There is an old joke, that a woman learns everything about a guy, within five minutes of meeting him, when you walk into your next meeting, your new would be client, has already made up their minds to. It doesn’t matter if the meeting lasted an hour, and you thought it went great, in those initial five minutes, they have already decided, if they’re going to purchase from you or not.
Usually our initial
judgements, are our true thoughts, it’s our gut instinct, telling us exactly
what we really think, and what we really feel, this can obviously scupper your
chances, of closing a deal, if the recipient hasn’t liked what they have seen
You don’t have to worry though, because believe it or not, there are methods of how you can make the odds work, in your favour. Firstly, I recommend a little trick I have and still do implement on a regular basis, this works wonders, when cold calling, or on ultra-sceptical potential clients.
Let’s set up the scenario, you have just walked into a new store, on a cold rainy morning, the business is family owned, and the man behind the counter isn’t looking too thrilled to see you. You politely ask for the manager and he replies, “I’m the manager, I’m busy, what do you want?” You produce a clock from your pocket, or an application on your phone, and start the countdown! “Sir, please give me 2 minutes of your valuable time, to explain my new product you simply can’t refuse!”
The countdown is a great trick for two reasons, firstly, if you can’t explain your product or service within two minutes, you simply don’t know what you’re selling, and secondly, an average humans attention span isn’t very long, people don’t want a long drawn out process, they want the main facts quickly and divisively. He knows if he dislikes what he hears, once the two minutes are up, you will be walking out of the door and on your way.
For the potential client, it’s simply a no-lose situation, and nine times out of ten, they will at least give you the opportunity, to pitch what you’re selling. Now you have a potential client, attention it’s extremely important to be honest and ethical, in everything you do and say, believe it or not people are not daft, they can sense a “chancer”, when they see one, don’t be this guy or girl.
Being honest, is not only good for your customer, it’s good for your company reputation, and most of all, it’s good for you. The temptation of ill-gotten short-term gains, will ruin the chance of potential long-term relationships with others. This is because people talk, whether that’s in the street, at business events, or networking, a bad reputation will precede you, no matter how good you think you are. It’s time to stack the odds in your favour,
it’s literally impossible to gauge the market, some believe the top salesman are lucky, you have heard the proverb “the right place at the right time”, well believe it or not, you can be there with them. Take sport for example, a moment which wins the game only appears a handful of times in the game itself, whether that’s a goal or a touchdown.
It’s the foundation or groundwork, which leads to that moment which actually “wins” the game; the team’s top scorer is celebrated as a hero, because on the surface, he won the game, with his goal. However, all he did was the “right things”, so he was in the right place at the right time. It’s exactly the same principle with selling, and you’re the only person who can control this, without self-discipline to work day in and day out placing yourself in the position for the final result (closing a sale) simply won’t happen.
It’s time for you to step up, and make a genuine connection with your client, because every transaction, large or small, is routed in a relationship between two people or two companies. This is exactly where YOU, as a person comes in, when somebody buys your product or service, they haven’t been blown over by the item alone they have been wowed by you, you’re the glue between a smooth or rough transaction. What if a problem occurs, are you accessible? helpful or friendly
Most sales, whether that’s large or small, involves an ongoing relationship; this is because a growing number of purchases usually require post-sale support. In the modern world, it’s extremely easy to communicate through technology, but we lose all elements of real human interaction, when money is exchanging hands people genuinely want a connection, they want the “safety net” and ultimately, they want to know if they can TRUST YOU. I can suggest to you that everything you have ever learnt, about your product or service, is only beneficial, if it contributes in building a quality connection with your client or customer.
Think of it this way, before somebody buys from you, you’re independent from them, like a wheel and an engine, they don’t know you, you don’t know them. Once the two elements converge together the engine makes the wheels spin, thus the trust has been gained. If a person or organisation feels they can’t rely on you, then you can wave goodbye to any potential sale, but don’t worry I have ways you can combat any doubts from a prospective client and build a successful working relationship. Here are six quick factors that can build and sustain trust:
- Honesty – If you always tell the truth, you can never be caught out lying, once the honesty has been lost a relationship will quickly demise.
