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Minerva aims to promote ethics, efficiency and effecacy - so to help you master your craft I will share a  blog on Friday with sales and business skills to help you shine!


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Talking to the Wrong People Could Be Killing Your Business

By jewelscarter, Feb 26 2016 12:05PM

Do you spend hours telling people what you do only to watch them glaze over as you speak to them?

Do you think you have found the perfect client but just can’t connect?

Do you avoid talking to people about what you do in case they just don’t get it?

If you do experiences like this will kill your confidence to promote yourself, make you feel like you are not cut out for this marketing malarkey and make you withdraw when you need to come out of your shell the most.

The worst thing about this is it may not actually even be what you are saying that is having such negative results. It may simply be that you are saying this to the wrong people. So how do you tell who to talk to and how do you avoid getting into soul destroying conversations with the wrong people? Follow my simple tips and I will show you how.

When I wore my corporate training suit I would often be called in to help people to “Qualify” leads, particularly the operations teams encouraged to pass leads on. This was such an alien concept to them as they dealt with customers not prospects, they solved service issues not requirement issues – why would they know?

Thing is though, learning to adopt the mindset I tried to encourage in these staff will help you to grow your business, talk to the right people and avoid those draining conversations that lead you question if you are doing the right thing.

Qualifying a lead simply means finding out if they are suitable. So what I am asking you to do is find a way to determine which people are suitable potential customers, then determine how best to speak to them. Follow the four steps below and you will quickly be an expert in finding good potential clients to talk to.

Step 1: Am I Talking to a Potential Customer?

A customer needs to fulfil certain criteria otherwise they will never be happy and neither will you. Firstly they need to either want your service as it makes them happy, need your service as it makes life easier or require your service as it is an obligation. This is often described as the need.

The customer will know what results this product or service will fulfil for them, and will have expectations of what they will be – whether these expectations are accurate or not.

To avoid a lengthy conversation where you promote your services with all your being only to be told that’s interesting see you around – and the following feeling of rejection – you need to know that this person would benefit from you, even if they don’t know it yet.

You need to know whenever you meet someone or take an enquiry how you will ascertain this information. If they are not a potential customer, they may know potential customers so this is where you build relationships but don’t spend your energy trying to convince them they need you.

Step 2: Don’t Fall Into the “Everybody Needs Me Trap”

This is such a common time and confidence suck…and avoiding this may seem counter intuitive when you hear messages telling you to create the need, show people how they need you when they don’t know etc. Also difficult to avoid if you offer services you know everyone will benefit from. What you need to consider is that this is about priorities and where you put your energies.

To avoid this trap accept that everyone may need your services, many do not know they need your services, but replace do they have a need with does this support their values? What benefit will it bring to their relationship with their values? This will help you avoid wasting energy telling people how you can help when they are not open to the benefits you can bring.

Step 3: Will This Person Pay For My Service?

The customer must also be willing to pay for the service, and be financially secure enough to do so – otherwise you will end up serving them for free which is a nice thing to do but not a good business plan for the long term.

This is not just a case of the customer’s credit rating, but largely down to your confidence. You need to be able to project your expertise, value and worth to the customer. Part of this is selecting your price point, but another part is how you impart your price point to your customer.

Many people – especially women - struggle with this and it is vital to your business. You need to be able to show your clients that their investment in you is just that, an investment in their business and they cannot afford not to as they will miss out. Your joining conversations need to be well honed to convey this message confidently.

Step 4: Am I Talking to Someone Able to Use My Services?

The person in front of you to be a potential customer must also be in a position to take the services from you, so be able to broker with their employer if the employer is paying, be resident in the right country if that is applicable etc. This will depend upon what sector and service you work with.

This is often overlooked as someone with the desire for your services will appear willing to pay and talk to you enthusiastically so create the impression in you that you are about to gain a new exciting customer, but you feel let down as they say I would love to but I have to talk to my boss on Monday and she is a bit of a dragon, has a tight budget etc. This always feels like an excuse rather than the real reason they did not get their cheque book out.

In this instance, all is not lost, in fact handle this correctly and you could gain a loyal client in the employer.

You need to ascertain who will broker the service quickly…then rather than educate the person in front of you – despite the fact you will desperately want to – instead ascertain as much information about the company or person who can hire you. Then ask them to put you in touch. Follow up is really important here too…if they don’t contact you, you need to contact them so be very specific on time.

So now you know how to avoid draining your confidence by talking to the wrong people you can concentrate on talking to the right people in the most effective way and your business will grow along with your confidence.

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