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The Importance of Acknowledging Prospects

Oct 9, 2007
This morning I received one of those calls that I hardly look forward to getting. You probably have had calls just like this:

Hello Mrs. Stanley, this is ABC carpet cleaning company, and we're currently in your area cleaning carpets for other homeowners, and we'd like to offer you a free cleaning for any room in your house of a 10X10 area. We also clean couches, chairs and throw rugs. We'd like to come in and give you a free estimate for all the carpet areas in your home as well as any couches or chairs that you'd also like to be cleaned. We're going to be right in your neighborhood this Wednesday. Does two o'clock work with your schedule?

Did you cringe just reading that? When I get a call like that I can't tell if I'm listening to a recording or a real person. I probably don't need to mention that I'm not fond of conversations with recordings, which is why I often choose to hang up the phone instead of giving a sales representative like that more time.

Don't get me wrong. It's not a script that I mind so terribly as a script that doesn't include the one thing that makes a prospect feel important - questions! Hey before you waste your breath talking about carpet cleaning, wouldn't it make sense to discover if your prospect has any carpet?

Asking your prospect a question or two makes your prospect feel acknowledged. Acknowledgment is something that all humans desire, and many are starved for it. What would happen in your business if you implemented some ways to better acknowledge your prospects and customers?

A number of years ago it occurred to me that I gave away all kinds of recognition to the women on my sales team, but I had never given any kind of special recognition to my customers. Just before Mother's Day, I sent out each customer in my database a lovely but inexpensive bracelet and a really clever letter that expressed how grateful I was to have her as a customer. I remember the bracelets costing less than $3 a piece, but by my customers' reactions, it was like I bought them the moon. In the end, it wasn't the gift that mattered. And there was even something greater than the thought - it was the recognition, the acknowledgment that touched them so deeply.

All people desire recognition, even those who tell you they don't. Keep that concept close at hand as you build your sales business. Then remember that one of the best ways to acknowledge prospects and customers is to ask them questions. In addition to making them feel acknowledged, you afford yourself the opportunity to better respond to their needs.

This reminds me of the little boy who asked his mom where he came from. The mom then went into a detailed explanation about how babies are born. After she was done, her son said, "Oh, 'cuz my friend Johnny comes from Texas, and I was wondering where I came from." I hope that made you laugh. Now consider how laughable it is that we assume what our prospects, our customers, and our recruits need or want without even investigating the situation with a few questions.

What are some questions you could ask your prospects that might narrow down whether or not they're prospects worth spending time with or not? What are some questions you could ask your customers that might improve your sales presentation or customer service?
About the Author
Author and Professional Speaker, Tammy Stanley directs The Sales Refinery, a sales training firm that assists independent sales professionals generate more business through powerful marketing, selling and leadership strategies. Click here to get your FREE report, 3 Simple Secrets to Attracting More Business "
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