Why you should approach sales like dating

We recently analysed our revenue based on the lead source (i.e. where did the lead originate from). This is a really important exercise for any organisation as it helps to understand what does and doesn’t work and ensures you’re spending money on the right sales & marketing activities.

Roobix is a B2B organisation, providing services in a specific geographic area (Perth, Melbourne and Brisbane, Australia). These are our statistics:

  • 42% Direct Sales
  • 33% Referrals
  • 11% Direct Mail Campaigns
  • 7% Search/Website
  • 5% Source Unknown
  • 2% Social Media

We quite often hear comments like “I don’t want to meet with people who aren’t ready to buy” or “I won’t waste my time meeting with people who don’t understand the value of my service”.

We can’t afford to have this attitude in sales. Our statistics show that approximately 60% of revenue did not come from people/companies who were warm leads. Those sales resulted from cold calls following up on a campaign or having coffees with contacts. The importance of building your contact database and relationships is paramount.

At Roobix, we believe that a successful approach to sales and dating are very similar:

1. You need to be in the game

You won’t find the love of your life sitting on the couch. Listening to potential clients and understanding their businesses is your number one priority. A meeting might not lead to an opportunity directly but, if nothing else, the chance to speak to the market allows you to refine your offering and deliver a more relevant service.

2. Narrow the field

Like dating, sales is a numbers game. Nevertheless we use techniques to narrow the field. If you’re dating you have criteria i.e. stable job, handsome, lives in your area. In sales and marketing, this means profiling a target audience by demographic i.e. more than 20 employees, established for 5 years, in Brisbane.

3. Don’t start at second base

Nothing is scarier than someone who talks about marriage or love on the first date, so why would you jump straight into the sale in the first meeting. The initial meeting is all about LISTENING. Take the time to understand their business and don’t suggest solutions before you really understand their needs.

4. Show your best qualities and be honest

The best relationships are built on a foundation of truth while putting your best foot forward if you see potential in someone. As a sales person it’s your responsibility to build rapport and trust while at the same time outlining the capacity and capability that your firm can provide (i.e. not over selling).

5. Set realistic expectations and focus on outcomes

When a date is successful, you’ll be looking for opportunities to meet again. Although we might have expectations walking into a date, it’s the actual date itself that will define the outcome. For example, if the guy you meet spends the evening talking about his dislike of children and you’ve always dreamt of having children, it’s unlikely you’ll be looking forward to a second date.

We believe the outcome (or objective) of every meeting is to find another reason to meet or to contact the client. If you have listened carefully and identified needs you will be able to provide value. It is important to do so even if it’s not going to generate revenue directly because of the principle of reciprocity.

Of course there are still some meetings where there isn’t a direct action or outcome. However there may well be in the future. Be honest and polite. Acknowledging that at this point in time there isn’t a need for your product/services is perfectly ok.

6. Don’t underestimate anyone

Sometimes a date is unsuccessful and you can’t wait to get out of the room. Do you send him/her a quick text to say thanks but no thanks?

Being polite and honest goes a long way. Nobody deserves to be neglected or forgotten and the same goes for prospects that didn’t have potential. What we believe at Roobix is that everyone, knows someone that needs our services. They just need to know what we do, trust we do it well and like us enough to tell someone else about us. In our experience some of our least ‘enthusiastic’ initial client meetings have delivered us our most wonderful & profitable clients.