By Kate Ranta on Sep 22, 2015 9:00:00 AM
Closing sales requires engaging with clients in ways that are meaningful to them -- but what is the best way to do that?
It’s all about identifying what you and each client have in common, connecting on that level and being approachable. Entertaining your clients accomplishes all of that and more!
Entertaining lowers barriers
Let’s face it: there is a natural barrier that clients raise when they know a sales pitch is coming, especially from someone with whom they don't have a relationship with yet.
Additionally, maybe your client just had a difficult interaction with an employee or another salesperson. Or, maybe the client has personal stresses.
There are a whole list of challenges that may cause your client to raise a barrier on the day of your meeting, including:
- Limits and challenges with health insurance
- Employees needing handholding and a steady stream of questions
- The reality of piles of paperwork and deadlines
Everyone has her or his unique challenges on any given day. Entertaining your client is a great way to lower those barriers and connect or reconnect. Here’s why:
- It helps clients swing from a negative mood to a more positive one.
- It helps clients pivot from whatever else they are immersed in to a willingness to listen to your pitch.
- It reminds clients that you are interested in them on a personal level.
- It establishes a common connection of humor and rapport.
- It gives clients a much-needed break from routine.
Preparing to entertain
For entertainment to work as intended, it needs be appropriate to each client. It requires that you do some background research and learn what you can about each client.
Now it’s time to make that research time pay off. Ask yourself:
- Who is this client as a person? Where is this client in terms of career?
- Is this client family-oriented or a workaholic?
- What is this client’s favorite food? Music? Sport? Book? Movie?
The answers to those questions will help lead you to understand and develop ideas for the type of entertainment that this client might enjoy.
Creating your entertainment plan
Now you are ready to create your entertainment plan. Note that entertaining does not mean doing a stand-up routine or telling a string of jokes. In fact, those probably would have an effect opposite to the one you are looking for.
Here are two great ways to entertain your clients, tear down barriers and build up connections:
- Tell a (short) story. If this client loves animals, have a heartwarming animal story— perhaps a recent one from the news. If the client loves the arts, share an experience you’ve had that is relevant. The same goes for their favorite sport. You get the idea. Make a connection around a topic that is near and dear to this client’s heart. That goes a long way towards establishing a shared trust.
- Get the client out of the office. Take the client out for coffee or tea, lunch or even just a snack. Often, corporate employees feel chained to their desks. Getting them out, even just temporarily, shows them that you understand and want to support their need for a break.
Entertaining your clients does much more than open doors—it opens ears, too. You will discover that even simple entertainment goes a long way toward establishing that all-important connection between you and your clients. This, in turn, helps them trust that you have a way to help them— and their employees—with their insurance needs.