving problems. In the end, the second date and beyond is about you outperforming the incumbent with attention and results.
Note: Honesty is the keystone to authentic success that will last over time.
At this point, I think I have carried the relationship analogy far enough to make my point. Some prospects as they become your new clients will only have room for one partner. You are now the new, shiny penny and have the affection of the client. Now is the time to reflect on and learn from what has just transpired with the transition of the old partner to you. You must continue to keep your relationship fresh, exciting, and attractive. Do not repeat the ‘comfortable, familiar, and reminiscent’ ways of the past partner. You know first hand your new client will change partners given the right reasons. You may be the next victim of divorce (sorry, I could not resist).