That One Time When Researching a Prospect Turned Into a Six-Figure Job

Posted by David Chism | Tue, Oct 2, 2018

While work­ing for my dad’s paint­ing com­pa­ny in San Diego (many, many years ago), I once received an esti­mate request from a prospect through our web­site, and noticed that he had an unusu­al first name. I also noticed that he sent the request through his Black­ber­ry, so I knew he was rea­son­ably tech-savvy.  So, I did what any curi­ous guy would do: I Googled him. And, it turned out he was the for­mer CEO of sev­er­al large, rec­og­niz­able companies. I arrived at his house and began doing my typ­i­cal esti­mate process: walk­ing around the home, lis­ten­ing, and ask­ing ques­tions. When I began the mea­sur­ing stage, I then decid­ed to draw on some of my research to start the bond­ing process.  I want­ed to con­nect with this man and his wife.  I began by stat­ing a few facts about his busi­ness suc­cess, and I’ll nev­er for­get the look on the his face. He respond­ed with some­thing like, Wow! How did you know I did all of that?”  His wife said, He prob­a­bly Googled you, honey!”  This jump-start­ed the con­ver­sa­tion like you wouldn’t believe! He began talk­ing about him­self and his busi­ness suc­cess­es, and I began to ask him ques­tions about our fam­i­ly busi­ness and pick his brain as well.

I walked out of that home with a nice-sized project that turned into close to $100,000 worth of busi­ness over the next few months! 

The entire con­ver­sa­tion and mood changed when the own­er start­ed talk­ing about him­self. I earned his trust because I was gen­uine­ly inter­est­ed in lis­ten­ing to him and hear­ing his story. Not every sto­ry has this kind of cool end­ing, and not every prospect is a For­tune 500 CEO either. Every­one does, how­ev­er, have a sto­ry, and most peo­ple want to share it and have some­one express inter­est in them. 

Do You Research Your Prospects?

My sto­ry above took place over 15 years ago; since then the Inter­net has become so much more pow­er­ful, and there are more tools at your dis­pos­al than ever before to research your prospects. There’s no need to dig too deep and scare them with inti­mate details, but know­ing just a lit­tle bit about them can make ALL the dif­fer­ence in estab­lish­ing a strong con­nec­tion that can turn into a fruit­ful rela­tion­ship. It might just be a game changer!

Bet­ter Tech­nol­o­gy Doesn’t Mean We’re Bet­ter At Con­nect­ing with People

connecting with prospects during sales We real­ly have no excuse not to know more about our prospects, so why is there often such a disconnect? Ready? Here it is. Many sales­peo­ple today are run­ning around just try­ing to keep up with the num­ber of leads they get each week, and they become order-tak­ers and not rela­tion­ship builders.  This may work in a strong econ­o­my, but a few years from now, order tak­ing just won’t have any val­ue or rel­e­vance. There’s no rela­tion­ship. If you want to be mem­o­rable, tak­en seri­ous­ly, and become a ser­vice provider FOR LIFE, you need to invest in your client and take a gen­uine inter­est in them. I have been busy enough these days that I’ve had to hire home improve­ment com­pa­nies to ser­vice my home. Being a mar­keter in this indus­try hon­est­ly makes it kind of fun to hire ser­vice providers and ana­lyze how they run their busi­ness, what they do well, and where they miss the mark.  Over­all, I’ve had most­ly pos­i­tive expe­ri­ences with the local com­pa­nies I’ve hired. Not one of them, how­ev­er, did any research on me, the buy­er. Not a sin­gle ser­vice tech­ni­cian, sales rep, or even the own­er him­self knew any­thing about me when we first met. Why is that impor­tant to me? Well, I real­ly have no rela­tion­ship with these com­pa­nies. They ful­filled their pur­pose: they showed up, did the work, and left, but I feel no con­nec­tion or loy­al­ty there. In fact, I bare­ly remem­ber who I hired! 

Give It a Shot for Your­self! You Have Noth­ing to Lose

So there you have it. I guar­an­tee you will close more jobs and main­tain sol­id rela­tion­ships with prospects-turned-cus­tomers if you research and under­stand some­thing inter­est­ing about the prospect before you even show up to his or her home or place of business.  What do YOU think? Do you agree? How do you prac­tice this or some­thing sim­i­lar now? P.S. If you’ve nev­er read the book by Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influ­ence Peo­ple, def­i­nite­ly put it on your short list.

About David Chism

David Chism started his business out of a passion for helping small contracting businesses grow, be more profitable and become better known to their target clients. One lifelong hobby of David is using techie gadgets. So this blog is a place where he writes about technology, marketing ideas, just for fun (humor), personal thoughts on small business and more.


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