How to Really Connect with Your Clients

I had a chance to meet eWomen Network founder Sandra Yancey a month or two ago when she spoke to the Palo Alto, CA chapter. She sat by me, eating her lunch. The program had already started, so we didn’t have a chance to say hello. Then right before it was time for her to speak, she asked me “Do I have anything in my teeth?” while showing me her teeth. I dutifully checked out her teeth and assured her they were beautiful. And that’s the topic of today’s article: being real.

When it comes to selling, your product or service is often secondary to the connection you can make with the prospect. The main thing clients want is to trust us.

The truth is, most people have a hard time evaluating the quality of what they are buying and what you are offering compared to another vendor. Unless they’re an expert, how would they know? So the main thing they can go on to make a good decision is how they like you. It’s what their gut is telling them.

Rather than try to look all polished, perfect, and expensive (which brings up alarm bells in our gut instinct), why not ask your client, “Do I have anything in my teeth?” You’ll do more to endear yourself to the person with a human foible than you will with a hundred Armani suits or a dozen pair of Christian Louboutin shoes.

Sandra Yancey started the most popular women’s business network, which now boasts half a million women business owners. She’s won all sorts of women’s advocacy awards and travels all around the world speaking to hundreds of thousands of people.

Yet she became just another “one of the girls” when she asked me about her teeth. The gesture that connects us the most is often just the opposite of what we try when we’re in a sales meeting with a prospect.

You’ll connect on a deeper level when you:

  1. Find a common bridge between you and your prospect. It could be a shared hobby, a pet preference (beagles or Maine coons), your kids are the same age, or you live in the same neighborhood.
  2. Stop being slick and start being more human. Express your credibility, of course – don’t get sloppy – but be human at the same time.
  3. Keep your relationship at the highest level of honesty and integrity. One example of this is to admit when you don’t know something.
  4. Can share with your client where you are coming from. Perhaps you have a similar past, or a great story that people can relate to.
  5. Can share a resource or favor with the prospect. Perhaps you know a good babysitter you can refer or you can offer a Chamber of Commerce introduction.

It’s about being real. I hope we don’t get into such a hurry that we forget to be real in our businesses and our lives.