This is a guest post by Sean Smith of Powerofmore.net.
Recently I took a trip to visit a close friend. The purpose of my trip was not necessarily for business, but some how I always manage to meet someone during my conversations and interactions with others who wants to do business with me. After meeting probably the tenth person during my travels who was interested in my services, it donned on me that the questions I typically ask during my conversations with others whom I’m meeting for the first time create an infections environment where they become excited about what I have to offer them. This realization is my inspiration for todays blog post.
Here is the philosophy behind my (mad scientist) methods, muuahahaha!!!
Seriously, the idea behind these methods is nothing new. It is all about becoming a social person and learning how to simply network with and communicate with others. Running an Internet business isn’t strictly done online. Remember, you are still dealing with people and your website is simply a tool to convey your message to them. Learn to meet and greet others, and make a valid effort to meet someone new every day, whether online or off. Get to know them, ask them questions and be a good listener. This can be done most effectively over the Internet, as well as in the real-world.
Everywhere I go, online or not, I always make it a point to talk to at least 10 new people a day. During my conversations with them, I ask certain questions that allow me to better understand who they are and what they’re all about. These questions will not only help you gain a better understanding of who you are talking too, but also allows you to effectively build a strong relationship with them, which ultimately leads to trust. And trust eventually leads to a sale! I’ll discuss these questions in a little bit.
It’s a Conversation
To do this right, you must learn to have conversations with others. I never engage in any interaction with others with the intention to gain new business or to sell them something. I’m genuinely interested in what they have to say. If any business comes out of the conversation, then it is the result of my gaining their trust and nothing more.
As the conversation progresses, the other person will inevitably become more curious about you and ask you to share what you do for a living. And man do I love it when people ask me what I do for a living. Partly because I’m very passionate about it, and partly because I know that almost everyone wants to know more about how to make money online! On the internet, they may ask you directly, or more than likely, they’ll visit your website to get all the dirty details.
Have a Genuine Interest
Having a genuine interest in what the other person is tell you is a must! Listen to them, hear what they are saying. On the Internet, or in any business for that matter, this allows you to clearly identify what your target audience wants and how you can fill that need. Simply trying to sell your products or services to them without listening to what your audience wants is a sure way to set yourself up for dismal sales and potential failure. Know and respect your audience, and they will take you far!
An Example Illustrated
Asking the right questions will open up the conversation for further discussion and allow you to identify whether or not you can provide a solution to the other person, or audience’s problem.
For example, while traveling on a plane to my recent destination, I met an ink salesman. I had asked the salesman, what he did and how he got started in his business, which is how I learned he was an ink salesman. I was able to quickly establish a rapport with the salesman after asking 4 simple questions about what he did for a living. What’s even better, is because I had established a rapport with him, he in turn asked me what I did for a living. I quickly answered:
“I own an internet marketing and online business development consulting business where I help individuals and small to mid-sized businesses create a strong internet presence allowing them to succeed online.”
The conversation progressed which led me to expand upon my business further at his request. This was important to him, because he immediately realized I could help him expand his sales operations online where he could gain greater reach and increased exposure, thus allowing him to sell more product. He even asked me if I could teach his entire sales organization how to better utilize the internet to increase brand awareness and sales, thus resulting in the sale of a $10,000 consulting services package for me and an ongoing business relationship with his company.
What’s crazy is, I ONLY ASKED HIM FOUR SIMPLE QUESTIONS!!!
Questions, Questions, Questions
The questions I ask are simple and nothing new. Really the key to a successful sale is in starting the conversation and treating it like a conversation rather than a sale. So what are the questions I typically ask when having a conversation with others? Well, I’m glad you asked! See, your getting the hang of this already!
I always ask these questions when meeting new people whether in the real-world or through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or any other social networking or internet based community I’m hanging out in.
- What do you do for a living?
- How long have you been doing that?
- Do you enjoy it?
- How did you get started?
On the Internet, you could also pose a more direct approach to the questions through your marketing efforts such as landing pages and email campaigns. Here are some examples as they relate to my business:
- Are you struggling to monetize your blog?
- How long are you going settle for dismal sales and lack of income?
- Are you enjoying that much sought after success online?
- Did the hope of success online not work out for you?
The point is, to ask questions that are primarily open ended and not simply yes or no questions. This allows for expansion of the conversation into other areas enabling you to build the rapport and trust needed to ultimately make a sale. Getting other people to talk about their passions, family or what they do for a living will go a long way to opening up the conversation and will eventually lead to some sort of mutual relationship that may make you money!
Set yourself a goal to meet 10 new people a day, whether online or offline. And always remember, it’s just a conversation!
Sean Smith is that crazy guy over at Powerofmore.net who shares a ridiculous amount of knowledge and expertise about the hottest internet marketing & social media trends of today and tomorrow. And yes, he believes that Johnny B. Truant invented post-it notes!