Sales Moves

The big secrets of enthusiastic emotional engagement

June 17, 2016
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What is engagement? Better stated, how can you engage other people to become interested in you and your product or service?

Dale Carnegie (“How to Win Friends and Influence People”) says the answer is by becoming interested in them. And he’s partially right.

The reality — and the secret of engagement — is that both people must be mutually engaged and interested, and both people must be intellectually stimulated and emotionally connected.

Otherwise, it’s just a conversation that will be forgotten, unless the salesperson is taking notes. #notlikely.

What is the secret ingredient of engagement?

The key to deepening a sales conversation, or any conversation for that matter, is to connect emotionally. Favorite sports teams, kids, college experiences — all create emotion when spoken about and when the feelings and/or situations are mutual.

So, the secret ingredient of engagement is emotion.

Emotion is a key link to rapport, relaxation and response. Emotion makes conversations deeper and more open. The desire to talk and reveal becomes more intense. It pushes you to trade stories and discover similarities.

To help you get the picture of why engagement and emotional engagement are so important, and how to start the process, here are two examples and scenarios:

1. Find the link! What do you have in common with your prospect? Finding it will build rapport and lead you to a sale faster than anything.

Contrary to popular belief, “customer types” don’t matter. That’s right: Take your “amiable,” “driven,” “tightwad” analytic types and toss them in the trash. My favorite type of customer is one who has a wallet with a credit card in it. Oh wait, that’s everybody.

Here’s the challenge: If you spend 30 minutes trying to figure out what type of person you’re dealing with, and then all of a sudden discover you both like model trains, or your kids both play soccer in the same league, or you both went to the same college or grew up in the same town or like the same sports teams, you will most likely make the sale no matter what type of person he or she is.

Having personal things “in common” can lead to a friendship, a relationship and lots of sales.

2. Find the memory! If you can find one thing about the other person and do something creative and memorable about it, you can earn the appointment, build friendship, create smiles and make a sale.

I was courting a big client in Milwaukee. I found out the guy liked chocolate and was a Green Bay Packers fan. The next day I sent him a Packers hat full of chocolate-covered footballs. The next day I was hired.

Coincidence or luck? I have no idea. I just continue to do the same type of thing as often as I can, and I continue to make sales.

I was courting a big client in Seattle and found out the guy liked baseball. I sent him a Louisville Slugger baseball bat with his name engraved on it. Needless to say, I hit a home run (sorry for that).

Insight: To establish the ultimate long-term relationship and to be memorable in the service you perform, you need personal information about your prospect or customer — information that provides you with insight, understanding and possible links. (And, oh yes, lots of sales.)

The difference between making one sale and building a long-term relationship lies in your ability to get this information.

Bigger insight: The more information you have, the better (and easier) it is to establish rapport, follow up and have something to say, build the relationship, and gain enough comfort to make the first sale — and with consistent follow-through, many more.

Biggest insight: If given a choice, people will buy from those they can relate to. People they like. People they trust. This stems from having things in common.

If you have the right information and use it to be memorable, you have a decided advantage. Or you can decide, “It’s too much work. I can make the sale without it.”

This philosophy gives the advantage to someone else — your competitor.

Editor’s note: This column originally appeared in the May 26, 2015, Grand Rapids Business Journal.

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