1 Be friendly
With business partners, as with women, one thing is most important. You have to constantly be friendly. You have to overlook the little flaws and things that annoy you if you want to make business with them. Don’t beat yourself up about some little thing they said, just because it doesn’t exactly match up with your opinion. Continue to smile.
2 Consider their feelings
Also, with women as with business partners, it is very important to consider the feelings they might have or the circumstances they’re in. A woman that has recently been dumped by her long-term boyfriend will probably be less enthusiastic about starting a new relationship right away. With business partners, you have to consider the financial circumstances. It is crucial to learn about your possible clients upfront and do a little research. Are they expanding because business is great? In this case you can jump right in and offer them your product, because they’ll be more likely to spend money when business is going well. Or have they maybe just lost an important client and are looking to save money in order to survive. In that case you can highlight the money-saving-part of your product, where they’ll get the same results for a lower price or less man-power.
In every case you have to consider the situation your business partner is in to know which path to take in your sales pitch.
3 Don’t brag
Imagine the following picture: you are on a date with a beautiful woman. You just finished a nice long walk in the park or around the lake and now decide to continue your conversation in a café. You talk about a lot of things, some personal and some just small talk. You remembered to be nice to her, ask her about herself and listen to her. Then she starts to ask questions about you. What do you do? What are your hobbies? And you just start to show off: “Oh me? I work in the biggest law firm in town. I have two secretaries who do just about anything for me. I am very successful in what I do. I have never lost a case and this year I earned a very big bonus for which I rewarded myself with a little toy.” At that moment you pull out your brand new Ferrari keys and five minutes later you wonder why you are having coffee alone.
Sounds bad? Yeah, but some men are just like that. And worse, some people try to acquire business partners like that. With bragging and talking big when in reality they are really kind of small.
In conclusion: don’t brag! Like your mother always told you: just be yourself. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. If you are just starting out and don’t have a lot of clients then don’t act like you do. Just present them your product or your service and tell them that you are at the start but really believe in your product and are convinced that it could really help your client. By telling them that, you show them that you are honest, you believe in your product and you are willing to work hard to make them believe in it too. Now they now, that when something goes wrong, something doesn’t work like it should it is not because you tried to scam them but because you are just starting out but willing to put in extra hours to make it right.
From time to time you might get a client with bragging, but that’s just a short relationship and will bring you a little money now, but not much reward later. With real honesty you can build up real relationships with your clients that will stand by you, even when things are not going 100% as planned. But it will be much more rewarding.
To get to that point where you can acquire clients in that way there has to be one very important prerequisite:
4 Believe in yourself
You absolutely have to believe in yourself! You have to believe in your product or your service. You have to believe that your clients can really benefit from doing business with you. To really believe in yourself you of course have to have a good product. You have you work on your product, you have to worry about it day and night and you have to stay up late to perfect your product. Because it you don’t believe in your product, no one else will. And if you don’t believe in your product, you can’t believe in yourself. Your product has to be your passion. If you try to just make a product and sell it just to get some money that might work short terms, but on the long run you will not be truly successful. If you are really passionate about what you do, you are willing to go the extra mile, to put in extra work, even if you have no guarantee to see benefits from that.
5 Measure by actions, not by words
People tend to talk. And they promise. Oh do they promise. They will promise you the greatest things. But how often do you find yourself not getting what you have been promised? Way too often. You cannot always believe what business partners promise you. If they tell you that they really like your product and how much of an improvement it would be to their business process that doesn’t mean that they are going to buy it. Even if they tell you they will. The only thing that counts is if you have their promise on paper (of course that’s not the exact way to go with women). When a business partner tells you that he really likes your product and he definitely wants to buy it then your respond should be: “Great! You just have to sign here and the deal is done.”
Another big thing is if a client doesn’t pay you for your service. You might send them a request for payment and they tell you that they will definitely pay their bill, but you don’t get their payment. You send another letter. They still don’t pay. You ask them about their payment and they promise you, they promise you really good, that they will pay, but a week after that they still don’t pay. They might excuse themselves because business is not going so well lately, but they have another big order coming and then they will definitely pay you.
Do not rely on what people tell you! Don’t measure your business partner by their words, but by their actions. They might tell you a hundred times that they will pay you, but until they do, you don’t treat them as customers but as debtors. They don’t get any more service from you, no matter what they say. You are worth your money and you deserve to be paid on time.
6 Be persistent
Don’t stop till you get enough. Like Michael Jackson sung, you have to be persistent. Do not stop trying to sell your product unless you get a definite “No!” from a possible customer. When they look for excuses not to buy your product right now, or that it is not exactly what they need, they are just not convinced yet. Look at it this way. Just by talking to you they show interest! If they wouldn’t have any interest whatsoever in your product, they wouldn’t be talking to you. Time is valuable. And the reasons they tell you, why they don’t what to purchase at this moment might not be true. They could just mean: “Okay, I see your product is good, but we need a thing that is just a little bit different.” Or “I really like your product, but I don’t want to pay the full price.”
Either way, you can manage to convince them, either by adding a little customization so that it fits them perfectly (for a higher price of course) or by offering them a special discount or the first month free or whatever your business model allows you to do. Just don’t give up easily!
And you can’t sign them on the first try, then thank them for their time, leave and call them a month or so later. Remember: by talking to you, they show interest. Just try it again a little while later. The circumstances might be right then.
7 Talk about personal stuff
By any means, do not cut to the chase right away. People want to be talked to; they want to be shown interest. They want to feel special and valuable to you in order to buy the product you are offering. When beginning a meeting don’t start with your sales pitch right away. Open with a little bit of small talk. Look around in their office, you almost always find something personal, something that shows what they are interested in. Just drop a comment about that and they will start to talk about their interest. People love to talk about themselves. Let them talk. Listen to them and show interest. For example there might be a little statue of a boat or a picture of the family or of the person himself showing them doing something they like. Build on that. A simple “Oh, you like bikes?” might turn around a customer who didn’t want to buy something from you. By showing interest he feels special and later obligated to do something for you, because you were nice to him.
If you have an interest in common, that’s perfect! Even if you just got a little story to tell, a little personal experience of your own on that topic they will be enchanted by you. And that sets the ground for a successful sell afterwards.
8 Don’t be afraid to close
If push comes to shove, you cannot be afraid to close a customer. If they are not fully sure whether or not to buy your product it can be a good move to just put a gun to their head (not literally of course) and force a decision. Tell them you have another promising meeting to which you can’t be late. It will show that other firms have an interest in you and therefor increase your value.
Or just confront them with a decision: “Okay, we talked a lot about my product. I can see that you are interested and it will benefit your firm in so many ways. Let’s cut the chase: Do we have a deal?” If they hesitate you can offer them a little discount to give them the last push or you can use another nice evil trickery: walk away. Of course you don’t want to just walk away and not have them as customers, but you want to show that you don’t need them as your customers. You are not dependent on them. You don’t need them. You have a lot of other customers and you cannot waste your time with someone who doesn’t buy. This exact same trick is used by many salesmen in all different branches. It forces a natural reaction from the customer to call you back and sign the contract. They don’t want you to go. They are, in fact interested (see point 6), they just need a little push. You were nice to them and maybe they just wanted to play games a little or negotiate. By pretending to walk away you force them to act. Most of the time they will agree to your conditions.