- Rapport – Finding things in common with another person is extremely important, it’s one of the first elements, in which trust can thrive upon. Humans naturally gravitate towards people with the same or similar interests; it’s in our nature.
- Openness – You have always got to understand the other person’s point of view, (even if you don’t necessarily agree)
- Integrity and Trust – If you have promised the earth then you better deliver it! Show that you keep your promises, and a very fruitful relationship should flourish.
- Reliability – Being consistent in both your behaviour and actions, speaks volumes to any client, be somebody who others can depend upon and many more opportunities will open up.
- Admission – Always be graceful in admitting an error, or failing on your part, don’t mess a client around, it will only make the situation ten times worse.
It can be highlighted that trustworthy people are committed,
reliable and responsible, they’re often leaders and very effective in
everything they do. Salespeople who see themselves as leaders, will be far more
likely to provide a client, with the service or product necessary to achieve
their goals or aims.
Being a leader commands the notion of success, which in turn motivates their sales and ultimately their profits! From my experience people whom adopt a leader mentality, are far less likely to need various closing techniques to make a sale. By knowing certain elements, like this you can begin to use this to your advantage, in any sales pitch or meeting. This will help to oppose any doubts, from potential customers, and validate yourself as a leading expert within your industry.
For example, recently I found myself dealing with a retail salesperson, that was attempting to explain the benefits of the item I was looking to buy, I stood and pretended to listen, but really I wasn’t taking any notice at all. The odd keyword, I did hear sounded correct for the product he was explaining, but to be honest, I knew all that information when I read the literature that accompanied the product.
As nasty as it may sound, I was more interested, in how he couldn’t close the sale, he didn’t display any leadership attributes, or show any confidence in what he was actually saying, thus I didn’t TRUST or BELIEVE in the information that he was giving me. Ultimately, I DOUBTED him, and I left the store without purchasing anything, in the end we both just wasted our time.
On reflection, I pondered over why the sale wasn’t completed, and what made me get cold feet, he didn’t have to be “a sales pro”, or “savvy”, he just needed more confidence in what he was explaining.
His uses of “erm, ahh and uhh” didn’t fulfil me, with assurance either, I hypothesised that he must have been new for his choke reaction rate to be so high. For those who don’t know, a choke reaction is when a customer asks, one or multiple questions and the salesperson stutters, unsure of what to say, they give the perception of being unprepared, lack of confidence or even unprofessional.
From this brief meeting, I would say that the best sales people are actually “over skilled”, or even over prepared, because they have done it countless times before. This means their “choke reaction”, is enduringly muted, thus re-enforcing their own confidence, expertise and assurance to a potential client. From this people obviously believe in them, and a sale gets closed much more easily. For example, here are two scenarios’ you may be familiar with.
- Scenario 1
Client: “Is this product good for spinal injuries in people over 65?”
Sales person: “uh, uh…. well, you see… err.. the product is good for… err…. “
Client: “How many units did you sell last year?”
Sales person: “uh, uh…. The demand was… err…. high in large parts of the country“
Client: “So there’s no real prospect of breaking into the market for me is there”
Sales person: “uh, er… well.. “
- Scenario 2
Client: “Is this product good for spinal injuries in people over 65
Sales person: “Most definitely, it’s currently being used in all major health care hubs nationwide, the response to the product has been fantastic and many doctors are even recommending it to patients!“
Client: “How many units did you sell last year”
Sales person: “We have sold over 4 million units worldwide to date“
Client: “So there’s no real prospect of breaking into the market for me is there”
Sales person: “There certainly is, I have identified this town as a region we would like to expand further into, that’s why I requested to meet you in person.“
Out of the two scenarios, which sales person are you going to purchase from? Like tying a shoelace, you have to practice, practice, practice and if at first you don’t succeed you keep on trying. As a salesperson, you have to display elements of creditability, if you don’t project any knowledge or confidence, in what you’re selling, how can a client have any confidence or belief in you or your product? It’s time that you banish all fears, about not being worthy of the dream job you want, the promotion you crave or the lifestyle you wish to live. Recognise that you DO have the ability to sell and be proud of the fact it’s your profession. I’m going to tell you, the secret to success right now, right here, it’s one word and everybody has heard of it, that word is FAILURE.
