Ever wondered why you go back, again and again to the same store, doctor, restaurant….is it the variety , the taste, the convenience, the person ? Likely, any or all of the above.
Fundamentally though it’s People behind everything. Whatever attracts you comes from the chemistry of people behind or in the front. In that lies the mystery and art of selling.
When I was 11 and every year thereafter, during my school’s summer breaks , I would immerse myself watching, participating and learning from my grand father and uncle who ran a regional distribution and retailing business of cigarettes , biscuits , chocolates etc., Saturday was the local town market day. The shop would be packed and people would jostle for space. My uncle would know most Customers by name. He would recite it in a particular tone/slang – different for different people, crack a joke or ask some relevant question that put a smile on the Customer’s face and got them talking….lighten the mood.
Confidence & Commitment
Mojo ! Every successful sales person has his/her mojo. Would you ever buy anything from a person who is’nt sure about his/her product or service ? I wouldn’t.
Ever heard of the term “family doctor”. It’s usually not because the doctor is most qualified, it’s because the doctor exhibits “that” aura of positive energy and confidence that you get to trust and believe in over time. We do have a family doctor, the same trusted one for the last 13 years in Singapore . She (doctor) never ever makes a big deal of any illness. Always smiling, making lighter vein of the situation, knows her stuff, and we walk out feeling better rightaway.
When you meet your prospect they are looking for that confidence first , and first impressions matter. Rest of the story follows. Confidence cannot be taught, it manifests as a result of hard work (Love), humility (Learn), curiosity (Listen/Learn), passion (Love) and being bold (Voice).
- YOU are you = Me Inc.
The biggest brand is you. People buy from people . People are the company, and the brand ambassador in the front end.
I’ve been in meetings where a sales person says he needs permission from services dept, from business unit, his boss, from global XX, Finance, Revenue Recognition etc., and that he will get fired if terms are not OK. None of this is false. But ….hey, Stop ! Excuses !
A seasoned sales person will pre-empt this, and get things aligned before the meeting so as to exude that confidence , that mojo. Gets things aligned so as to position that he is in control or/and bring relevant people (use words like “my head of contracts” ). Try this…
I am not in a position to provide these terms that risk my company revenues, here is why … Glad to arrange a call with my head of … Upon understanding, you wouldn’t too. Let’s make this work for you and me. How about this option…(some other value/trade off). My people are on standby to start delivering by 17th Oct. Would you prefer this or that (date/option/…). ?
Who is in command – Mr Confidence ! Check the video link below…
Hard Work & Learning.
Ever heard of a “ born salesman”. It’s a bunch of crap ! Sales skills exists in every body. The relative strength or profoundness emanates from upbringing, and what background/circumstances one comes from and evolves towards. To be the best at what you do, “Mastery” is critical. To attain that there is no short cut . Commitment to yourself – Curiosity, learning, loving, failure is feedback – Yes ! The best salesman emerges from failures and practice . In that he seeks feedback , corrects, tries, ….
I remember a negotiation meeting where the prospect was so well prepared that he blew me away. He had done his homework so thoroughly – He walks in with a long list (good to bring along files/papers – shows you did your homework) stating pretty acurately the list of components and quantities inside of our mainframe product, and then working up the COGS and margins to tell us what exact price he is willing to offer ! Who was in control ?
Start by committing yourself to YOU (Me Inc). Confidence manifests as a result of the journey
Calm, Collected & Composed.
Have you ever bought something from a person who is random, has a strained voice, shifty eyed, sweaty palms, fidgety or one who yells over, bangs the table….confidence with no calm and composure ?
Handshakes , yes that reveals a lot too and sets the tone for the meeting. A firm grip handshake , comes across collaborative. The loose and limp one comes across as nervous, timid, lack of confidence. Too firm or the crushy ones – dominant and imposing. Strike a balance.
It’s in the eyes, the voice, the relevant questions one asks – Stop and Listen – not prepare to respond. The key lies in asking relevant questions and then listening. It’s all about empathy. The more you listen means you asked a relevant question that has made the prospect talk – seek to understand, not seek to respond.
You probably heard about open ended and closed ended questions. One technique is to ask open ended questions that illicit a longer and detailed answer from the prospect. This allows you to ask and tune in to listen and take notes. The longer the prospect speaks, the more committed they are in the process.
How would you describe the impact of the new regulatory framework on your Business & Operations?
The same can be asked as follows – Are you getting impacted by the new regulatory framework ? – the answer is likely a Yes or a No – so what ? You gain no insights and was a confirmation close.
Of course, there are the closed questions as well that matter in building the end game or a confirmation close. Like the 5 in a row questions that illicit a “Yes” response only to get the 6th one to be a Yes ! we’ll talk more about this in the close section (Part II of this blogpost)
Relationships matter. Appearances and longer term attractions are defined and chiseled from within you, not just physical appearances. If you love what you sell, apply it in first recognising the problem, attempting to solve it and eventually solving it – builds trust and respect. At higher levels it’s turning the dream to reality. At lower levels it’s removing the pain. Successful sales people are eager to get into meetings, singing the relevant questions in the shower /car and raring to go. Over time you will be measured on delivering promises, and that’s all that matters. We’ve all heard the word Trusted Advisor. In my humble opinion it’s not only about solving the problem and enabling the dream. To continually earn a seat at the table, it’s all about “Mastery”.
Eg: Two clients in the same industry in different geographies. They don’t know each other and are keen to understand how the other works on a specific topic not related to your product . You are the “Enabler”. Connect them up . If they are in an event , offer to schedule a meeeting of minds ! It has nothing to do with your product/solution. It’s all about enabling their personal win …..and you banked in some good will in that process.
It’s enabling them do their job better (personal wins) and to make them successful . Probing is about imparting relevant education, asking relevant questions, seeking confirmation – back and forth. And if you are genuinely solving a problem, then you will charm and build that bond as a Win-Win, and not one sided.
Until Part II….Practice.