A Tiger’s Approach to Capturing a Client’s Attention1 Jun, 2006 By: Marvin Himel imageSource
A Tiger’s Approach to Capturing a Client’s Attention
Many of us can remember
countless television advertisements where our attention was captured so that we
completely forgot that the company was trying to sell us something. As we
watched Michael Jordan powerfully dunk the basketball while small children sang
"I want to be like Mike," we forgot for a moment that Nike was trying to sell us
a pair of shoes. Wouldn’t it be great if, on every sales call, you could find a
way to effectively capture your prospect’s attention so that they, too, forgot
you were there to sell them something and began to consider you a partner, not a
Psychologists tell us of a premise called psychological reciprocity. This
basically means that people respond in a preconditioned manner to the way they
are treated. If you walk into a meeting with an angry prospect and you treat
them with kindness, they will eventually react to the manner in which they are
treated. Kill them with kindness is not just a saying.
Using psychological reciprocity will help to influence a prospect’s reaction to
you by treating them in a positive manner when you walk through their door. You
must learn how to effectively capture a prospect’s attention within the first
two minutes in order to get the prospect to the point that they are willing to
listen to what you have to say. Understanding human behavior is the foundation
for all successful salespeople.
To effectively capture a prospect’s attention in the first two minutes, you need
to have a number of tools in your bag. Not having enough tools is like trying to
play golf with only one club. Tiger Woods, as great a golfer as he is, could not
win a major tournament if he only had one club. Can you imagine Tiger teeing off
with a putter? It just wouldn’t work. He may still beat you or me, but I don’t
think he would be much competition for Vijay Singh.
We are conditioned from a very early not to believe salespeople. It is these
years of preconditioned beliefs about salespeople that make every call a
challenge. Unfortunately, there are many pushy salespeople out there who have
given the word "salesperson" a very bad name. The first way to overcome this is
to use a magician’s favorite tool: distraction. If you can get the prospect to
think of something other than the fact that they don’t want you there, you have
accomplished a lot. Using these TIGER tools on a sales call will help break the
walls of resistance and get the prospect to a point where they are at least
willing to listen to what you have to say.
T ake a Gift
G ive a compliment
Remember, you will need to Capture their Attention every time you meet with
them, not just the first time you meet with them. As you build rapport, the
resistance won’t be as high and you may only need to utilize one of the TIGER
tools, but you never know what may have happened since you last met with them.
You need to use these tools on every appointment to make sure they are not in a
mode of resistance or your meeting will be a waste of time.
TAKE A GIFT
It is almost impossible to not like someone who is giving you a gift. Sometimes
the smaller and less expensive gifts are the best. Even government workers can
accept a small bag of M & M’s without the risk of getting into trouble. It is
better to be thought of as the man or woman who brought M & M’s than as the
salesperson who is trying to sell something. Obviously, the level of gift
depends on where you are with the prospect. If it is a first time meeting,
something small and simple is best. If it is a follow up appointment and a lot
of rapport has been established between you and the prospect, you may want to
take a gift showing your knowledge of the prospect like a "World’s Greatest
Grandpa" mug or a small box of golf balls.
In today’s technology age, it is easy to gain access to valuable information on
almost any subject and for almost any company in a matter of seconds. It only
takes a few minutes of a salesperson’s time to go to the Internet prior to
meeting with a prospect and find information on the company you are calling on.
A quick search on Google or Dogpile will usually give you the company’s website
or any recent articles written about them. For example, Company X just won a
customer service award. Print that article out and take it with you on your
sales call. "I was doing some research on your company and came across this
article about your company’s customer award. Congratulations!"
With this in mind, investing fifteen minutes in research before an appointment
can be the most valuable fifteen-minute investment you can make.
Finding information that would be valuable or helpful to a prospect but is
totally unrelated to your company or product is also an excellent TIGER tool. If
you are meeting with the CEO of a lumber company and you come across an article
on the top ten ways that lumber companies are improving their production, print
it out and take it with you.
GIVE A SINCERE COMPLIMENT
It is hard to think negatively of a person who is paying you a sincere
compliment. The absolute rule here is you must mean what you say. If you are in
an ugly office, do not compliment someone on the beautiful decor.
People have a built in
indicator that tells them when you are flattering them versus giving them a
sincere compliment. Often, the best compliment you can give someone is about the
receptionist that greets you when you walk in. If she is pleasant and helpful
make sure to tell the person you are meeting with about her. Just make sure it
Whatever industry you are in, there are sales tools you can take out on a call
with you: A picture of the property if you are selling real estate, or a copy of
a brilliant ad if you are selling advertising. The only rule is that it needs to
be a tangible item that the prospect can touch and feel. Your goal at this point
is to get the prospect to think about what you’ve brought instead of the fact
that he doesn’t like you because you are a salesperson.
A great example of an exhibit as a document technology salesperson is to take an
ordinary white notebook with a plastic sleeve on the front for inserting a title
page. Go to the Internet and find the web page of your prospect. Download their
logo and prepare an attractive cover page with their name and logo on it. Make
sure their name is in at least 36-point type. One thing everybody loves to see
is his or her name in print. Inside, you can put all of the information you
found about their company. This also sets you apart from the other salespeople
who have not done any research or homework on the company they are meeting with.
Everybody loves to feel important. Other than giving a sincere compliment, one
of the best ways to make someone feel special is to reference someone important
who knows about them. "One of the reasons I came by today is because Mayor Clark
suggested I give you a call." Once again, truth is the foundation. If Mayor
Clark has never heard of you, don’t use that referral. You could also say
something like "Mr. Smith from ABC Company spoke very highly of you and your
Another great way to use referrals is to give the prospect a copy of a
prestigious referral letter on the first call. Most salespeople think that you
should only present references when they are asked for. The reality is that the
best time to present references is before you are asked for them. If you are new
to a sales organization then you can either use reference letters for the
company itself or a reference letter talking about you as an individual, not as
an employee of the company. Many times prospects are very impressed with
personal referrals. With time, using referrals and the other TIGER tools will
become very natural for you.
Action or Reaction?
For one brief moment I would like for you to consider the physiological reason
why CAPTURING THEIR ATTENTION is so important. When you walk through the door
for an appointment, the prospect has reverted to what is known as the fight or
flight mentality. In the fight or flight mentality, the prospect's blood has
moved from the head and gone to the outer extremities such as the arms and legs.
This is to help prepare the prospect to either run or stay and defend himself;
thus, the fight or flight response. In this state, the prospect can’t hear you
when you talk. Imagine talking to a deaf person who can’t read lips. It is kind
of hard to convince them you have the greatest product in the world if they
can’t hear you.
This is what you are dealing with when you are initially dealing with a
prospect. I have been out on hundreds of appointments where the salesperson was
selling away, extolling the virtues of their product, and the prospect literally
could not hear them. The more the salesperson would talk the more stressed the
prospect would become. The greater the fight or flight response, the greater the
chance the salesperson would soon be ejected from their office. The moral to
this story is: do not attempt to sell a prospect if you have not captured their
The most important thing every salesperson must assume on every sales call is
that the prospect is going to be in a mode of resistance. Making sure to have
the proper tools to overcome this resistance will help you tremendously. Keep in
mind, if you don’t have the right clubs in your bag you will never be a great
Remember the two minute rule:
80 percent of prospects decide in the first two minutes if they are going to be
willing to buy from you or not. The first two minutes of your meeting will
determine whether the prospect is willing to move forward in the sales process
or whether they are just going through the motions. Make sure the first two
minutes are used effectively and you will greatly increase your odds of success.