Have you ever read the book How to Win Friends and Influence People? Even if you’ve never read the book, you’ve likely heard about it.
In a nutshell, the book was written by Dale Carnegie and originally published in 1936. Since then the book has sold over 30 million copies, making it one of the best-selling books of all time. I’d highly recommend How to Win Friends and Influence People for anyone working in a customer-facing role, especially in sales, given the lessons the book imparts about interacting with people, in this case, your prospects.
When talking about the importance of getting to know your prospects, the themes from Dale Carnegie’s book, primarily the importance of listening and asking the right questions, come up repeatedly.
Along with some other helpful tips from the business world, let’s go through why it’s important to take the time to get to know your prospects.
Start with Market Research
Before you speak with a prospect, you should first consider who you are trying to attract. You would hate to get into a conversation with a lead, only to discover that they don’t have an interest or a need in your product/service.
A great place to start is by conducting market research. Market research is the process of gathering information to better understand your firm’s target market. With a target market (and prospect) in mind, outreach becomes more focused and intentional.
Market research can be performed internally by your team or you can hire an outside firm, like The Endurance Group, to gather the information for you. This article from HubSpot provides a great how-to guide if you need some help getting started with a market research.
Once you are armed with information about who your target audience is and their challenges, your team can create buyer personas to further focus your sales and marketing outreach, ensuring you are speaking to the correct individuals.
Qualify Your Leads
Now that you know who you should be talking to, it’s time to set up some meetings.
Using your market research and buyer personas for guidance, start reaching out to prospects who fit your ideal customer profile. Keep in mind that the goal of these initial conversations shouldn’t be to sell your product/service. The time should be spent getting to know your prospect.
At The Endurance Group, we take lead qualification to a new level with our tool, Commonality. Our AI-powered tool allows you to not only target prospects given their title, company, and pain points but also based on shared traits such as past education, work experience, or even hobbies and volunteer experience.
Knowing your customer’s background, interests, and hobbies in addition to the basic facts of their role and organization can provide a profitable advantage.
So before even engaging in a conversation, Commonality allows you to make an authentic connection with a prospect. Even if the prospect doesn’t appear to be a good fit for your product or service, by taking the time to get to know that person you’ve established a connection that could be beneficial in the future.
Remember, every connection, and person for that matter is important!
Listen & Ask the Right Questions
Let’s think back to Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. This is where the lessons from his book become especially critical.
How many times have you opened an email only to be met by a long-winded explanation of someone else’s company goals and product/service features? Countless times in my experience.
What these individuals get wrong is that they are making the conversation all about their wants and needs.
To truly understand your prospect and get them interested in what you have to offer, you first must take the time to get to authentically get to know them. The easiest way to do this is to listen to what they have to say, rather than preaching to them about what you have to offer. A market research starts with a good listener.
Seems simple, but many people get swept up in making the sale.
The next time you get on an introductory call or send a cold email to a prospect, frame everything in terms of the other person. How are things going for the prospect? What is keeping them from reaching their goals?
Remember: Always Think in Terms of Other People’s Points of View
If there is one piece of advice you take away from this article, it is that you should always be thinking in terms of your prospect’s point of view.
You’ve likely heard it a thousand times, but put yourself in your customer’s shoes and make every communication about them. Frame your product/service as something that can make them happier, more educated, or save them money, essentially anything that benefits them.
Henry Ford once said, “If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as your own”.
Prospects are people and getting to know them and appreciate them as individuals will pay dividends.
So if you’re looking for market research support or if you’d like more information on the prospects you share commonalities with, send us a message. We’d love to learn more about you!