A friend recently hosted a party and networking event for his staff, existing and prospective clients. He gave a short introduction as people arrived, before wishing everyone an enjoyable day.

The floor was quickly handed over to other business owners, who each spoke enthusiastically about their services. One in particular had earned full attention from the audience, until toward the end of her short presentation, she revealed prices and asked for considerable financial commitment. At this point there was an immediate and visible loss of interest in the room. People began scrolling discreetly through their phones and the presentation was soon over. For the remainder of the event very few people spoke with her.

No doubt the lack of return will be explained away by ‘wrong audience’. In reality, this person had the ear of a qualified and interested group of people, but lost them by attempting to close before they had been convinced of her value.

Nobody likes to feel sold to, but provide us with enough information, or tell us a story that fits with our world view, and we will happily sell to ourselves.
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In direct contrast, our host began with a much softer presentation, and then spent the following hours speaking to people individually. He considered the event his chance to develop a relationship – to find out what sort of problems people had, or goals they wanted to achieve.
Over several weeks he communicated openly and freely, proving definitively his expertise and the value he could provide. Ultimately persistence paid off, and he won more than ten-thousand pounds worth of business from just one person, who he first met at this event.

A decision to spend thousands of pounds on something is not normally made within 15 minutes. Believing that thousands of pounds is too much to spend on something, is a conclusion reached easily within seconds.

To convert you must first convince, and sometimes convincing takes more than 15 minutes. So what value do we provide to people who may in the future be clients, but at this moment in time are not ready to buy?

I’ll leave you with an anecdote. When asked about his role, the head of BMW in America replied: ‘My job is to make sure that the 18-year-olds in this country decide that, as soon as they have the money, they will be buying a BMW. I have to see to it that when they go to bed at night they are dreaming of BMW.’