Selling is like Dating: You Need to Take it One Step at a Time

By January 12, 2017Selling

You probably still suck at selling the next step. Competition is fierce. If you run a business, work at a company, or simply exist in the world, you’ve probably already realized this. To adapt to this new landscape, you may find yourself needing to overcome resistance.

You can overcome this resistance by selling your prospect to the next step. Selling the next step is the abbreviated version of the sales pitch that gets you where you want to go. For example, you might go into a meeting guns blazing trying to get the prospect to sign on the dotted line. But, unless you sell oxygen, chances are that they will fight the idea of signing anything that day. Be too aggressive about it, and they may just show you straight to the door.

Don’t hang your head and kick the dirt as you walk out of the room. You aren’t a failure if they didn’t sign. Why is this? You need to understand and take the time to know what makes your prospect tick. There’s a reason you’re standing in front of them, but it might not be the reason you think. Perhaps they’re just trying to learn a little bit more about what you have to offer to determine whether it’s even worth moving to the next phase. This is where the virtue of selling the next step comes in handy.

If you’re in the dating world, do you meet someone and tell them that your ambitions are to build a family and have a house, a dog and 2.5 kids right away? No, you don’t. That’s the quickest way to get someone to run for the hills. Instead, focus on the now. Find out what the other person likes, find out what they’re looking for, find out what they like to eat, or what music they listen to, or what movies and TV shows they like. You wouldn’t treat the person sitting across from you as an arranged marriage, so why should your expectations be the same for a prospect in a meeting?

Instead, try arranging for another date. Your ultimate goal is to convince your prospect that what you are offering is something that they are going to want. The end of the day, it could even be something that they genuinely need. But they might not know that, and no matter how many times or how well you are able to explain why they need you, that might not be what you’re looking for. Instead of selling them the end product, sell them on the process. Find out what the next step is for them. Is it a deeper dive to learn more about what they do and how they operate? Is it another meeting with more people involved that can the help move the ball down the field? Is it something that requires more resources on your end? Whatever it is, find out, and sell to that.

The chances of hitting a home run are slim. The chances of getting on base is much more realistic. Your ultimate goal is to get to home plate, so find the most steadfast way of getting there. If you can’t sell them on a solution or they aren’t interested in the next step, then move on. You will save time and energy.

Take a breath, sell to the next step, and treat the incremental process as you would any other interaction. And as always, keep Brewing Your Skill.