People work with people they like. If you’re a sales person who is too “sales-y,” it’s going to be difficult to get ahead. At the end of the day, no one likes to be sold anything. They want to make a real connection with a real person, not a pushy sales person.
BDU’s CEO Lisa Peskin has had a flourishing career in sales and business development for over thirty years. What’s one of the largest factors contributing to her ongoing success? It’s her ability to connect with her clients and contacts on not just a business level but a personal one as well.
If you want to go from being viewed as just a sales person, it’s not only okay but necessary to forgo some of the professional formalities you may have developed and to let your guard down a little to make a real connection with each person you meet.
Here’s how you get on the same level as your prospects and become a real person who’s helping, not selling:
- Let them get to know YOU as a person. Lisa’s contacts, clients and prospects don’t think of her as “Lisa the sales person” because they don’t look at her as trying to sell them something. They all have gotten to know her as Lisa. She’s shared stories and life experiences with them that have nothing to do with sales. Whether she’s talking about her children, telling a funny story about her 70+ blind dates or sharing about an experience she just had, Lisa makes a point to relate to each contact on a personal level.
- Get to know THEM as a person. Always find out at least one thing that has nothing to do with business. Ask about their family, their hobbies or their travel experiences, and check them out on LinkedIn. You can then use this information to find something you have in common and to catch up the next time you connect with them (for example, “How was your daughter’s graduation?” or “How is she doing at Penn State?”).
Someone who is a good story teller, using humor and personal anecdotes to entertain and make a connection, is someone people enjoy working with and being around. When you can develop a real rapport with not only your prospects but everyone you interact with – your clients or customers, your referral sources, your networking partners – you can then begin to build strong, lasting relationships built on give and take, shared interests and personal connection.