One of the biggest problems that I see in selling both high-tech and low-tech products and services is the prospecting strategies utilized by today’s sales teams. You see, more often than not, these teams completely ignore the first sale.

The first sale is the sale that is required to get a prospect to invest time and attention with you and your company. If you try to present

Photo credit:  renjith krishnan,

Photo credit: renjith krishnan,

the second sales (i.e., your product or service) during the first contact, you’re skipping this crucial first sale step.

So, let’s take a step back and understand what we’re asking a prospect to do, when we ask them to meet with us face to face and/or over the phone. Remember, you’re essentially asking them to invest time. In today’s hectic, uncertain and precarious environment, time is something that we can ill afford to waste. That goes for you and your clients. Therefore, I’m sure they view their time as being precious.

When we ask our clients for time, attention and/or a commitment of interest, recognize that you’re asking them to make a very large investment in you, your ideas, products and services. But, in the case of the first sale, the investment is not money-related; it’s time- and focus-related.

So, let’s answer a few quick questions about your first sale.

  • When a prospect agrees to meet with you, what do they get?
  • Are you giving them something of benefit or value?
  • Are you showing them a way to improve their business’ operating conditions?

If not, your offer to meet will be viewed by the prospect as an offer to take time, attention and interest away from them.

Remember, if you’re trying to start a new relationship, and indeed you are when you’re prospecting, you must give something before you take something.

I liken it to opening up a bank account. There is no bank in the world that will allow you to withdraw money prior to opening an account and making a deposit. So, what deposits are making in the relationship account that you are trying to open with your customer?

If you’re not willing or capable of making a deposit that makes sense from their point of view, they will in all likelihood reject your offer.

Spend some time and identify the benefits, from the prospect’s point of view, of agreeing to the first sale. Once you’ve done that, make sure all of your messaging (verbal and/or written) emphasizes and reemphasizes the value that a prospect will derive, when they agree to your offer for the first sale.

When you view prospecting as a first sale and a second sale process, I think you’ll agree things will come into focus much more readily.

The second sale is where and when you start talking about your product or service’s value propositions, the problems you solve, and how you’ll work with a client.

If you’re having problems with your first sale, click this link to take a quick 47-minute refresher on how to successfully execute your first sale and meet with your prospects.

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