Entrepreneur Success Starts with Step 1 – Respect

Part 1 of 5 in the RAISE Sales System blog post series for entrepreneur success.

Are you an entrepreneur who struggles with sales? If so, you’re not alone. Entrepreneur success requires strong sales skills and this struggle is a common problem that many business owners have. Entrepreneurs wear a lot of different hats and for most, selling isn’t their strongest skillset.

Respect the prospect - entrepreneur success
Entrepreneur success requires RESEPCT, step 1 in the RAISE sales system

One of the secrets to entrepreneur success is knowing how to ask for and close the sale. In this 5 part blog series, I’m going to share my signature sales system, RAISE.  I created this 5-step strategy RAISE from my 25+ years of experience across multiple industries and teach it in workshops and when doing sales coaching with clients. This is the sales process entrepreneurs and sales professionals use for dramatically increasing sales.

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RAISE is the word that is spelled out by the first letter of each of the steps in the system. This post is about the first step and each post in this series will reveal subsequent steps in the RAISE system.

The R in RAISE is for respect and I love starting with respect because this is where a relationship building begins. This is where developing the know, like and trust factors starts, so you can advance to asking for the sale.

Entrepreneur success secret #1 is Respect

You can’t close the sale if you’re no longer in the conversation. Respecting the prospect will keep you in the conversation longer than asking for the sale before they are ready to buy.

First of all, respecting where the customer actually is, and not where you wish they were in the buying process is vital to entrepreneurs success. It’s super essential to be aware of where your prospect is where their heads at what they care about where they are in the sales or buying process.

Two Ears and One Mouth for a Reason

One example is at a networking event or a party. You have connected with somebody and they did most of talking, while you do a lot of listening. At the end of the conversation, they say, “You’re a great conversationalist!” And you think to yourself, “I said so very little and you did all the talking!” There’s a reason people say we have two ears and only one mouth for a reason:-)

Why is it that the person who did the listening is a great conversationalist? Because human beings love to feel heard. When we show consideration for people and actively listen to them, they FEEL respected and valued. Plus, we find out what is important to them and that knowledge fuels our own entrepreneur success. All of this goodness also allows us to build the know, like and trust factors.

Success Story Using Respect to Sell

Now I’ll share with you an example of how amazing the Respect step is for entrepreneurs to succeed. In the late 80s, I sold construction equipment in Florida, working for the only companies in the country that had female sales. I was calling on construction sites throughout Southwest Florida and I wasn’t always welcomed. One general contractor was using the old-style, less cost effective and more dangerous scaffolding on a project that was a prime candidate for using a boomlift. He wasn’t interested in hearing about a new technology solution from a woman who he perceived didn’t know anything about construction.

How I Cracked the Tough Prospect

If I was going to have any shot at selling this customer a boomlift, I knew I needed to get creative. I realized I needed to respect where he was, no where I wanted him to be.

Since I knew he felt competent as a general contractor, I asked him about the project. He was happy to talk about it. After listening, I offered to deliver the boomlift the next day at no charge to him. If at the end of the day, he found the equipment effective, he could keep it and pay only for the rental for the rest of the time he used it. If not, I’d pick it up and charge him nothing. No risk for him.

When I called this customer at the end of the day, he told me I could leave the boomlift.  I had the sale without ever asking for it. What is important to know, is that I respected where this customer this prospect was and stayed in the conversation. When building a relationship with a prospect, starting with respecting where they are and what they value is the best first step. R is for Respect and entrepreneur success depends upon it.

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Follow up is the gold – From cold to sold to convert leads to sales

6 step process for follow up after meeting a new contact
How to follow up after making new contact.

Nice to meet you, now what. The steps you need to take to turn those new contacts into gold.

Well done. You went out there and connected with some new people. Networking can feel daunting and you did it anyway! And, now what? What’s the secret to converting that new contact into a referral relationship or customer? Knowing what to say and how to say it without sounding cheesy can be a challenge too.

If you need to repeat it, automate it, as they say. So here’s the 6 step process I use and can recommend for you.

  1. Always send a quick thank you email or text the same day or the next day at the latest. This shows respect for the other person’s time by prioritizing a follow up to the conversation right away. It is more important to send this quickly, rather than for it to be a comprehensive or long email.
  2. Be yourself. Authenticity is always a good approach. To pretty much everything. Follow up emails are no different. Since people feel good when you listen to them, include something key you heard the contact you just met say. Use your own “voice” and keep it professional. That doesn’t mean uptight, just respectful.
  3. Make a positive observation about the person, company or project that this contact mentioned. Comment on how you can see this work achieving the goals or being successful. More good evidence of your effective listening skills and this creates the know, like and trust factors.
  4. Summarize the action items you agreed to do and include any you can in this email. If your follow up action requires more time or a separate email, outline how and when you will complete it.
  5. Thank your new contact for the action items they offered. Appreciation is always smart and it can be a helpful reminder to busy people who’s intentions are good and who’s schedules are full. They feel valued. More know like and trust development:-)
  6. Connect with your new contact on LinkedIn, Twitter and perhaps Facebook. You’re building your network and broadening that connection to social media channels is too important to miss. 

