Breaking the Ice

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How you Break the ice.  In this article, I will teach you how to break the initial tension when you go into a customer's house or place of business.  Whenever you make the first contact with someone you have not met before there is always a level of defensiveness.  Especially in any sales appointment.  The customer knows your job is to sell to them. You know it is your job to sell to them.  What we really need to do is to calm down.

We will be covering the following

.  Turn Up on Time

.  Introduction

.  Open and Closed Question

.  Listening for Free Information

.  Levels of conversation

 

Turn up on Time
 

The first rule of breaking the ice is to be on time.  If you going to be late phone ahead and let them now.   Do not turn up early.  Customers have booked an appointment with you or your company and in most cases arranged there day around when you turn up.  Turn up early and most of them will be polite to you, making you think that's it is all ok and that you should do this more often.  I promise you the customer is now flustered as they are not ready for you.  Turn up late and you will have messed up the rest of the day.  If you want to see if I am wright and run the numbers.  Turn up 15 minutes early for 10, turn up on time for 10 and run late for 10.  You will see what I mean.

 

Introduction
 

When you knock on the door or arrive at the business premises or house and have as little in your hands as possible.  A folder and some brochures or a tablet and a pen.  It is all you need.  Turn up with a doctor bag in one hand and a sample in another and the customer will think your moving in.

Before a customer opens the door take a step back so you're not directly in their face when they open it.  Smile introduce your self and the company you're from.  Walk forward to shake their hand.  Walk-in

When entering a home offer to take your shoes off.  If there is a load of shoes by the door, just take them off.  This small gesture will go along the way with some people.  It will also tell you a bit about their personality.  The look of there home is critical to them.   They don't necessarily buy cheap.

If you don’t like animals Business to customer is not the job for you.  My advice is to ignore the animals in the beginning.  They will leave you alone quicker if you do.  Make a fuss of them at the end.

 

Open and Closed Question
 

A closed Question is a question that has a yes or no answer.

An open question is a question that requires a longer response.

Asking a closed question followed by an open question is a very formulaic why having a conversation with a customer.  I suggest you mix it up.  You must remember the customer's anxiety levels are high at the beginning of the appointment.  Open and closed questions help relax them.  Some example of open and closed questions:

1.  What you want a quote on?  (closed question)

    Followed by

    What wrong with the existing “products” (open question)

2.  How long have you lived here?  (closed question)

    Followed by

    What made you move to this area?  (open question)

3.  How long have you had the business?  (closed question)

    Followed by

    What made you start up the business? (open question)

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Listening for Free Information
 

Listening for free information is an essential skill.  Once you get good at asking open questions you must then get good at this.  When asking an open question listen to what the customer tells you carefully.  Avoid thinking about the next stage of the appointment.  People like to talk about their favorite subject and their best subject is them.

Let me give an example

You:  How long have you lived in this house? (closed question)

Customer:  10 years (closed answer)

You:  What made you move into this area? (open question)

Customer:  We moved to the area because of work (Free information)

You:  What do you do for a living? (closed question)

Customer:  I am a teacher (closed answer)

You:  What made you decide to be a teacher? (open question) 

Customer: tells their life story with a load of free information for you.  

You have 2 ears and 1 mouth.  Use them in that order. Get good at NOT interrupting people when they talk.  Let them get to the end.  The biggest mistake salespeople make here is to relies that they got something in common and talk about themselves.   

 

Levels of Conversation
 

There are many levels of conversation.  From saying hello and good morning while passing in the street to telling you personnel and intermate things that you would only tell your best friend.   You will not always get to intermate, but if at the end of the conversation you're still on the weather your probably not getting the sale.   My advice to use is to practice listening.  The better you get a listening the better the relationship will be and the more sales you will get. 

 

What have been your favorite conversation with a customer?

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