Have you ever noticed how some of the best sales relationships happen organically? There is something so satisfying and exciting about developing a new client when you weren’t even looking!
My friend Lucas owns his own consulting company. He found he really needed to hire a freelancer to do some work on his website. While calling an applicant’s reference at a large hospital, Lucas practiced a critical key to sales: Always look for opportunities.
He asked the necessary questions to get to know his future employee from the reference, but he also got to know the reference. He was talking with the marketing director at the hospital. Lucas had a great deal of experience in health care. So, in the course of the conversation, Lucas mentioned why he needed to hire a freelancer, emphasizing the success of his own consulting services. As the conversation progressed, Lucas shared that he had worked with several hospitals in the past.
This grabbed the director’s attention. The conversation progressed from there. Lucas took the time to understand the current marketing and communication needs the hospital was facing. He saw the opportunity for a casual sales moment and said, “Oh, with some of my other health care clients, they really struggle with X, Y and Z. I totally understand what you are wanting to achieve.” He mentioned briefly what he could offer the hospital then left his number with him.
Guess what? He ended up with a great freelancer and a new client!
This is what I refer to as “Hey, by the way” sales. It happens when sales come up naturally, often sprouting from a genuine conversation with a completely different focus.
Lucas did it well. “Hey, by the way, I have worked with companies like yours before and I could definitely help you with that…” He created a win-win scenario that started from an unrelated topic.
Start looking for “hey, by the way,” sales opportunities all around you. So often these don’t even happen at work. You might find your next big client at the gym or the grocery store!
Here are a few tips to make the “hey, by the way…” technique work for you.
Ask questions. Be interested when a potential client is talking. When your friend’s husband mentions that he doesn’t know how to market his new product, ask him about it. Before you start pushing your marketing skills, find out his vision, his goals and the details of his business. Care about him before you care about making a sale. Once you show you care, he will feel far more comfortable working with you.
Give examples. Show your expertise by offering specific strategies that can benefit your new client. Try to not just leave it at, “Oh, I’m a realtor, I could sell your house.” Instead, reference the current market or a home you have sold in the same area. Develop credibility.
Don’t force it. People detect a lack of sincerity immediately. Allow “by the way” sales to happen naturally. Let the mention of your business be smooth. Keep it in the context of normal conversation.
Keep listening. Concentrate on the other person! You can’t conveniently drop that you can meet their needs if you aren’t paying attention to what those needs are. The best way to use “Hey, by the way” is when you are acutely aware of what they are looking for.
Opportunities for “Hey, by the way” sales can bring natural, easy sales relationships your way. It’s all about really listening and taking note of win-win situations when you are communicating with others. Make the most of these moments!