Marketing Center

Establishing solid relationships with prospects

Learn how to make the most of a first interaction with curious prospects and begin transforming them into long-term customers.

Published: March 06, 2013
Updated: July 19, 2017

Existing customers are the foundation of a profitable business, but a steady stream of new customers is the lifeblood that keeps a business growing.

Here are a few tips for making a great first impression on prospects — and keep coming back for more.

Focus on meeting needs

When communicating with prospects, the key is to match your products and services with their needs. To get a better sense of what their challenges are, ask a lot of open-ended questions and listen to their responses. This can help you learn the prospects' pain points, along with their wants and desires.

Next, explain how your products and/or services can take away their pain, or give them what they desire. During this process, try to avoid leading with price, as this assumes price is the only reason a prospect would buy from you. It's true that price is important, but until the prospect is convinced that their needs or wants can be met, the dollar amount is irrelevant.

Establish trust

Getting your prospects to trust you is an essential part of the sales process. To gain your prospects' trust, start by being honest and respectful of their time, their internal decision-making processes and politics, and their need to become comfortable with you and your company.

Always strive to live up to the expectations you set in the initial meeting by keeping promises and commitments. After all, if you don't follow up before the sales process, the prospect may question your ability to follow up after they've bought in.

Plan for the next step

The sales process doesn’t end after the first interaction – it often takes up to seven touch points to close a sale. As soon as you complete an initial interaction, plan how you’ll follow up: maybe through newsletters, social media, or even a personalized phone call.

Interactions should be low-pressure and purely informational. But people choose to do business with people they enjoy working with, so develop a rapport with your prospective client. Ask questions, make small talk about sports and current events, look for shared hobbies — all of these actions can help make your prospect more comfortable with you.