Which comes first, the sale or the connection?

Which comes first, the sale or the connection?

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at gitomer.me.

Which comes first, the sale or the connection?

Before you can make a sale, you have to make a connection. Some people call it a lead or a prospect. I don’t. Connection is a powerful word and a powerful sales advantage.

If you make the right connection, the sale is easier. Or maybe I should say less difficult.

Here are 3.5 ways to connect:

1. TRADE SHOWS and ANNUAL CONVENTIONS host a bevy of qualified leads — all in a buying mood. Everyone of significance in your industry is there. Your customers, your prospective customers, your vendors, and, yes, even your competition. You have an opportunity to connect with hundreds, maybe even thousands of people in your industry.

Two strategic keys to a successful trade show are — key one — the appointments you are able to set up before the show takes place and establishing your key objectives before you arrive, so that you know why you’re there and what you’re seeking to accomplish. And key two is having a prominent position, or a leadership position, at the event. For the most part, this means speaking at the convention. Or at the very least leading a workshop. It is way more powerful to have someone walk by your exhibit booth, spot you, and say, “Nice speech,” than it is for someone to walk by your booth and you jumping out in the aisle trying to solicit business.

WARNING: Trade shows are not a party. They’re not three days away from the husband or the wife to go out and live it up with your coworkers, or even your customers.

A trade show is PRIME TIME.

Prime selling time.

Prime prospecting time.

Prime relationship building time.

And prime connecting time.

Have a detailed game plan.

Start early.

Stay late.

Stay sober.

And when you go home, celebrate the victory with those you love.

2. SPEAKING connotes leadership. When you’re in front of the room, it implies that you are an expert, a leader, and a communicator. You’re making multiple connections. Think about the opportunity to connect with that many people at once. You may never know them, but they will all know you. And respect you.

The more people you speak to, the more connections you have a possibility of making, IF you give a compelling speech.

The secret of speaking is the same as the secret of selling: ENGAGEMENT. And you can’t just give a speech. You have to give a damn good speech.

3. WRITING connotes expertise and creates the opportunity for a mental connection. When’s the last time you wrote an article that would appear in something your customers or prospects would read? For most of you, that question has an answer of never. But if I asked you, “How many of you watch reality TV?” It would probably be all of you. So my next question has to be, “Will watching reality TV double your sales?”

While you’re watching TV, I’m writing. Writing separates you from your competitors who don’t write. Your article will be saved, and passed on to others. Your brochure will be thrown away, along with your competitors’.

By writing an article that appears in a trade magazine, or in your local business journal, your connections and your customers will respect you, and your competition will hate you. If your ideas are creative, if your ideas are innovative, it will make the reader WANT to connect with you. In writing, that’s known as “the power of the pen.”

But let me bring writing down to something you can do tomorrow:

3.5 Creating your own electronic magazine, your own E-ZINE. Collect all your customer’s email addresses, collect all of your prospective customer’s email addresses. Enter them into an email program. Create an idea, pass on a tip, put in your article, maybe throw in a testimonial or two – and hit the send button. How much easier can I make it then that? You’re reaching out to make a connection, you’re reaching out to keep a connection, and if your email magazine is good enough, you can get the recipient to forward your message to even more connections.

The connection ideas that I am giving you are ones that I have put into practice and am taking advantage of myself. Nothing complex, just simple ideas that I add creativity to – and hard work.

If you want to sell more, you have to connect more. It’s just that simple – but it’s NOT just that easy. And most salespeople are not willing to do the hard work it takes to make connections. REWARD: If you do, it makes selling easy.

Want more information on building your own e-zine? Go to www.gitomer.com, register if you are a first-time user, and enter the word E-ZINE in the GitBit box.