Marrying Your Prospect

by Twyla Grimes

My husband and I got engaged three weeks after our first date. Most people say, “Wow! That is really soon! How can you be sure he is the right one?” Well, we just knew.

What’s funny though is that most sales professionals expect to walk in to an appointment and walk out with a signed contract and an order, all at the first meeting. They expect to get “married”, if you will.

When this does not happen, the sales professional may call once to ‘follow up” but if the client is not ready to take the next step in the relationship, the sales rep starts “dating” other prospects and forgets about the spark they had in their first meeting. There was a “spark” or else your prospect would never have set a “date” (appointment).

Just like when you are looking for someone who is marriage material…. prospects take time to grow into clients. You must court them via in-person visits, calls and e-mails, you must learn about them, their company culture and values, their industry and their personality and you must call them and follow up when you say you will.

We all know serial daters. They turn and burn dates faster than you can keep score. Many sales professionals are the same way. They are looking for “low hanging fruit”. They don’t want to spend time getting to know their prospect. They want an order, a commission check and they are ready to move on. Divorce is sure to follow.

To be a great sales professional, you must take time to nurture and build a relationship that will stand the test of time. There will be ups and downs just as there are in every relationship. The deciding factor on if the relationship is over or is salvageable depends on how things are communicated during these times and how hard the sales professional works at rectifying the situation. If you are a serial dater in the sales world, you will be working a lot harder than those who are able to build lasting relationships.

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