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To Connect and Engage, Look Beyond

The building looked old and dilapidated, so naturally, I assumed they didn’t have any money and wouldn’t be a viable prospect. The new seller, ignoring my assessment, called on the business and got a $75,000 annual contract. Wow, was I wrong. Sadly, we make judgments all the time based on what we see, often without further inspection or discovery. Just this week, a friend shared this sad story about a retail seller making such judgments:

I am Puerto Rican and went to a Catholic grammar school, raised in a completely Hasidic neighborhood. My parents’ closest friends were first-gen Italians and one of my uncles was a chef from Shanghai who spoke broken English. I saw the value of diversity, equity and inclusion at a very young age. I lived it.

I found a pair of pumps that I liked, approached a female salesperson and asked to try them on, Then I found two others, and sought out my salesperson to get them. I picked up the shoes, walked up to the register, purchased them and much to the salesperson’s surprise, I bought all three. Then I said, “You didn’t expect me to buy anything, did you? And the salesperson said that they didn’t. I replied, “Never assume anything by looking at a person.”

The salesperson did everything a seller in any business should never do. There wasn’t any service, communication, follow-up or attempt to close the deal. It was a poor business decision. The salesperson didn’t try to connect with me, value me as a consumer and made an assumption and lost my trust. So why is this important from a business standpoint? This was just my one shopping story, but now multiply this by the millions of Hispanics, Blacks, Asians, etc. and the billions of dollars they represent. Any business needs to try to connect, engage with all consumers and never assume you don’t appeal to them. ”

Unpacking these two stories, we arrive at three valuable prospecting lessons: Never assume appearance dictates the quality or determines if a prospect is qualified.

People must be respected, valued and validated to be comfortable enough to buy.Without trust, you will not make the sale.

With limited time, we all must make judgments about the types of businesses and business people we should be calling on. RAB has plenty of research tools to help you in this decision-making process. The next time you think a business or a business person isn’t qualified to do business with you, ensure that it’s not how it/they look that is influencing your decision. Engage, and go beyond appearance and you might find your next best client.

Jeff Schmidt is the SVP of Professional Development. You can reach him at Jeff.Schmidt@RAB.com. You can also connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Source: Jeff Schmidt, RAB