On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your skill at turning total strangers into satisfied customers, what score would you give yourself?
Here is a success truth: If you want your business to become successful and sustain that success, you need paying customers. Where do you find new customers? Some of your future customers will be people you already know and some will be referrals from friends and family. Realistically though, many new customers will be people who are strangers – people you haven’t met yet.
I went on a short get away recently and met some fascinating women while I was checking in at the airport, registering at the hotel and waiting to be seated for dinner. In the short time we talked, I discovered where they lived, how long they had been married, what they planned to do on their vacation and more. Here’s what I realized: People love to talk about themselves. When you ask the right questions and listen sincerely to the answers, you can build a trusting relationship in a matter of minutes.
If you’re an entrepreneur who is serious about building a successful income producing business, it’s time to become comfortable turning strangers into customers. Here a few practical tips:
1. Get out and meet people. Facebook and other social media venues are wonderful, but nothing beats face-to-face contact for building trusting and loyal relationships. Volunteer with an organization you admire, go to a workshop or conference where you’ll meet like-minded people or, join a formal networking group. The key is to begin feeling comfortable with meeting people and building relationships.
2. Start a conversation. A great way to begin a conversation is to ask a question or give a sincere compliment. Questions and compliments can easily open a dialogue without much effort. Most people will want to talk with you, but some won’t and that’s alright too. Use your instincts to know when to keep the conversation going and when to end it.
3. Have them tell you about themselves. Honestly, don’t we all enjoy talking about ourselves? Encourage the other person to talk about herself and she’ll think you are the best conversationalist she’s ever met.
4. Ask questions. I’ve learned that asking questions can be powerful conversation starters. Where are you from? How long have you been a member of this organization? Ask friendly open-ended questions that will begin the lines of communication.
5. Build a relationship. You develop a trusting relationship by sharing some information about yourself too. The key is to remember to share “some” information and not everything at one time. Listen to what the other person is telling you about herself and then fit in bits and pieces about yourself into the conversation. Quickly building trusting relationships is a skill, but with practice this skill becomes easier and easier.
6. Stay in touch. If you choose to make this person a customer, stay in touch and follow up. If you’ve built a trusting relationship during your initial conversation, they will give you their contact information. Remember, it could take weeks or even months to have her become a customer – be patient and be consistent with staying in touch.
7. Provide great customer care. Once they do become your customer treat them like gold. Provide them with the best customer service and don’t take your relationship for granted.
Challenge for the coming week: Who will you meet this coming week and how will they become your loyal customer?
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I’m Sharon Michaels and I teach you how to do business successfully. http://SharonMichaels.com
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