The historic image of a good salesman was a Slick Sid character who could schmooze and manipulate himself to a quick sale and then dance into the sunset before the hapless buyer realised he’d been had.

Thankfully, Sid’s days were numbered even before the toxic-debt bubble burst across traders’ screens. Now, with evidence of returning fortunes in the economy…

  1. House prices up 1.6% in August (Nationwide)
  2. A rise in vacancies for the first time in 17 months (The KPMG and REC Report on Jobs – 9 Sept)
  3. The FTSE 100 starting to tickle 5000 points again

…it is more important than ever that people are not lured back into re-employing Sid’s methods. It is going to be tempting to make-up lost time and speed along – like the impatient motorway driver who’s been delayed by a pile-up.

But it’s time to be a drip

As money starts to return to our economy, buyers will be cannier and you will need to earn their trust. Have you proven by drip-feeding them value, advice and knowledge that you are in this for the long-run?

As I’ve learnt to my frustration this summer, tomatoes won’t flourish if you only give them a couple of soakings. They need to be drip-fed. Prospective clients are no different. Like rich food and alcohol – the mantra is little and often.

What does this mean?

In the sector where I focus my advice on selling, Professional Services, this means deciding which prospective clients deserve your investment and then helping them in any way you can. This holds true for any service industry.

Keep front-of-mind by displaying your commitment to a company, its industry and the type of problems they want solved and you can earn buyers’ trust. There is a whole raft of ways you can show your dedication to a client. Here are 5 of my favourites to give you a flavour:

  1. Help them with introductions to potential clients.
  2. Send them articles which they may find useful or interesting. Better still write the article yourself. Like this one it does not need to be long, clever or beautiful – just useful.
  3. Offer to play a part in one of their internal meetings.
  4. Give them free samples. Even if you are selling services, buyers can still sample you through things such as an offer to review a report, help with interviewing or advice when planning.
  5. Pick up the phone or buy them a coffee – keep in touch with personality. Don’t assume that your marketing machine can replace the chance to have a bit of human contact

This all takes time but it is time well spent. You may need help. If you are not sure where to start give me a call and I’ll help you for free.

I’m a total drip and proud of it.

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