A failure can affect even the best of the best, but you know what, it’s OK to take risks and sometimes fail, it’s the failures that will lead you to success in the future. A great way to build confidence and minimise the element of “failure” is to learn what you’re selling and improve your credit-ability, is by working on your inner foundation, to unlock your full potential. By building your inner foundation, your confidence will shine through in everything that you do.
All the top sales people, know how to project themselves in the correct way, they know their unique selling points, and for competing sales professionals, it can be hard to break into a charismatic arena.
The top sales men and woman, all have these elements in common, they’re magnetic, dynamic, charming, and friendly, they ultimately lure a potential client in, like bait does a fish. Some think there born with this god given gift to sell, however the successful selling has already begun, before they have entered a meeting or a sales pitch environment, it begins in their heads. Your brain is both your best asset and in some cases your number one enemy.
- Exercise 1 – Establish
what your strengths are
What do you THINKyou’re good at?
What DO you excel at?
What do other people THINK you’re good at?
What do other people KNOW you’re good at?
- Exercise 2 – Establish
what your weaknesses are and improve yourself
What do you THINK,you’re bad at?
What ARE, you bad at?
What do other people THINK, you’re bad at?
What do other people KNOW, you’re bad at?
You may be asking, how is this going to help me? By watching other people, I have quickly realised that knowing both your strengths and weaknesses increases not only your knowledge and skills, but it ultimately increases your value. It’s very similar to a battery-operated television remote, without a battery it won’t operate, the battery is both its strength and its weakness.
- Exercise 3 – You’re
Close your eyes and remember a time in your life when you reached a goal, whether that’s passing an exam or winning a race. Think of this accomplishment and picture yourself achieving, whenever you feel in doubt of your abilities do this to give yourself a confidence boost!
Like all things in life, they’ll be times when a sale has fallen through, or doors will be closed in your face, however this is the time when you need to listen to yourself, and ride out the wave. Even the most successful sales people face rejections, and lots of them, it’s the nature in how they bounce back which truly counts.
Believe it or not, over the years I faced countless rejections in my life, from personal relationships to job opportunities to business related deals, however I have never given in no matter how bad it became. The best feeling was to see the look on some of my “rejecters” faces when I actually succeeded and reached my goal, I showed them with my positive actions. These principles I adopted is the same principles you need to adopt, confidence is the one of the keys to success, it unlocks the door for you to pass through, start working on your confidence today for a better future tomorrow.
The more you like yourself the more you will sell, the more you like other people the more they will buy from, liking yourself is one of the most important elements everybody should possess.
In general, it’s known that we don’t use more than 10% of our potential, that leaves the remaining 90% of untapped, it’s this remaining 90% that should attempt to unlock, by doing just an extra 5%, you will already have more ability, strength, knowledge and power than the majority of your competitors. From this, there is a direct relationship, between your inner concept and your performance metrics, the more you believe you will succeed, the more likely you are going to succeed.
You need to be aware of the inner concept you possess, buried deep inside we all have a concept’ of how we should be, whether that’s the perfect son, daughter, husband, wife and so on, deep inside we have a perception of how good we are at selling or how bad we are at selling.
This theory also applies to how we dress, how we speak, how we engage and how we interact, these are all concepts in our mind, and usually how we think we act and how we do act are completely different. For some, it can be a great idea to film or record themselves, or even to look in the mirror study your movements, your mannerisms and how you ‘portray’ yourself, do you look confident? Do you look like a person YOU would want to do business with? Do you appear friendly? Know yourself and be happy with who you are.
From this, we can then decipher where, and how things might be going wrong, if they are, usually if we’re bad at something ,we attempt to avoid it, if we’re good at something we want to do it more. This re-enforcement of being good builds our confidence, makes us happy, builds relationships and ultimately builds success. Have you ever noticed when somebody is happy more seems to ‘happen’ for them? Whether that’s personal relationships, business relationships or otherwise, more opportunities become available the more positive we are. When approaching a sale if you think you’re going to stumble, swallow your tongue or shake with nerves you most likely will, the theory is you need to start believing anything you put your mind to is possible, because with this mentality you won’t be able to limit yourself to a mediocre existence.
