While even the best salespeople doesn’t make every sale, Joanne Deck says there are a few sales techniques for singles that just might help the cause.
We’re always selling something—ideas, suggestions, invitations, apologies, even excuses. Single people are always selling, too. They ask others to accept them for a dance, a date, a one-night stand, a weekend away, an exclusive relationship and maybe eventually marriage. Many singles don’t see themselves as salespeople, so they fail to make “the sale.” As a single, you can be happier and more fulfilled once you learn and practice these sales techniques for singles.
1. A good salesperson begins by learning the prospect’s needs. You can do this by focusing on the other person and asking relevant questions. Make a point to listen, avoiding the tendency to talk too much. When savvy salespeople do speak, they stay aware of the other person’s attentiveness and reactions. Watch her body language to be sure she’s really interested in a ten-minute description of the last action movie you saw.
Don’t skip this step and start selling right away, as you may never find out what the other person needs. I remember the man I met at a mixer who, after two minutes of conversation, asked me if I wanted to leave and “go make out” with him. While he had no idea what my needs and interests were, he gave me a very clear sense of his. When you listen and learn what your potential partner’s priorities are, you can be much more effective in your actions. Is he giving a talk or hosting an event? If it’s open to the public, showing up not only indicates your interest, it demonstrates that you were listening close enough to get the details such as time and place. Is her family a priority? Offer to accompany her to her daughter’s play and bring flowers for the budding actress.
2. Knowing what the other person needs can help you move very effectively to the next step in the sales process: gaining the prospect’s confidence. Here your appearance, reputation and competence all come into play. Don’t underestimate the importance of appearance for both men and women—haircut, grooming, and clothes that fit, both your body and the situation. How you look will help you establish your reputation in the singles community. Word travels fast among singles, especially with social media. Capable, confident people are much more attractive than competitive showmen (or women).
Coincidently, a great way to build your prospect’s confidence in you is to project competence. This doesn’t mean creating an impression that you know it all or are good at everything. On the contrary, you’ll come across as more capable if you acknowledge what you don’t know. This can be a tough one for guys, some of whom feel they have to be better than their partners to be seen as competent. She is not interested in you for your bowling prowess, I promise. What makes a stronger impression than your winning at Trivial Pursuit is that you know how to get to her favorite restaurant and what hours they are open.
3. The third step in the selling process, selling a solution, is one step where many singles fall short. To do this well, you need to recognize what you have to offer. Don’t try to impress; rather express your authentic self. Each of us has strengths, talents, passions—things that will naturally draw others to us when they’re made aware of them. Simply recognize and express these attributes.
If you’ve done the first two steps well, you’ll be able to emphasize the strengths you have that align with your partner’s needs and priorities. Keep in mind that timing is critical, so don’t make your pitch too soon or when the prospect is unable to receive what you have to offer. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself more deeply into step four than necessary.
4. Successful sales people are effective at overcoming objections, the fourth sales technique. This is easier to do than it appears, if you’ve done the first three steps well. Keep your focus on the other’s needs and how you can meet them. Sometimes the objections aren’t made clear, and you can’t overcome objections until you know what they are.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and listen well. What if the objection is something that can’t be overcome? I know a man who was originally rebuffed for being “too old, too short and too white.” Undaunted, he was polite, tenacious and sincere. While he couldn’t change these qualities, he also recognized that they didn’t have to be deal breakers. He worked the steps of the sales process over and over until he finally overcame his intended’s objections. They’ve been happily married almost ten years.
5. Making the close is the final step. Good salespeople will tell you that making the sale depends on the strength of the close. The critical points for singles are to be clear, genuine and persistent. Singles often lack confidence and stumble around, afraid to be direct with their invitation. Sometimes singles don’t know how to handle situations and end up out of integrity. Don’t say you’ll call when you won’t.
Finally, be persistent (but appropriate). One note of caution: you need to pay attention for those times when it’s best to let it go. Even the best salespeople don’t make every sale. Identifying the objections will help you know if persistence is called for or if you really should move on.
Single people are salespeople—we all are. Identify someone you know who sells well, and do what they do to get that next relationship started.[image: via Flazingo Photos on flickr]