Did you ever think that business skills could translate into dating skills or vice versa? Sounds bizarre but both are strikingly similar. Imagine being able to take your sales acumen and turn your dating life around or use your dating skills to improve your finances.
For any business, a typical sales funnel looks like this:
We will outline the similarities between sales vs dating in each stage and highlight how you those similarities can help you.
For any business to survive it must have find its target customer. Before attempting to make any sales calls, you first find your target customer. No sense in trying to sell a total knee replacement to a plumber! This stage defines going out and finding who is most likely to benefit from you. You need to know where your target customers thrive and gain access to that area. As a medical device sales rep, I know my target customers are surgeons and reside in hospitals, surgery centers, and clinics so that is where I put myself to get face-time with these potential customers. Once you have your target customer and know where they are then you have completed the prospecting stage.
The same is true for dating. If you want to catch a fish you need to first decide what fish you want to catch and where it thrives. No sense in going fishing for a salmon in the middle of the ocean. If you are into the outdoor travel type then joining hiking clubs or making weekly trips to popular hiking spots may be a good place to find your fish. If you are into the athletic sporty type then hanging out in the gym may pose well. Have an undying love to serve the lord? Then church may work well for you. Only attracted to super models? Maybe taking up a hobby in photography would be a good idea. Starting to get the picture? Find your fish and put yourself in their natural habitat.
Just because I have identified a surgeon as my target customer doesn’t mean I should pounce on every surgeon I see. If I am selling a total knee replacement then why would I sell to a spine surgeon? I want orthopedic surgeons that perform total knee procedures. Once we identify them we need to qualify even further. Which surgeons are getting paid by companies to consult? These docs are practically in these companies back pockets so it would be a waste of time for me to go after them. Which surgeons have been using the same product for an eternity and which ones like the latest and greatest technology? Which surgeons are upset with their service? Ideally, because our product is the best on the market (wink wink) we want to go after the guy who loves the latest and greatest gear, is unhappy with his service, is not getting paid by any companies, and preferably is close to my age so I can relate to him. These are the guys I have the best chance of converting.
It works the same way for dating. You purchased a gym membership because you are into the athletic type but that doesn’t mean you are going to mix with every girl or guy in there. You may also want someone who Is religious, sarcastic, eats meat, wants kids, and has a good career. It’s important to ask questions so you know if they meet your qualifications. You don’t want to waste your time pursuing someone who is an athletic hardcore atheist when you spend every Sunday in church.
Ok so you have qualified the customer and found your talking to the right person. They match your criteria perfectly and you are excited. Now is the time to figure out if your product is right for your doctor. We do this by asking more questions and uncovering needs. Once you understand their needs start using the benefits of your product to solve/satisfy their needs. If your product cannot solve their problems don’t fret, they were not a food fit in the first place. Maybe the doctor is sick of the service because the rep has stopped showing up for cases, maybe he is looking for a way to reduce the amount of time in surgery, or maybe he is looking for a way to hedge risk for revision. These are the pain points they want improved or fixed. Once your understand what is important to them you have the key to win their business.
Don’t think you can apply this in dating? Asking questions like the ones below will uncover their needs in the relationship. It will tell you what they find most important when selecting a partner.
What is the worst date you have ever been on?
If you could build your own prince/princess charming what would their personality look like?
What are the biggest mistakes past partners have made with you?
What do you like to do for fun?
What is your dream vacation?
What does the perfect date look like to you?
This is extremely important because it will give you the blueprint to make the relationship work.
You now know what the potential customer’s needs are and it’s time to start explaining how you can solve those needs with your products benefits. If he is having trouble with the service, operating time, and revisions then explain to him how your product reduces the operating time by 11 minutes per procedure, how the strength of the material is going have greater tolerance to revision, and how you are going to be there for every case even if it’s on Christmas.
For dating, you are the product. You now know the other person’s interests, dislikes, and what they are looking for in a mate. It is time to start showing how you meet their criteria. Do they prefer outdoorsy romantics who are vegan? Explain how your idea of a perfect date is to hike to a panoramic sunset view where you can spread a blanket out, sip wine, and nibble on tofu. Do they prefer the adventurous weightlifting financially ambitious type? Explain how you want to climb Mt. Everest with a backpack of bricks for fun once you can live off the dividends of your investments. Use the benefits you provide and satisfy the needs they just gave you. You get the idea.
