I was recently at an event that gave companies like ours the opportunity to engage with potential clients within a forum setting; suppliers are present to provide information on their product or service and the delegates choose which product or service is relevant to their business… a bit like speed dating for business.
Prior to the day of the event, your business details are circulated to the registered delegates and vice versa. You make your choice and on the day of the event and you have a number of meetings that have been mutually agreed by both parties.
As a salesperson first and foremost, I find that an important tool in my armory is my ears; I must listen to what my potential client is telling me, this is also true for a negotiator. In both cases, if you choose to talk about yourself and what you want before understanding what the others’ needs are, then the opportunity could be closed before it's begun. I would go as far as to say this is part of the preparation we talk about when teaching negotiation skills. The information gathered lays the groundwork, an opportunity to build on the Foundations of the conversations that follow.
From this point on it’s all about the rhythm between the two parties, when you understand the needs and wants of your client, you can discuss options and give them various scenarios that provide a solution to their issue. There can be many hurdles to overcome when doing business, it could be timing, budget, location, or even resource but when we have listened and understood the requirements and make a proposal, it will be received knowing that we started off by listening to what they wanted, we won’t look like a fool only interested in our own needs and back to square one, waiting to talk to someone!
Take heed from a classic lyric by the Cascades, Listen to the rhythm of the falling rain. Telling me just what a fool I've been. I wish that it would go and let me cry in vain. And let me be alone again!!