Just like I touched upon earlier, we all have an idea, image or concept of who we were, who we currently are, and who we would like to be, this limiting notion is detrimental to any professional, you now need to wipe the slate clean and forget about the past or the future, focus on the ‘right here, right now’.
Start today, and say to yourself, ‘I like myself, I like my hair, I like my smile, I like my clothes, I like my teeth, I’m a great salesman, I’m a great business owner’ or whatever it is you want to say. Say it and repeat it, before you go into a meeting, presentation or sales pitch, repeat it over and over in your head, because the more you say it, the more your brain thinks its fact, thus making you more confident in everything you wish to achieve. From this, other elements will begin to emerge from positive feelings, body language, gestures and so on, you will become an unstoppable force.
Do you know, that there’s actually not much difference between people who sell thousands and thousands of products, against people who sell none, the only different is they do things differently. They don’t necessary have any ‘superpower’ skills, they believe in themselves, they learn and they adapt themselves, so they’re positioned in place to succeed. We all have the concept of ourselves in our minds, that tells what we THINK our limitations and strengths are, rather than what they actually are, be fully aware that we also possess an ‘income metre’. You may be asking what do I mean by that? Well an income metre, is the theory that once a person earns their ‘conceptional’ level of income they suddenly stop selling!
So for example, if Tony wanted to earn £30,000 in one year and he earned £31,000 by October, he would have trouble selling anything else for November and December, because in his mind he has ‘achieved’ his goal. This is equally like people who sell great for one week doubling their expected target, then the week after they struggle to sell anything at all.
This can be a common problem for sales professionals and business owners, ultimately, it’s not the product at fault, it’s not particularly the customers fault, it’s all down to the person who is selling the product. In our minds, we have reached the ‘safety net’ we wanted to, we have programmed ourselves to believe this is the ‘finishing line’ and our bodies simply can’t produce anything more. This is the x factor which separates, the elite professional, from the average run of the mill professional, which one do you want to be?
Let’s talk more about The Importance of Body Language When Selling
Working on yourself is a very important element in getting exactly what you want, especially in a selling environment. I can say with confidence that a potential client reacts from three main body elements, 60% body language, 32% tone of voice and 8% in the words that you use.
As described earlier, a first impression can literally be the “make or break”, before you have even sat down in your seat. It can be said that, if you’re image isn’t helping you, it’s HURTING you. As harsh as it may sound, humans are naturally programmed to assume, somebody who takes pride, in both their dress sense and grooming habits, is a more stable, reliable and trustworthy person, thus making them a more likely person they want to deal with.
There are four main principles to conveying the correct body language in any sales environment, they are:
- Walk the talk and shake hands firmly
Walk and move with confidence and strength, don’t shuffle along, walk with a purpose, this should convey the message of a busy, confident and effective person.
When you meet somebody new always give a full handshake, a “half handshake” usually the fingers instead of the full palm can suggest “half a man” or “half a person”.
A full firm handshake represents a good character, which in turn gives the impression of a good product or service. This can make your client believe in you, before you have even opened your mouth.
- First impressions count, so look your best
Always dress smart no matter what the occasion, even in semi-casually environments, people who look sharp and mean business have a far higher success rate than those who don’t. Remember to look the person you’re talking to directly in the eye to portray confidence and stability, both in yourself and the product you’re selling.
- Sit straight and facing forward
In general we’re greatly influenced by the body language of the people who we’re speaking to, it’s always recommended to sit straight, leaning slightly forward so you stay alert and be fully engaged both mentally and physically.
The way in which a person sits is subconsciously accessed, leaning forward conveys importance and value, whereby leaning against the back of a chair highlights a relaxed and uncaring demeanour.
- Influence your clients body language
It can be a great idea to deliberately keep your arms unfold and your hands open, if your client’s hands are crossed, pass them some literature or something to hold, so they “open up”.
Furthermore there are “signs”, you need to look out for, in a potential client, when their legs are crossed it usually means they’re holding back information. If you notice their legs are crossed at the ankle, this means they’re usually not telling you everything you need to know.
Opening up a client’s defensive body language can really make a difference in closing a potential sale, work on your own body language and look out for the signs I have shared and experiment with this when closing your next deal!
