How many times have you dropped off a pushy sales call and thought – what an absolute Richard, Corey, William, Percy, Nolberto, or Johnson that individual was? Essentially, it doesn’t pay dividends to be remembered as anything other than the most authentic version of yourself.
Most people buy with their hearts and then justify it with their heads at a later date. Thus, you can’t neglect the emotional intelligence part of the sales process. People don’t care what you know until they know that you care, as sales are a natural consequence of authentic relationships. People buy from people they like. Be real and the rest will come together.
But how do I keep it real I hear you ask…well let me elaborate:
This should be obvious; you’re not going to convince everyone to buy your product or service. There will be times during your sales pitch when you realise that the person is simply not ready to buy, and you need to let them say “no”.
If you’ve been blown out faster than Elton John’s candle in the wind, step back, thank them, and follow up at a later date. Sometimes a prospect isn’t ready to buy, and you need to be comfortable with that. The main aim at this point is to leave them with a positive experience if you want to get a sale in the future. On the other hand, I understand the trouble with letting someone walk away. You know if you let them walk, they may never come back, and you’ve just lost dough – it’s a risk you take.
However, trying to steamroll or verbally volley a prospect into saying “yes” is terrible and creates a negative impression. If you are going to have a long-lasting relationship with this person and their business, pushing harder than Salt-N-Pepa isn’t going to make them like you in the long run. If they don’t trust you, they’ll look for the first chance to get out of doing business with you in the future.
And remember, it’s a two-way process, so don’t try and fit a square peg into a round hole if the prospect happens to be the wrong fit for your business.
If you don’t want to push away potential prospects, don’t be a condescending git. It really is that simple.
To build trust with a person in order to bag a sale, you need to present yourself as an expert on fixing their problem / providing a solution, but in the process, you don’t want to come across as a know it all.
A salesperson’s job is to communicate, specifically, the value of the product they’re selling. You must show someone you understand their pain and offer them a solution to fix that pain. If you’re not listening to them, you’re not going to effectively communicate how you can help them.
Importantly, one size doesn’t fit all. You need to understand what they’re currently doing, their struggles, and what they think is wrong, and then try to home in on the real underlying issue(s).
You’re trying to offer them something that’s meaningful. To do that, you have to really care about them and what their business is struggling with.
Yes, you absolutely do need a bit of swazz in sales, however you also need to be mindful as to how unnerving it is to speak to someone who’s as excitable as an 18-30’s holiday rep.
I honestly wonder if some folk watch the sales equivalent of 101 Greatest Premier League goals to get inspiration for their approach. Do you actually look at yourself in the mirror and do the whole ‘you are a lion, the king of the sales jungle’ routine? If you do, you’ve reached a mid-life sales crisis.
Remember, you are dealing with human beings, many of whom can detect fakeness better than you realise, and nothing destroys trust better than coming across as fake.
Being natural isn’t always easy (ask any surgeon in Hollywood) when you’re trying to be likeable and charming. The best way to approach sales is like a friend who wants to offer a solution to whatever problem the prospect has. You’re not the star, you’re merely the guiding light who enables them to make a change for the better (biblical undertones right there).
Listening and straightforward communication is better than an overly friendly facade.
Empathy is a wonderful trait to have in sales. But often I see salespeople with ‘apathetic’ attitudes. Call centre personnel and those that flog insurance are prime candidates, you know the ones, those that move on quicker than a testosterone fuelled thumb swiping through the Tinder app.
Being apathetic means you “show or feel no interest, enthusiasm, or concern”, which damages your relationship with a prospect.
Perhaps this ability is the most challenging to develop, because without a good sense of empathy, you won’t be a good listener or salesperson.
Being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes is not easy. Sometimes you can’t understand unless you’ve struggled with the same problem they did, but you try to find common ground which in turn establishes a connection.
At the end of day, you need to remember every person you talk to isn’t just an untapped source of income. They have fears, anxieties, and problems whilst going about their business. If you develop your empathy and listen to their problems, then you’re going to be able to help them see how your product or service can help.
If we think about the prospect’s journey, then it’s important to understand that timing is everything. If you’re one of “those” salespeople, you’ll disregard this notion and continue to drive head-on like a crash test dummy.
There are 4 game changing moments that really matter, which are:
These are the moments you need to be there for, or at least detect if you are mid conversation. Otherwise, your prospect will move on to someone who is attuned to delivering on these moments at exactly the right time.
There are literally dozens of other ways you can come across as annoying in sales, but those listed above are a few of the main ones.
So, remember to run your sales interactions through a helpful filter by asking yourself:
At the end of the day, sales is about communication, building a rapport, showing your human side, and appreciating that patience is a virtue. As the old adage goes, ‘in a world where you can be anything, be yourself’.
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