Sara Murray, Chief Executive Officer of Sara Murray, Inc.
Nominated by: Lisa Earle McLeod
Sara Murray is an advisor, consultant, and speaker working with leaders and sales teams to unlock the untapped potential in their business development efforts. As the host of the “Prospecting on Purpose” podcast, Sara provides a valuable platform for discussions on prospecting, sales, business strategies, and mindset.
Connect with Sara on LinkedIn, follow her on Twitter and Instagram, subscribe to her YouTube channel, or visit her website to learn more about her work. You may also want to join them on Nov. 3 @ 12 EST for Prospecting on Purpose LIVE! A free virtual event for B2B sellers and entrepreneurs. Register at: connect.saramurray.com/pop
One of the most impactful ways to increase confidence in your prospecting and business development efforts is to be secure in your ability to quickly build relationships, which is the most valuable aspect of any business exchange. Failing to adopt a partnership approach creates a gap between the buyer and the seller.
To quickly establish relationships with your prospects before soliciting their business, follow the three-step Bridge the GAP framework below.
1. Genuine Interest: Focus more on being interested as opposed to interesting.
Listen actively! Especially when a prospect tells you their name. Be present during your discussion as opposed to planning your introduction or vetting the person in your head to see if they’re worth your time for a conversation. Doing so shuts out opportunities for both genuine connections and business prospects.
Use Icebreakers! Something as simple as, “Where are you based?” “Do you have any fun weekend plans?” “How’s your home office set up?” “What do you think of digital vs. printed business cards?” Asking easy questions will help you establish points of connection and shared interest. Then, actively listening to the answers drives your relationship to the next step:
2. Authentic Relationship Building: True connection only happens when authenticity is present.
Be Cool! That doesn’t mean sporting great fashion or having 20K+ LinkedIn followers. Being a “cool” sales professional is composed of two things: First, show up as your authentic self. If you show up as your authentic self (professional but real), you give your prospects permission to be their authentic selves. Second, be someone who leaves people feeling energized versus drained. When we do our first step of expressing “Genuine Interest,” being someone who energizes happens naturally! We all know that people like to do business with people they like. Being cool makes it easy to be likable.
ABAC! Embody this acronym of ABAC: Always Be Adding Value. If you approach ANY conversation or meeting with the mindset of, “How can I add value to the other person?” You will show up focused on service and giving versus taking. The goal here is to consistently add value to every interaction. You’re filling the emotional bank account of your prospect, client, or colleague. This is important whether or not we’re expecting to “get” anything in exchange for our efforts. Authenticity is critical here. Once we have enough deposits in our prospect’s bank account, we can approach the final step.
3. Prized Clients / Prized Relationships: Be confident in your ask!
Once you’ve built an initial base of trust and understanding, it’s easy to get to “The Ask.” Asking your prospects for a meeting, a presentation request, a warm intro, and so on becomes significantly easier and more organic if you’ve taken the time to focus on these first two steps. Business becomes more seamless with a collaborative relationship and propels you forward with a strong foundation throughout the rest of the sales process.
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