Rock Robinson sat down with Steve King of People At Your Service for a round table discussion about how to more genuinely connect with people, the new challenges facing sales teams, and the importance of meeting prep. As an accomplished salesman with 30+ years of experience, Rock leads his field in being able to distill complex business problems down to bite sized solutions that lead to tremendous growth for his clients.
The Fab 5
Rock’s ability to connect with his clients stems from the utilization of his self-developed “Fab 5”. These 5 simple questions help you to open the door and build a foundation between you and others, which you then use to grow trust and a stronger working relationship by asking genuine questions phrased in such a way that invites others to share what is important to them. This provides numerous opportunities for you to find common ground which further strengthen the relationship you are building. And remember, the most important thing you can do is differentiate yourself from everyone else by being sincere.
1) Where are you from?
This is a very soft question that never offends but has the ability to resonate with your client on a personal level. If you are able to, follow up with a personal experience of your own from that city. Maybe you visited there once, know someone from there, or even heard of something famous from that city.
You never should start off by asking someone about their husband/wife. They may not be married and now they are on the defensive. Or, even worse, they could be going through a messy divorce or have lost someone close to them and now you are bringing negativity into the conversation and you aren’t connecting at all. By sticking to “Family” you are opening the entire scope of the meaning of the word. “Family” can mean anything under the sun. They could hear “Family” and start talking about their dog. “You have a dog? I do too!”
Right off the bat, when I said “school” what did you think? High school? College? Trade school? When asking about someone’s schooling always start off vague. If you went to college, good for you. Never assume the person you are talking to did as well. When you lead off with simply asking “School?” you can get all different types of answers and that allows for a more dynamic and interesting conversation.
4) Tell me about your “Work Journey”
Every generation is different than the last but as we have seen recently, the newest generation is becoming exceedingly diverse in their work experience. The median tenure for employees 65 and over is an average 10.3 years, whereas those between 25 to 34 is a mere 3.2 years. Be careful here as you don’t want to come across as if you are asking for their résumé, but are rather asking them about the ups and downs of their career and being genuinely interested in their journey.
5) What is your Passion?
When you leave the office and your family and friends aren’t occupying your time, what is it that drives you? What fuels your creativity or gives you peace? Maybe for some their passion is their business but for others you are going to uncover a plethora of topics to discuss. Getting others to talk about something they love is an easy way to open the dialogue and who knows, you might even have something in common.
Does a virtual world mean less connection? Fewer sales?
About 60% of the companies that were surveyed recently said they still don’t want to see their clients face-to-face, or that there really isn’t a need for them to. It is true that their revenue is down but their margins are up! These companies have cut so many costs by going virtual that they are more profitable than they were before COVID. Less revenue, but wider margins. Taken together, that all means that virtual isn’t going to go away. The most important thing you can do in these virtual days is to show up and turn your camera on. When you show up as a ghost on the screen it’s easy to assume you are multitasking and not paying close attention, because you probably are. It is going to be more important than ever before for salespeople to embrace the digital. How do you do that? You can start by embedding videos in your emails. This doesn’t have to be anything overly produced or something you spend hours and days perfecting, start off by making a 30, 60, or 90 second video for your client. There are plenty of free or low cost systems out there to help you do this. And again, differentiate yourself from the competition by being sincere.
Meeting Prep: Purpose, Process, and Payoff
Whether you are meeting face-to-face or virtually, meetings are still pretty much the same and meeting prep is as vital as ever. When you go into a meeting remember your three P’s: Purpose, Process, and Payoff.
You never want to be that person in the meeting room who doesn’t fully understand why you are there. Even if you get roped into a meeting at the last minute it is better to take a second and ask someone from your team what the purpose of the meeting is.
You need to ensure you have a process and procedure for how the meeting is going to run. This includes knowing your schedule so you can inform everyone at the beginning of the meeting you have a hard stop at the end of the scheduled time. Doing so will help keep the meeting on time and ensure you cover all the topics needing to be discussed.
What are you wanting to accomplish by the end of the meeting? It’s okay to be upfront and ask, “what are your expectations for this meeting?” This gives you a goal, a target to shoot for during the meeting, and it shows the client you value their time.
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