Ultimately the more work you can do to improve yourself, the better chance you will have at becoming a successful sales person. Equally it’s also important to remember you can’t be successful if you don’t challenge yourself and set goals, the best of the best constantly set goals for themselves, and they achieve them. They have the ability to visualise what they want, they logically formulate a strategy and go after their dreams.
Some people mistakenly believe that top performing business owners and salespeople have the “gift of the gab” when in fact it’s the most organised people who are the most successful. If you want to reach the top you must have the drive to succeed, think of the famous proverb, “you won’t know till you try”, everything in life is a risk, from going to university to driving a car, to succeed you have to step outside of your comfort zone, because taking smart risks is how great opportunities are discovered. Just believe in yourself.
Let’s talk a little
bit about Networking
Networking is a critical element for any entrepreneur or sales professional, without connections in the right places, how are you going to succeed, generate hype or chase new leads? It can be a great idea to review exactly what you want to achieve from networking, are you looking to expand your client base? Are you wanting feedback from fellow professionals or are you just seeing “what’s out there”, it doesn’t matter too me what you want from networking but it could make a huge difference for you. Networking isn’t a quick fix strategy, it’s a method which needs approaching for long term goals rather than short term gains, start by building relationships with people in your chosen industry. Who is the press guy or girl? Who is the buyer for X company? Who is the executive for B Company?
It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out or have been in business for years, networking with confidence can open a lot of doors if you network with the correct people, depending on your industry you will be surprised at how many people may actually want to help you. Go to the places they go to, trade shows, events, business seminars, put yourself OUT THERE, make them know you exist and while you’re there start building a list. In general, networking can be likened to selling, it’s personal, don’t let any contacts (no matter how big or small) go to waste, don’t rule anybody out because you think they can’t help you or you can’t sell to them now. Just because you can’t sell to them today doesn’t mean you won’t be able to tomorrow, you never know, who somebody knows so always keep an open mind in all situations you encounter.
Here is an example of a networking list you should be creating:
- Phone Number
- Date of Contact
- Follow Up Action
Pro Tip: Follow up by phone one week after initial contact, a follow up by email is easier, however the opportunity to build your relationship increases dramatically with human to human , contact rather than computer to computer.
It should be noted that you need to convey your company message to everyone you’re networking with, remember they don’t know you, so tell them exactly what your purpose is, exactly what your looking for and ultimately if everything is going well, exactly what you want. Always take the opportunity to expand your network list, impress your contact and they will tell people THEY ALREADY KNOW about you, so in theory you’re networking with the net workers network, confusing but extremely powerful. A personal recommendation can be fantastic for you, because the person you have already networked with is telling their contact, “Hey! You should check this person out, I’ve worked with them and they’re good to work with!”. From humble beginnings, a large tree-like structure begins to emerge as branches blossom from all directions, be smart, be organised and make use of this excellent technique. All of the tips I have highlighted in this chapter will only work if you want them to work, usually success doesn’t magically appear overnight, that’s why you need resilience no matter what challenges are thrown towards you, it takes time, patience and practice, However you can achieve your goals and ambitions, all it takes is a little belief, so what are you waiting for?
Here are four simple tips on how to sell a product with confidence:
- Knowledge – Study your product and learn all the features and benefits thoroughly so you’re capable of answering detailed questions from potential customers.
- Homework – Do your homework on any potential client, pore over their websites, literature, shops or outlets, visit as a customer and learn as much as you can. From this you can then establish how your product and service, can be best utilised for their purpose, the more benefits you can highlight, the better chance you have at closing a sale.
- Control – It’s easy for salespeople to lose control of any negotiation, it happens to the best of the best. Always keep a potential customer on track by talking about the features and benefits your product or service can provide them. It has been suggested that a salesperson feels more confident when they maintain in control of a sales situation.
- Fashion – Be alert to any latest trends in your sector so you know that what you’re selling is what your customers want, if you know the market you will have the confidence in what you’re saying and what your product offers against competitors.
- Always approach networking with confidence
- Networking is a great opportunity, so don’t waste it! In general networking is about exchanging value, however you can use this to your advantage in the correct circumstances.
- Creating a plan and having a networking strategy will be beneficial and make your networking more effective.
- Build up a solid
relationship with the person you have networked with, in time try and get
personal recommendations to expand your network further.