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Training Tuesday: First Impressions

4 weeks ago 0

There are too many freight sales reps in the U.S. today to even come up with an accurate number. It is important for your prospect to know about your qualifications. Tell the prospect about yourself. No grandstanding or patting yourself on the back, just an informative look at your career and the customers you’ve helped. It lets the prospect know that they’re dealing with a professional.

If I know beforehand that the prospect knows little about my company, and nothing about me, I sometimes send over a short bio-sketch and a few magazine or newspaper articles that discuss the company or were written by me. I provide something tangible to the prospect that adds a new dimension to the relationship. Rather than simply sending them a brochure, I personalize it, and at the same time the articles express something about me and my philosophy on transportation.

In the transportation business there are two kinds of sales people: those who add value to the client’s traffic department, and those who seem to mishandle every shipment or transaction their company is involved in. Let the customer know early on that you fall into the first category.

Of course, when the moment of truth arrives, you’ll have to find the best way to make a good first impression. Take into consideration the particular dynamics of your prospect’s age, position, and gender in comparison with your own. Accommodate and welcome the differences.

Every prospect will react differently to what you have to say. Some prospects will give you all the time in the world, while others believe making time for a meeting threatens a crisis. Some are skeptical, while others are freethinkers who pride themselves on being open to new ideas. The point is you can’t win everyone over with a single script designed to handle the first few minutes.

Making a first impression requires a bit of work, but it is an essential part of the sales process and worth the effort.