Are you missing out on business opportunities? Do you feel sometimes as if you’re operating on autopilot in your sales career? You may believe your techniques are effective and that you’ve learned all the ropes. The reality, however, is that even experienced sales people should shake up their methods once in a while. If you rest comfortably on your laurels, your competitors will leap ahead.
Let me be very clear: making a sale is not a simple matter of “talking up” a product and demonstrating your knowledge. Like top athletes, the best salespeople continually adapt to changes in the marketplace and become more efficient. Chances are they have mastered generative language and practice “mental judo.” They know that their targets and customers are motivated by their own reasons, not those of the salesperson.
So what are the key elements of selling with zero resistance? I will share with you some of the best practices in use today to help you generate better sales, while still having fun doing so. After all, even bad habits can be unlearned!
Listen and observe to generate better sales
As an author, trainer and coach specializing in many business strategies including the art of selling, I regularly see behaviours that destroy a potential sale. To persuade someone to buy, you must first learn to ‘listen’ beyond what the person is saying (learn to read body language, voice, subtext and other non-verbal cues). People believe, often wrongly, that in order to sell you must talk a lot. In fact, the most successful salespeople know that listening and observing are the most important success factors — but these are also the most difficult skills to master!
Listening is the most powerful tool in your arsenal. Be attentive to each keyword (criterion) delivered by the other person, so you can build your argument around it and use that word wisely in the conversation. The more the customer talks, the more he will tell you what you need to know to make the sale. In fact, there is evidence that if the customer speaks more than the salesperson, then the sale is pretty much guaranteed! Be credible in your pitch, and involve the client in the decision-making process. If you use these strategies, you’ll diffuse the person’s resistance.
In my book Au-delà de la vente (Beyond Selling), I explore the skills and techniques that will empower you to succeed through powerful and persuasive communication. At the core of any success as a salesperson is a healthy relationship between the vendor and the customer. If you appear focused only on making the sale at any cost, this perception can work against you. Instead, to build a successful business and solidify both your reputation and your profits, you must establish real and trusting relationships with your clients and potential clients.
Stop trying to be interesting and instead start being interested
Be enthusiastic when you weave your relationships. Henry Ford said: “You can do anything if you have enthusiasm. …Enthusiasm is at the bottom of all progress. With it, there is accomplishment. Without it, there are only alibis.”
I would add that enthusiasm is contagious. Pass it on! Share it with your customers! You want to guide the customer to the desired emotional state you need them to be at so they will be amenable to saying ‘yes’ to your pitch.
Make the customer feel as if you are deferring to them, and treat them with respect. Make him feel important (pull out the red carpet!). Because if you do not take care of your customers, your competitors will do it for you. While the Golden Rule is “Treat the customer as you would want to be treated,” the Platinum Rule is to “Treat the customer as He wants to be treated.”
Excellence is not a skill, but an attitude. No one becomes an expert salesperson without first having a profound desire to succeed. If you are determined to be the best at what you do, then you’ll need to analyze the tactics you use in the sales process. If you have been in sales for some time and are very busy, or even if you are new to the game and are hungry, you may find yourself bogged down in work with no time to self-analyze. This is where sales training comes into play as a useful process to uncover any bad habits or ineffective behaviours.
Dealing deftly with objections
A very crucial skill to hone as a salesperson is how you respond when a potential customer expresses an objection, doubt, or resistance. Many sales reps, vendors and account managers sabotage themselves because they don’t know how to deal skillfully with opposition expressed by the other party.
Imagine this situation: You’ve spent some time working up a pitch, delivered your proposal, and the conversation is brought to an abrupt halt when the other person says, “No, I can’t buy it.” Do you react with hurt, anger or defeat? Do you feel insulted and even helpless? Perhaps your survival mode kicks in, and you lose your focus and, above all, your confidence. If so, you are engaging in self-sabotage; you nullify any chance of still possibly closing the sale or even continuing the conversation. Talented sales experts know that the customer is not rejecting you personally, that it’s the proposal. They know that a ‘no’ can be turned into a ‘maybe’ and possibly into as ‘yes’ if you have the right responses to their objections, tactics, bluffs, gambits and counter-gambits.
Our program, Selling with Zero Resistance, helps you identify gaps in your sales techniques and learn from your setbacks. Be warned, though, you need to practice your skills every day … try 30 minutes daily! Because in today’s competitive space, it’s not enough to have passion; you must also engage in ongoing skills development and a continuous quest for improvement. This is where the truly successful people are!
Remember, a sale is not an event; it is a process with a beginning, middle and end. If you know how to practice mental judo (i.e. to persuade gently) then you will be in control —you will lead the pace of this process —and make the desired sale.