I remember being in a training session about 18 months into my real estate career. The trainer berated us for wasting our time on ‘Nescafe appointments’, which according to him were appointments where we were wasting our time having coffee with people that weren’t qualified to buy immediately.
However, when I looked at my current client list I noticed something. Out of the 15 clients I had at that moment, I had met 12 of them at a ‘Nescafe appointment’ 9-18 months prior.
This was the first time I started to question the sales training and I thought ‘perhaps this guy’s got it wrong and I’m onto something’. It seemed my way of ‘relationship building’ was working.
You see all of those coffees are deposits in your future business bank account and your personal bank account. Each relationship was valuable in different ways...some teach you about relationships! Without the early meetings in my career, how would I have improved my abilities to build empathy, trust and rapport? Some relationships provide support and others become clients and referring partners, and a million other benefits can come from building great relationships rather than focusing on an immediate sale.
In the short-term, it may appear that just closing a sale with someone who has an immediate need is more effective, but you could be missing out on 90% of your potential market!
This is because you would be limiting yourself to dealing only with the very small percentage of the market ready and willing to work with you today. Yet industry research strongly suggests that depending on your particular sales industry there is usually a 9-18 month incubation period from the first point of contact until the time when a new client actually purchases your product or service. 9-18 months! Just like my Nescafe appointments. That means you would be missing out on a lot of business by only working with the ‘right here, right now’ prospects. Not only would you be making things a lot harder for yourself in the long run, but you would also be doing yourself out of all the extra repeat and referral business that would otherwise come your way effortlessly through clients feeling so well taken care of and appreciated.