Three Questions that Bridge the Gap of New Acquaintance to New Client

4.24.15 Bridge

To Share or Not to Share… Or is There a Better Question?

As individuals in sales, we all have a variety of fear levels when it comes to talking to potential leads. Whether you meet them at a networking event, the grocery store, or at a conference, bridging the gap between “getting to know you” chit chat, to “I’d love to share a little bit about my business” can be an engineering feat.

Many of us can make small talk and chat about everything from the weather to the price of milk, and then become ill at the thought of mentioning our business. Others find the smallest window of opportunity talk about their business and jump in with too much enthusiasm. “Hey, you have two feet!!! You certainly need my amazing socks. I love them, you will too.”

The Consequences

Never talk about our business: 100% guarantee of no sales.

If we never share information about our product or service, the opportunity to sell is always 0%. We all know this logically, but knowing how to get over that huge hump of fear can appear as Mount Everest for some. 

Offer our product/business without getting to know the individual: We may end up with facial expressions and body language that says, “Don’t even think about trying to sell me something.”

When we hear a window open and a problem mentioned that we know our product can be a solution for, some are very quick on the draw to introduce their product(s) before learning much about the individual. Have you ever shared a challenge with someone close to you; for example, a friend or spouse? Have they ever instantly offered an unsolicited solution when all you wanted was an opportunity to vent? Was it well received, or did you wish they had listened longer or asked a few more questions to better understand your challenge instead?

Build a Bridge of Connection

If you are the “I’m terrified to talk to anyone” kind of person, this technique will lessen your fear and create a safe bridge that allows you to only share with those who truly need your product. For those who are fearless but sense that they might be making a few people uncomfortable with their desire to share their gift with the world, this will give you steps to show your authentic heart and desire to simply help as many people as possible. And in actuality, your sales will go up as you learn to say less and listen more.

Often, as we get to know others, we’ll find a common interest or challenge that would point towards the need of our product or service. This is where the “I just can’t bring myself to say anything.” or “I can’t hold it in, I have to tell them about what I have to offer.” happens.

The Questions That Act as Building Blocks to Constructing the Bridge

Because people love to talk about themselves and appreciate a listening ear, this approach is the bridge that creates a safe path for the terrified individual, and a safety net for the individual brave enough to just leap. Both individuals will feel more authentic, and they’ll cater to more clients with their product and service.

  1. “Tell me, how long have you had that situation/challenge, and what methods have you used in attempt to fix it?”
  2. “How did that method work for you?”
  3. “I know someone who had a similar situation; could I share with you something they tried, and then you can decide if it’s a good fit for you?”

If you noticed, the first two questions are open ended questions and give a great opportunity for your new friend to tell you more about themselves. By asking how they’ve attempted to solve the problem helps them to save face that they’ve done everything they knew to do.

The wording of question number two is critical. You must ask, “How did it work” versus, “Did it work.” If you ask did it work, they may say it did because they don’t believe there is another option that will give them better results. By asking how it worked, they will then give you more details and tell both the pros and cons to the solution. When they express there was a hole that wasn’t filled, you then can ask permission to offer another idea.

Question number three makes a simple offer that is considerate and minimizes the feeling of having to make a commitment. By referring to another person who simply had a similar situation, it creates a feeling like reading a five star product review online. Stating that the situation is similar shows you relate but respect that they have a unique situation.

Michelle Withers

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