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Do you have suggestions for making the follow up after making a new connection even better? Bring it! I’d love to see it, so share your comments below.

Follow up is the gold – From cold to sold to convert sales

Convert cold leads to sold customers with this sales system. From cold to sold.
Convert cold leads to sold customers with this sales system.

Nice to meet you, now what. The steps you need to take to turn those new contacts into gold.

Well done. You went out there and connected with some new people. Networking can feel daunting and you did it anyway! And, now what? What’s the secret to converting that new contact into a referral relationship or customer?

Knowing what to say and how to say it without sounding cheesy can be a challenge too. If you need to repeat it, automate it, as they say. So here’s the 6 step process I use and can recommend for you.

    1. Always send a quick thank you email or text the same day or the next day at the latest. This shows respect for the other person’s time by prioritizing a follow up to the conversation right away. It is more important to send this quickly, rather than for it to be a comprehensive or long email

  1. Be yourself. Authenticity is always a good approach. To pretty much everything. Follow up emails are no different. Since people feel good when you listen to them, include something key you heard the contact you just met say. Use your own “voice” and keep it professional. That doesn’t mean uptight, just respectful.
  2. Make a positive observation about the person, company or project that this contact mentioned. Comment on how you can see this work achieving the goals or being successful. More good evidence of your effective listening skills and this creates the know, like and trust factors.
  3. Summarize the action items you agreed to do and include any you can in this email. If your follow up action requires more time or a separate email, outline how and when you will complete it.
  4. Thank your new contact for the action items they offered. Appreciation is always smart and it can be a helpful reminder to busy people who’s intentions are good and who’s schedules are full. They feel valued. More know like and trust development:-)
  5. Connect with your new contact on LinkedIn, Twitter and perhaps Facebook. You’re building your network and broadening that connection to social media channels is too important to miss. 

Get the 17 sales hacks to convert cold leads to profit, with this free e-Book, “From Cold to Sold”. Download now for free!

Do you have suggestions for making the follow up after making a new connection even better? Bring it! I’d love to see it, so share your comments below.

What my dog taught me about social media

What my dog taught me about social media marketing
What my dog taught me about social media marketing

Ever noticed how dogs behave so much better in an off leash park than on leash anywhere else? Social media is like an off leash park for humans. Free range to say what we want, whenever we want, to whomever we want. No leashes constricting us!

What is it about an off leash environment that makes dogs get along so well? Dogs adhere to an ancient and universal set of guidelines for interacting in off leash encounters. Dogs don’t discuss the guidelines ahead or time or sign waivers before they engage in off leash play. (Their humans might have to, but they don’t.) If people were to adhere to a commonly accepted set of guidelines for engaging with each other on social media, we could enjoy substantially reduced: hurt feelings from inflammatory statements, offending remarks, escalation and online bullying. It might even help us move closer to world peace. Certainly, the level of civility would improve. 🙂

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So what guidelines do dogs use that humans could adopt for more civil social media engagement?

  1. Enter social situations with respect. Healthy dogs approach a new social situation with submissive energy and body language. They don’t enter a free range social situation like an off leash dog park with aggressive or dominating behavior. People who demonstrate a healthy respect for others, rather than blasting social channels with bombastic posts gain the respect of others. As a result, they gain more followers and repel fewer.
  1. Get to know others first. How relieved are we that the polite way for humans to get to know each other does not emulate dogs?!? Butt sniffing would be SO embarrassing! Fortunately, finding out more about another person is as easy as asking them.
  1. Accept our differences. Alaskan Malamute, Dachshund, Lab or mutt, dogs take each other at canine face value. Different isn’t bad to dogs in a free range area; it’s good. Different smells, different sizes, different shapes, different everything. Except that the general guidelines for polite doggy behavior is the same and dogs who don’t go by those rules are shunned. Dogs have no reference for breedism. If people can learn to treat those with differing political views, religion or opinion with this same regard, the world would indeed be a more peaceful place.
  1. Invite others to play nicely. The adorable and universal body language for dogs who want to play is the same across all breeds. Front feet down, hind quarters and tail up and open relaxed face. No teeth baring or growling, no fur standing up on their backs. Dogs who want to play will engage with the pups who show they want to have fun. If a dog doesn’t respond to the invitation with the same playful body language, the other dog moves on to invite someone else.

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  1. No means no. When a dog is uninterested or is through playing, they adopt a “No thank you” stance. They look away or walk off. Persistently playful dogs (@mylabs) might attempt to engage this dog in play another time or two. But once they get the message, the pup will move on to someone else.

Seems to me, our best friends can provide us with an excellent example for how to treat each other in our own off leash areas – social media.