Proposal/Negotiation and Review
This is the step where negotiations will take place and you will have to use the objection resolution model to satisfy objections and start to close your customer. The objection resolution model looks like this:
Customer gives you their objection à you acknowledge the objection then ask a question to find out why they feel that way.
You: What can we do on our end to earn your business?
Customer: We like your product but your prices are way too high.
You: I understand saving money is important to you. Why do you feel our price is too high and what are you comparing it to?
Customer: “XYW” business is offering their solution for a fraction of what you are offering. Money is tight right now. We cannot afford your service.
You: We understand. If all your vendors were offering the same price for their solution how would you make a buying decision?
Customer: If all the prices were the same we would pick the vendor who has the longest history doing business, has acceptable customer service, and who saves us the most time.
You: Out of those 3 which is the most important to you and why?
Customer: Saving time because every hour that goes by with this problem is costing us.
You: Correct me if I am wrong, our competition is cheaper than we are but they cannot offer you the time savings that we can. Is that correct?
Customer: Yes, they cannot offer the time savings you can but you are also more expensive.
You: We may be more expensive on the front end but that # is dwarfed by the amount of time and money you save by going with our solution over the long run of your business. How much money will you save over the next 5 years if your problem was solved?
Customer: We would save a lot.
You: What other areas of your business would this freedom allow you to focus on for growth?
Customer: Right now, we are also trying to build our salesforce and explore new customer relationship management software to grow sales.
You: That is why we are here. Your investment with us will free up future funds that would have been spent on this problem. Over the next 5 years the savings we are offering you will compound and allow you the time and money to focus on the areas of your business that are crucial to the bloodline of your company, your salesforce and CRM software.
Here we acknowledged his objection – “Your price is way too high,” and asked a question to discover why he feels that we are too expensive.
This model works in dating as well. They give you an objection and you need to overcome it. This can come at any stage of the dating process. It could be when you are first asking them out, down the road when you are trying to make the relationship sensual, or even eons later when you are married and disagree about something. The application doesn’t change, here I’ll show you.
Example: Asking someone out for the first time
You: If you are not too busy next week I would love to take you out for a bite to eat. Do you want to go with me?
Her: I am really busy next week. Honestly, I don’t know if I will have time.
You: I bet a busy girl like you is hard to get a date with. I better get with your scheduler, what’s his phone #?
Her: Haha very funny. I am just really busy I don’t know if I have time to date anyone right now.
You: I understand, why do you feel you are so busy?
Her: I just started a new job at this law firm and have been working weekends. I literally get up and work until I fall asleep at night.
You: I understand how you feel. We are all on the hamster wheel trying to keep one nostril above the water… until we see somebody parenting three kids and an infant. However, you must have to eat at some point, right?
Her: Haha yes.
You: What a coincidence me too! When do you think you will be free next?
Her: Haha maybe next Thursday.
You: What time works best for you?
Her: Hmm.. maybe around Noon.
You: Perfect, since you are so busy let’s do this. Let’s plan on grabbing a bite next Thursday at noon. If you have an emergency and need to reschedule send me a text with a better day and time that works for you. How’s that sound?
Her: Sounds good!
Here we overcame her two objections – “I am really busy this week,” and “I don’t know if I have time to date anyone right now.”
We acknowledged both of her objections and asked her a question - why she felt that way. Once she gave us the real reason why she didn’t feel like she had time we knew what we needed to overcome to get a date with her.
Here is where we ask for the business. In sales it’s simple, we ask the customer for their business. In dating, it can be a # of different things. Getting their phone #, getting them out on a date, getting them over to your place, getting sensual, or even the ultimate close… asking them to marry you. Closing is when you ask someone to agree to your terms. If you have done everything right up to this point – chosen the correct fish in their natural habitat, gained access to that habitat, understand the needs to catch that fish, tailored the benefits you offer to those needs, and properly used the objection resolution model then that fish will gladly take your bait. Happy fishing y’all!
Have you ever been in a situation where you have used these in the business or dating world? Tell your story below!