One of the toughest avenues of business is getting the customers. Why? It is because our whole economy has become so competitive. When you open a business, there is a very high chance that there are already 20 others or more just like it in your city.

How to set yourself apart when building a relationship

Things You Will Need

I work in an construction service industry in Vancouver, BC. This just happens to be one of the most vital areas for companies to start up and work from the back of their trucks - in this industry. Because there is so much work available at various times durng the year it has become apparent that in order to stand out you will need to market yourself.

Your business could have one of the greatest business plans every written, good investment, intelligent and respectful employees but that means nothing if you can't get that prospect to pick up their phone and call you. Marketing and sales takes a certain individual - not everyone is born to sell their product or service.

With these few tips that I write - please take them with a grain of salt. You may take this advice and gain something from it or you could just completely disregard it. I do not guarantee that you will have any more customers flying through those doors. All I can offer you is my wisdom and what I have learned from experiences.

Cold Calls - does this really work?

I will be blunt - NO, I do not care what anyone else says. If you are trying to sell something then it would be best to build a relationship. In some degree you are cold calling when you are asking for an interview or coffee, but you are not asking for the sale.

Take telemarketers for example - they call you, 5 seconds later the phone hangs up. Our knowledge evolves as the decades roll forward. One of the reasons you don't receive many actual people calling you anymore, is, that the law of average is not high enough to process anymore. 5-10 years ago you may have received a sale maybe every 50 calls. Where as now it could be thousands because so many people are aware of these situations.

When you phone someone to ask for a meeting, it could take upto 10 times or more to actually have them come around. Don't expect to make best friends with them right of the bat. Business and sales are all about persistence.

Never, ever, ever ask for a sale over the phone unless you have personaly contacted them face to face. What happens when you do this? they go into defensive mode and right away want end the conversation.

When you have an interview with a potential client, just be aware 95% of the conversation will be about learning everything you can about that individual. This includes interests, kids, sports, goals, etc... No one wants to sit at a restaurant and talk about business for an hour. Get them interested in you because you seem to be interested in asking questions. When you ask a personal question to anyone, it breaks the ice, makes the situation feel more comfortable.

5% of your meeting may only be speaking about business, but actually make a point to ask for the sale. "Mr. Jones would you be interested in giving our services a try" not so vague, but you get what I mean. If would astonish you to know how many people go into these meeting and don't ask for their business.

When you ask for the sale and you both go your seperate ways make sure to stay in contact with them. It could be that he plans on giving you work in the future but dosen't have anything for months on end. At which point he would probably have forgotten about you and you're proposal. Keep ontop of the contacts that give you their time of day because they will turn out to be the most rewarding.

Some of my closet friends have come because I built a relationship from the ground up. No it was not easy but I made sure that they had the first seats to the Vancouver Canucks games.


Tips & Warnings

- Try not to stutter when you are making calls to prospects. Count the amount of times you say "ahhh", or "umm" during a conversation. Be confident about your service and product and remember not to oversell yourself.