Get used to the idea or get out of business. Influential selling.
As long as you’re in the business of providing services, you’re going to have to sell your business and yourself, in any order or collectively, at least once per day.
If it hasn’t happened yet, it’s almost inevitable that you will get an opportunity to sell your big idea or your business to either someone very wealthy or very influential. When you do, it's influential selling.
Will you blow it or will the prospect be blown away?…that depends on how strategic you plan to be.
Speaking of strategic, here are my 6 strategies for influential selling. I discovered these by trial and error (lots of error!). They work for me and I know they can work for you too, especially if like me, you’re committed to your own self-development as a business owner.
So here is my count down…just for you...6 strategies for influential selling.
Dress the part
Uh-huh! This is a no-brainer you’re thinking. And perhaps you’re right because so many people dress for these occasions as though they have no brains.
To dress the part, the “part” first has to be understood, interpreted and implemented by you in such a way that the message you’re sending is the one that you want your prospect to receive.
For example, sometimes I want to send the message that I am different, creative, top-of-the-line and not desperate for your business. That means that I have my own interpretation of corporate. I wear solid gold or silver accessories almost exclusively and my clothes are unconventional without being outlandish.
For the most part, influential or wealthy people appreciate creativity but dislike outlandish. So please ensure that when you get the opportunity to pitch your services at a high level, you’re not dressed so “distinctly different” that you’re directed to the room where they’re auditioning for the circus.
Respect and manage time
There’s more to this than being on time. In influential selling, arriving too early also sends the wrong message. These people will think that you can’t be very busy if you have 30 – 45 minutes to hang around in their waiting room.
Moreover, you could also be sending the message that you’re desperate for the business – another thing that does not impress them. By all means arrive early but wait in your car or somewhere else nearby and then show up on time.
A good approach to influential selling is to respect the amount of time you’re given for the meeting. If you’re allowed 30 minutes, at the end of that the only thing that should delay you is a question from your prospect.
When you receive a question at the end of your time, say something like: I’d be happy to answer that question if I can have a few more minutes. This signals your firm commitment to time and establishes your understanding of business etiquette – something your high-end prospect understands.
Listen in the same ratio as you have ears to mouth
Allow the prospect to do most of the talking. Listening to your prospect allows you to develop an understanding of the prospect at many levels and also provides you with information you might not get from asking.
Listening actively also helps you to ask intelligent questions which engages the prospect at a meaningful level and separates you from the average.
Even as you ask questions, really listen for the answers otherwise you send the message that you’re just creating opportunities to demonstrate what you know.
Moreover, trying to impress that you have the solution before hearing the problem is a clear indication that the role of your mouth has taken over that of your ears and you’re just not ready for doing business at that level.
Take notes to really win at influential selling
Please take notes – however good you think your memory is.
There’s an ancient Chinese proverb which states: "The faintest writing is stronger than the strongest memory."
Taking notes makes you appear professional. It shows that you just have to be told something only once and you can be relied upon to recall it. Furthermore, not taking notes could be an indication that you have heard nothing worth recording. Not a good thing for influential selling.
On the other hand, if you have taken notes, in addition to presenting your information in a concise, factual, articulate, and well-organized manner, then you can begin a relationship by sending back a meeting brief within two hours after the meeting. Please note, this is not a proposal. It is a just a key part of your success at influential selling.
Know your competition
Has anyone ever asked you "How do you stack up against your competitors?" I bet you answered "I never like to bad-mouth my competitors." When I look back, I am soooo embarrassed to think of the many times I said that and smiled so sweetly. Ouch! That's not influential selling! That's killing the sale before you get it!
Rich people and influencers want the facts, so they interpret this answer as your attempt to hide the fact. They think that you don’t know your competition or worse, you don’t stack up too well against that competition.
No, no! they don’t want you to badmouth the competition but they want to hear something like "I'm glad you asked, Ms Richwoman, I have here a matrix of 11 main characteristics of our services and how they compare to those of our 4 primary competitors who combined with us, represent over 77% of market.” Now that's influential selling!
You need to know your niche, your competition and how you stack up against that competition or if you’re like me, how the competition stacks up against you .
How do you ace this meeting in the first place?
Yeah…really, how do you ace a meeting with an influential or wealthy person? The answer to this is influential selling 101!
If you live in a small, close society like the one I live in, as you learn to walk, you also learn that getting ahead is as much about what you know as it is about whom you know. Hey, that’s true of larger societies too.
So begin by finding out who you have in common with the person you want to meet. Then you ask this person to either introduce you to your prospect or allow you to mention their name when you contact the prospect.
When you get the opportunity to ask for a meeting, a good approach is to use the 27/9/3 rule as your opening – State your reason for calling in 27 clear words or 9 focused seconds highlighting 3 compelling points. (yes, it can be done, it takes work and sometimes it’s all the time you may have!) The idea is to hook the prospect into wanting to hear more.
Very early in the conversation, mention the name of the person who helped you to get your foot in the door. That name is more important than your name or the name of your business. This is the key to your influential selling...
Now over to you...
So there you have them! 6 strategies you can use to win a client ! They work for my influential selling and they can work for you.
Here's a quick recap:
6. Dress the part
5. Respect and manage time
4. Listen in the same ratio as you have ears to mouth
3. Take notes
2. Know your competition
1. How do you ace the meeting in the first place
If you use these strategies as a place to start and keep adding your own as you pitch to more and more high-end clients, you will find that you will win more contracts from rich or influential prospects. This means you will make more money with less effort…the thing we all dream of!
Now, if you have any more strategies which works for you, would you like to help us all out by sharing them? Thanks!
To your influential selling...