Remember playing “I Spy” when you were a kid?
Before the “tablet age,” this was a classic parenting tactic to keep children entertained during a long car ride or a grown-up meal in public. My parents would challenge me to find things everywhere we went (like a Where’s Waldo book, but with cooler, non-disclosed objects in real life). As simple as the game was, I’m convinced it trained me to seek, observe, remember, and think about the smallest details from a very young age.
Think about what you look at.
Flash forward 15 years to any restaurant or any airplane, and everyone is staring at their phone trying to exist in two places at once, barely living in the moment. Ignoring EVERYONE. Observing NOTHING.
Ever take time from your busy schedule and rush to a dinner reservation to enjoy time with friends, only to have your head buried in a screen? I’m guilty of this too, but WHY do we all do this?! FOMO? Are we all so busy that small sentences have to become acronyms? (Hey! Look up, I’m talking to you!)
When you live in the moment, you notice your friend’s hidden engagement ring, or the choice of art hanging on the wall, or the song playing in the background. I am a confessed, total tech geek, but knowing when to put the phone down has helped me connect to life—both personally and professionally.
During a sales call, the hard-to-find details in the room can often be the secret passageways that lead to an order. What do you look at and what do you look for when you’re in a conference room or someone’s office? Are you so busy “pitching and showing slides” that you forget to look around? Are you staring at your phone in anticipation of the next e-mail or text? No! This is the precise time to be in the moment, look up, and put your “I Spy” skills to work:
Look around your client’s office, but not just at trophies and family photos.
Is there a wrapper of their favorite candy?
Do they drink tea or coffee?
What publications do they read?
Where did they go to school?
Do they showcase a certain style of art?
Are they well traveled?
Do they have a favorite sports team?
A favorite hobby?
Are they PC or Mac?
Android or iPhone?
Take time to examine your surroundings. Search for clues that will help you connect with your client on a more personal level. Find something in common that you can discuss to help build rapport and create the foundation for a successful business relationship. These details add up—all the way to a sale, IF your “spy” glasses and senses are on and your phone is off.
Don’t just spy IT, spy THEM. Look at and listen to your client’s non-verbal clues—observe their gestures, body language, and eye contact; listen to their questions; and interpret their subtle messages. What are they telling you without saying a word? Are they engaged or in a hurry? Do they let their office line go to voicemail, or do they take the call? Do you think it’s a secret that you’re there, or are you being introduced to people?
Seeking, observing, and analyzing even the smallest details during a sales call will help you better identify and understand your potential client’s needs. You will gain insight and further understand who they are and how they do business. Your job as an international spy is to use that new knowledge to make a human connection. Your connection will lead to trust, and that trust leads to closing the deal.
Hey, I spy a sale.