(By Bob McCurdy) One of the definitions of the word “receptive” is “being willing or inclined to receive suggestions, offers, etc., with favor.”
A receptive, actively engaged client, not one who passively indulges, is considerably more likely to act upon your guidance, counsel, and direction. So what contributes to client or prospect “receptivity”?
Timing surely plays a role as does the manner in which you communicate, but ultimately it’s the individual who’s doing the communicating that determines whether what’s being said is embraced or simply ignored.
Receptivity must be earned and there are a number of ways you can go about deserving it, but the first thing to understand is that that it is dynamic and not static. Just because a client was previously receptive to you and your recommendations, doesn’t mean they will continue to be so. Client receptivity is in a constant state of flux, brought about by ever-changing business circumstances and competitive activity.
What follows are a few ways to earn and retain high client receptivity:
– Look the part. Never underestimate the importance of first impressions. Always portray a professional aura in both dress and demeanor. Dress a level up.
– Prepare for every client interaction. The proper prep demonstrates that you recognize their time is valuable. Preparation is a little like heaven in that everyone wants to get there but no one wants to pay the price of admission. Same with preparation. Everyone wants to succeed but few want to prepare to succeed. Clients “thin-slice” and can determine within the first few seconds whether you or what you’re saying will be will be worth their time. Never wing it.
– Professionally and concisely present what you came to present. A little “PDRing” goes a long way (Practice-Drill-Rehearse).
– Demonstrate compelling professional expertise. Studying should not end when you graduate college. It is critical to know what you don’t know, then go know it.
– Bring value with every interaction. Clients don’t need another friend. They need sound, professional, marketing advice. Leaving your clients smarter and better positioned for success after every interaction enhances receptivity.
– Stay visible when you are not “visible.” Value-based email communication enables you to accomplish this. Teaching, coaching, guiding when you are not face-to-face will separate you from the pack.
– Client testimonials. An incredibly under-utilized tool. Have others toot your own horn. This assures them that they are not dealing with a marketing lightweight.
– Demonstrate that you took the time to learn about their business and look for opportunities to communicate that point. To increase receptivity, they must know that you know.
– Take meticulous notes and record them in some form that they are readily accessible for future use.
– Ask the right questions. Write them down beforehand. The meeting/discussion will only be as productive as the questions you ask. Make it quickly apparent via your line of questioning that you seek first to understand, before recommending.
– Communicate via your actions and words that their success is your primary concern. This can’t be faked. Ultimately, your client’s success is your own.
– Ideas. Keep coming back with different thoughts, opportunities, and concepts to move their business forward.
Receptivity to your professional guidance, counsel, and direction, and your own success, will grow in direct proportion to how you adhere to the principles discussed above. It’s what separates the good salesperson from the special salesperson. Choose to be special.
Bob McCurdy is Vice President of Sales for the Beasley Media Group and can be reached at [email protected]