There is a famous quote by Benjamin Disraeli that says, “Talk to a man about himself, and he will listen for hours.” This is a truth that humans know very well, it’s a different story as to whether they pay attention to it. People just like talking about themselves, it’s a psychological fact. So, if this is an obvious truth, then why the heck are you still starting your sales pitch by talking about you and your business?

Before you rush into pitching your product or business, you want to build rapport. This is necessary to ensure a close on your prospect. It does take some time to gain your prospects trust, but once you do its worth it. You want your prospect to be open to what you have to say right? So, don’t think of it necessarily as a business deal. Instead, think of it as building a friendship. Building a connection and finding common ground will smooth out the road to your sales pitch.

Obviously, in order for this to work, you will need to get your prospect to talk. Gaining that influence requires a genuine interest in a person. If you rush into your sales pitch the prospect is going to rightfully think you don’t care about them or their business. The best way to get someone talking is by asking open-ended questions. Something like, “what kind of challenges are you facing?” is a great start to gaining trust as well as genuinely discovering more about their business. This could also potentially help you with additional product needs by figuring out your prospects pain points.

Once you’ve gotten them to open up a bit. You’ll need to listen. Not listen like you did your parents during high school, you need to actively listen. Hear everything they are saying to you. Don’t listen to respond, listen to understand. During this process, your body language can make a difference when it comes to gaining trust. You don’t want to interrupt your prospect unless you want to clarify something they said. You do want to smile and come off friendly as well as mirror their actions. It may sound funny, but by mirroring their actions you actually become more relatable to them. Don’t be obvious and annoying, but watch and transition your own movements.

Then finally, when you do talk, talk about your prospect and/or their business. Your prospect really only cares about what you can do for their business. If you want to close a deal, you will need to keep the outcome in mind. By doing that you can pose questions or comments that will benefit the prospect in the long run. The key here is to focus on solution-based selling, not product based. If you remind them that they have the power and they can say no, they will be more inclined to trust you. A prospect will lower their guard a bit by this action. Then finally act as a guide, not a salesperson. As said before, you are selling solutions not products.

If you simply keep in mind that you’re just not that cool, your body language alone will put your prospect at ease. When it’s time to talk about your solution, don’t forget to interject with how it will lead the business to success. Follow these easy suggestions for local prospecting and you’ll be closing deals in no time.