by GSCA Member, Jackie Simmons

Have you heard of “Relationship Selling”?

When I first heard the words I cringed. Really? I’m going to form a relationship with someone just so I can sell them something?

It sounded awful and felt worse.

Of course that was my reaction to most sales processes and possibly why my business struggled to generate consistent income.

Then I realized that I had gotten confused. I had confused manipulation for sales and I had lost track of why I was in business in the first place.

This is part of a series on the pieces of the sales puzzle that I had to find a way to connect into a cohesive whole before I could trust myself to invest in relationships without needing anything from them in return.

So here’s Chapter One of “Jackie’s Non-Salesy Sales Guide: Starting a Relationship”:

The four steps in this chapter help you connect with someone you are meeting for the first time or you don’t know very well yet. The four steps are: Engage, Invite, Enroll, and Inspire.

1. Engage. Make eye contact, say hello, exchange names. It’s the most natural conversation in the world. We’ve been doing it our whole lives. In entrepreneurialism, it’s almost become a lost art. If you’ve ever accepted a connection request only to receive an immediate offer to buy a service or product that you don’t need, you get what I’m saying. Let’s start again with fresh intentions to make connections without an agenda and see how that naturally leads into step two.

2. Invite. But to what? Invite to a conversation where they can talk about themselves. It could be as simple as saying: “I’m curious about what you do. Would you have a few minutes for us to chat and I can ask a few questions?” This is NOT an invitation for them to pitch you or for you to pitch them. It’s simply and invitation to learn more about them. Breaking the get-to-know-you phase into a few smaller interactions has been shown to build stronger connections than to have one long interaction.

3. Enroll. In the conversation, enroll yourself to stay present and curious. Enroll them to share the what and why of what they do and the dream of where they saw it taking them. What were their dreams and goals when they started in their field, what are they now? What occurred along the way? Enrolling them in their own dreams by asking them to tell you more in each phase of the conversation is a great service to them. It helps them see themselves in the center of their own lives and careers, possibly for the first time in a while.

4. Inspire. Reflect back their words, vision, and dreams. The more they share the more inspired they will become. If what you do can help them get their goals faster and easier, simply state that. “If you want help with that, I’m happy to have a conversation about how what I do might help.”

Let’s face it, you are in the business of making a difference and if you’re like most entrepreneurs, not enough others know that you can help them.

It’s a simple fix with a non-salesy approach.

Stay tuned for the next chapter and if you want an easy way to remember these four steps try singing them.

Engage, Invite, Enroll, Inspire,
Others need to know.

Engage, Invite, Enroll, Inspire,
This is how we grow,

. . . with an E. I. E. I. O.

Let me know if you want help with the tune . . .