How to Break the Ice With a New Prospect
Congrats on securing a meeting with a potentially lucrative prospect! Now, how do you plan to woo him or her and get some much-needed insight? Breaking the ice is tough in any situation, and especially difficult when new business is at stake. At a first meeting, you need to gather some important information about the prospect’s needs, but you also need to come across as likeable and trustworthy (and NOT pushy).
Luckily, The Center for Sales Strategy’s Kurt Sima has some great tips on how to break the ice with a prospect and get him or her to open up, which will allow you to create a proper needs analysis. Below are just a few of his suggestions:
- Build rapport right away. Spend the first ten minutes or so getting to know the prospect, learning more about his or her business and just having a pleasant, no-pressure conversation. This will establish a solid foundation for more in-depth business discussions.
- Ask easy questions. Initially, save the hard-driving inquiries for a later meeting. For now, get a feel of the current state of his or her business, current and potential challenges, and goals.
- Discuss the meeting’s agenda and expectations. This gives the prospect a clear idea of what you hope to accomplish and learn, and it showcases your organizational and management skills.
“These things reduce the relationship tension that naturally exists between a new business prospect and a salesperson, and opens the door for needs analysis probing,” Sima explains.
By following his tips, you can get the important insight you need during the very first meeting AND form the foundation for a solid relationship that hopefully leads to a contract down the road.