“Respect is a two-way street, if you want to get it, you’ve got to give it.” - R.G. Risch
Aside from lowering prices, releasing better products, or providing superior service, there's something else that your salespeople can do to improve sales performance. A sales professionals livelihood depends largely on the levels of trust and credibility they build with prospects and clients.
The more respect you command, the higher close ratio you will have. Additionally, the higher the degree of trust you establish, the less the need to negotiate. Getting that first appointment with a new business prospect is difficult because most sellers don't take the time to establish trust and create value in the mind of the prospect.
If you want to be treated as a professional, someone who is trustworthy, and worth an investment of time, do these four easy things and prove it to your prospects and clients.
4 Ways to Earn Respect From Prospects
1. Be On Time
When you're late, it sends the message that you don't value the other person’s time. It can seem like you’re telling them that they have nothing better to do than wait for you to show up. Take the old-time advice—on time is late. Show that you value not only their time but also them. This helps build mutual respect—you respect them and their time, they respect you.
2. Bring An Agenda
Write down, or even better, type an agenda and share with your prospect or client. Open the meeting by reviewing the agenda and what will be discussed. This shows that you've spent time thinking about what needs to be accomplished in the meeting, and again, respects their time.
After reviewing, ask if there is anything they would like to add. Sending the agenda ahead of the meeting is also a great communication tool to use with a client to be transparent about what’s being discussed, showing respect to them and their time. It helps them to prepare their thoughts or documents related to the meeting as well.
3. Be Prepared
If you're going to have an agenda, you better back it up. Be prepared to discuss each one of the items and have the appropriate materials at your fingertips if needed. Showing up to a meeting unprepared shows disorder or laziness, which is something no one desires to work with. Preparing your conversation and the documents necessary to support the meeting shows you're organized and not only value their time, but you value your work, and the services or products you are selling.
4. Ask Questions
If you're unclear about something that's being said, say you're unclear and ask more questions. If your client or prospect thinks you understand, only to have you come back later and say you don't, that’s time wasted for them and doesn’t paint you in a good light. A good salesperson needs to truly understand the needs and pain points to cater a strategic solution for a client or prospect. You can’t get there without asking questions, and they understand this.
Many salespeople already value these things, but do you make it a priority in your business life and daily practice to do them? These four things can not only set you apart from your competition, but they can help you earn the respect and trust you deserve and need to grow and develop meaningful business relationships.
Editor's Note: This blog was originally published in March 2018 and has since been updated.