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Engage your customer!

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Prime the Pump by Karen James

The first time I called a client just to small talk was an uncomfortable experience for me. I was exhausted just thinking about it before I finally dialed the number and remained on the line for an answer. However, the customer was amazed and very happy that I had taken the time just to check in. Small talk isn’t something everyone is comfortable doing, but getting right down to business isn’t always good for business.

We’ve all heard it said, “People buy from people they like!” “Engage your customer!” “Ask questions about their family and hobbies!” “Become their friend!” This is important because time spent getting to know your customer will result in improved sales. Without small talk, a customer gets a transactional experience and when it comes down to price; the customer will go with the one they trust.

In a recent article by Weldon Long titled “Why Small Talk Is a Big Deal – And What to Do If You Hate It.” Long referred to a 2018 study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, – it found that we tend to “like those who are similar to us, and as a result, we find them more trustworthy.” Long said, “the best way to build rapport and uncover things you have in common with a prospect is small talk, genuine small talk. The simple truth is that this chitchat can lead to trust by giving the prospect enough time to find similarities in us, and then grow to trust us.”

If you are uncomfortable with small talk, try to be spontaneous. Listen well and compliment what is being said. Show an interest in the topic whether or not you really are and avoid one-liner answers. Salesforce.com reported recently that 79 per cent of business buyers say “it’s absolutely critical or very important to interact with a salesperson who is a trusted advisor — not just a sales rep.”

The most successful sales people spend more time small talking than selling and, regardless of the nature of our jobs, we are all in the business of sales.

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