On the Catch the Wave call the other day you spoke about building relationships. I am new to sales and one of our managers always talks about improving your “sales etiquette”. What does that mean?
Thanks, Marie in Waterloo.
Welcome to sales! Thanks for the email and the question. Here are 4 simple ways to improve your sales etiquette, and build trust – leading to more sales – every time you meet a prospect or client face to face.
Dress appropriately. Always dress at least one notch above where your client will be dressed. If you are unsure about their corporate culture for attire, it’s never a bad thing to wear a suit. If you find out during your first meeting, that a suit is frowned on, or unnecessary, you can dress differently for the next meeting. None the less, wearing a suit does show that you respect the prospect enough to get dressed up for them. If you are making a formal sales presentation to a group of decision makers, a suit is a must.
Keep your car clean… yes, its part of your non-verbal communication and prospect’s notice this. One Engage client – who asked to remain anonymous – has someone from their office go out and visually inspect the car driven by the sales reps visiting his office. His thought is, “if my rep can’t keep his car clean, how can he keep our files in order?” A fair comparison… maybe, maybe not. It’s not for you to decide. It’s the client’s decision to make.
Start and finish the meeting on time. Best yet, be 5 minutes early (both to start and end). Being late will cost you business as it is a LOUD sign of disrespect for other people.
Turn off your cell phone and Blackberry. Even better, leave them in your car. You would think this would be an obvious one yet every week I witness first hand a sales rep whose cell phone goes off during a sales call. Worse yet… some of them answer those calls! The only excuse I allow you to make is if your spouse is in or close to being in labor! If that’s the case be up front with your client or prospect. Tell them flat out “normally I would leave my cell phone off and I hope that you don’t mind if I just put in on vibrate for today’s call. My spouse is due with our first child today….” Being honest and upfront with your client in this situation is fine. You will earn respect for being human. In all other situations… cell phones need to be left in the car.
Take notes. Not only is taking notes a best practice for listening, it also shows the client that what they are saying is so important to you, it’s worth writing it down. Clients are impressed with sales people who take notes and generally feel like you care more about their needs than sales people who don’t. In short, note taking builds trust. Trust leads to sales.
Yes, these are simple ideas. So is “keep your eyes on the ball” when trying to hit a fast pitch and “don’t forget to breath” when swimming a freestyle race. It’s often the small simple things that win or cost you a sale, and a relationship.
Dedicated to increasing your sales,