The average salesman will strike out 9 times out of 10. Dating, although commonly practiced, is most often a waste of time. Why are both these skills difficult to master? These activities take patience and trust from all parties to be successfully completed. People fail to realize that sales and dating have many overlapping principles. Before you create a mutually beneficial relationship with a new client, or “potential partner,” go over these 7 practices to ensure smooth sailing.

Let’s take a look at some of the similarities between the selling and dating processes:

1. Prospecting – Make sure you are setting objectives for your interactions, and qualifications for your leads. Planning out what you’d like to accomplish at the first meeting will only help you in the long run. This is the first step to all sales and dating. Setting objectives will help define your target market, concentrate your efforts, and qualify potential partners. Going for someone outside your comfort zone is a waste of time and money. Nobody has time for that! I frequently find “warm leads” to be the most successful. My friends know what type of person I am and what I’m looking for in a potential partner. Spend time developing quality prospects to enhance your chances of closing each deal.

2. The Approach – Everyone knows that first impressions last a lifetime. Always dress to impress for the first interaction with a potential partner or client. Firm handshakes, eye contact, smiling, and positive body language are all necessities for a successful first impression. This is the first time a potential client will see you, so make sure you are memorable. There are 7 billion people that all blend in; be the one that sticks out!

3. Building Rapport – Gaining trust is the first bridge you’ll cross when looking to create relationships. Finding similar interests can break down invisible barriers, and allow 2 people to connect on a higher level. Failure to find common ground will result in reserved sentiments and mixed vibes. A great starting point is a common connection. If you don’t have a mutual friend, do some research and find out things they’re interested in. The internet is your greatest resource; use it and make building rapport a breeze.

4. Uncovering Needs – This is the turning point in any date or sales presentation. Make sure you’re asking questions to truly understand what your potential partner is looking for. During needs discovery, listening more and talking less pays off. Knowing which leading questions to ask, and when to ask them can enable you to steer the conversation. Remember that everyone you meet has different needs, and no two prospects are identical. There are plenty of “window shoppers” out there. The right questions will easily uncover intentions, and allow you to adjust accordingly.

5. The Pitch – This is the process of matching your company, your products, or yourself to the needs of the potential partner. A great pitch takes an artist who can paint a detailed picture with words. This picture has to show the buyers current

situation, and how their lives will be different with that product. Some people never get past this step, as they’re simply pushing product and not listening to the customer. This is your insurance or auto salesman, as well as your typical frat boy or high school jock. Make sure your pitch is touching on the problems you identified while uncovering needs. Know that your competitive advantage is what makes you different from the competition. If you are tractable and modify your pitch, you’ll meet the prospects needs and be more likely to close the deal.

6. Overcoming Objections – Life wouldn’t be fun if it was easy. Most people will be on edge at this point in the process. Make sure you know potential questions your prospect may ask. Premeditating these questions will help you overcome them with confidence. You may teeter between overcoming objections and closing many times.If you use trial closes throughout, objections will be few and far between. Don’t be too pushy, as doing so could permanently end a potential relationship.

7. The Close – This is by far the most important part of the process. Most sales calls or dates never move further because there’s no ASK. If you’ve made it this far, YOU HAVE TO ASK FOR THE SALE! Many men have lost sleep over not asking for the date, or going for the kiss. Realize you have nothing to lose! The time it takes to get from prospecting to closing will greatly determine the individuals’ customer lifetime value. Someone that comes home with you on the first night typically isn’t there for the long run. On the other hand, a prospect you’ve communicated with often will be more likely to stick around longer. Ask yourself what you’re looking for out of this relationship. If you’re looking for a “quickie” or “shot in the dark” you can take a chance. If a long-term relationship is something of interest, think about how you can completely gain trust before closing the deal.

The morning after can be extremely bittersweet. One party may think “why did I buy this” while the other party is saying “thank god I sold this” (most frequently the girl and guy respectively). Make sure you follow up with ALL future partners to secure a relationship moving forward. Failure to do so will ensure a short customer lifetime value. In sales (and dating), it’s not about how many people buy once, it’s about how many of them come back for more.

There are many differences between selling and dating. This piece was meant to emphasize the similarities ONLY. Think this was too edgy for LinkedIn? What other correlations do you see between the 2 processes? In what ways are dating and selling completely different? Let me know in the comments below!

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