Your younger sister is single following her breakup with her boyfriend. She calls you one evening and says she's going speed dating. She's asking advice from her older brother or sister (you) for speed dating advice. What do you tell her?
This is not a speed dating blog. It's not even a dating blog. It's a sales blog. So what's up with that?
Speed dating is a simple process but it can have major consequences. It can have many twists and turns. So can selling. Some customers buy in a one-call close environment, wherein there's an element of time involved, just as in speed dating. Prospects are seeking potential solutions to their needs and desires, and so are speed daters.
Seeing that there are similarities between selling and speed dating, please see the seven sales tips below, which are disguised as speed dating tips for your little sister:
1. Be well groomed and appropriately dressed based upon the characteristics of the speed dating group (the prospect) and the venue. Few will be attracted to someone (connect with a salesperson) who is inappropriately dressed or groomed. Dress and groom as appropriate for the people you expect will attend the speed dating event (the sales interaction). I know this makes me sound like an old school dude, but if you're selling to a bunch of burly, tough Harley riders (not that all Harley riders are burly and tough in reality), then you'd better dress and groom yourself in a way that will resonate with those burly tough guys
2. Keep your eye on the clock. You only have so much time with each speed dater (with each prospect). Make sure you plan your conversation (presentation) appropriately for the time available.
3. Ask questions to draw out the other speed dater (the prospect). Asking questions isn't the goal; getting the other speed daters (the prospects) to engage in conversation with you and being comfortable with you is the goal. Nobody wants to spend time with another speed dater (buy from a salesperson) who hasn't engaged them.
4. Don't waste your valuable time by talking all about you (you, your product, or your company), but focus on the other speed dater (the prospect).
5. Use eye contact, facial expression, and body language to help connect with the speed dater (the prospect). If the other person is cautious, then you be cautious, too, but with an inviting subplot. Singles looking for partners (prospects investigating purchasing something) feel most comfortable with people who are similar to them. Be similar, but with an extra dose of charisma, humor, confidence, or something else that will set you apart from all the others in a positive way. Not that you should be disingenuous, but we all have multiple elements of our personalities which we can call upon for use in different situations.
6. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Position yourself in a way that the speed daters (the prospects) will have the best opportunity to be impressed with you, intrigued with you, or even like you. Use your strengths and find work-arounds for your weaknesses. You're not good at humor? Then don't try to be funny. You have the best smile this side of the North Pole? Smile away.
7. Help the speed dater (the prospect) feel important. Everybody on the face of the earth wants to feel important in some way. You don't have to pretend, just treat your speed dater (your prospect) as being truly important.
8. Know your limitations. Don't over-talk, be overly funny, or be overly anything. Be genuine, real, and nice while getting the job done. Be genuinely interested, respectful and effective. That what speed dating (selling) is all about.
Full disclosure: I don't participate in speed dating and never have and really don't know much about it. The speed dating advice above is based solely upon my middle-aged imagination. Therefore, it should be ignored.
However, you can trust the sales advice.