(Part 7 in Sales Series)

Warming up is super easy to want to skip. Once while doing some field training, I watched one of my more promising trainees follow a business owner into his office. I trailed behind and observed, doing my best to be completely quiet.

The business owner walked around his desk. Steve, from behind, walked up to his desk and opened his presentation materials. While looming over him, he began right in on the presentation.

A little part of me died that day watching him miss a great chance at earning a new client. My brain was screaming “SIT DOWN!”, but Steve couldn’t hear my thoughts.

It’s not that hard to know what the client was thinking. What would you be thinking if someone you just met asked for a minute of your time?

Well, you would be thinking (way faster than they were speaking) one thing. And you would not be listening to anything else until you got this question answered: “Do I like this guy/gal?”

It’s an honest question and you’re going to have to work intentionally to satisfy this question before you go any further in your conversation.

Statistically, buyers report that 80% of their buying decisions were based upon the feeling of a basic like and trust in the person they were dealing with, i.e. the salesperson. When I first heard this data it occurred to me that it also meant that 80% of the sales I missed were because the client didn’t have a basic like and trust in the salesperson.

That doesn’t mean that you are not likeable or trustworthy. It means you did not establish that in the mind of the potential client successfully.


Therefore, before you can hope to make any progress on finding out what the client might want or need, certainly before you begin your presentation of your products/services, you have to engage with the client on a personal basis. This is specifically called the “Warm Up” stage of the conversation. To decide if they like you and feel comfortable with you, you are going to have to share some information about yourself with them that matters.

How do you do this? Start with questions about them. People love to talk about themselves. Be observant and ask questions about things you notice on their desk, hanging on the wall, or sitting on bookshelves. Look for common ground and don’t you dare talk about business stuff until you can see they have relaxed. Wait for a smile, laugh, or change in posture that indicates they are ready to move to the next gear of sales.

“I see a trophy there, is that yours?”

“Hey, is that your family? That’s great! So what do you guys get to do together?”

Hunting trophies, recognition awards, etc….these things typically are on display and are easy conversation starters. They should be doing 90% of the talking here and you are setting the stage for the next step.

You are establishing a helpful rhythm of question and answer that you will continue in the next step and are creating a buying atmosphere by understanding and respecting (and answering) the questions going on in the client’s mind.

7th gear of business

Business owners and Entrepreneurs are invited to take my Free Online Assessment on the main page of the 7th Gear Website.

Other Articles of the Sales Series:

  1. The 7 Gears of Sales
  2. Nobody Sells Anything
  3. Atomic Level Sales
  4. Buying Vs. Selling
  5. The 7 Gears of Sales (Part 2)
  6. The Sales Approach