Would you Buy From You:
Become a Better Salesman
I have been in sales for over 20 years. Everything you do is a sale. This is not only limited to business but relationships, family, friends and so forth. Don’t believe me? If you wanted to buy a flat-screen TV or a brand new car, the odds are you would have to somehow sell the idea to your spouse.
I first got intrigued by watching infomercials with my grandmother as a child. Whether they were selling blenders, panini grills or some spaceship-looking contraption that guaranteed perfect abs, the salesman was pitching the product as his life depended on it. Often I wouldn’t even care about the product but was intrigued by the person behind the pitch. I recall watching the ShamWow commercials that promoted the perfect cleaning towel. The product was great but there was always something shady about “Vince” the ShamWow spokesperson.
As salespeople ask yourself this question and are honest with your answer. Would you buy it yourself if you were selling it? Think about how you approach a customer, the words you choose, your physical appearance, your body language or mannerisms, and even your tone of voice. If a salesperson like you approached you in a store, would you take notice and listen? Or would you politely say “No thank you, I’m just looking?”
The Art of Selling
This is a wake-up call for some as self-actualization is important if you want to be able to master the art of the sale. It isn’t about being vain. Your first impression matters to a customer who only has a few seconds to determine whether you are trustworthy or not. You are not only selling a product or service, you ARE part of the product or service. Ever hear the saying “I’m buying whatever he is selling.” If a customer could get past the first part of the sales process, the odds are the product itself isn’t as important. Believe me, I have a basement full of ab rollers, magic bullets and other stuff that I don’t use but bought because I liked the sales experience.
Keep in mind that there are occasions when customers will buy from people that they are unimpressed and uncomfortable with, but if this happens it typically will be a one-time transaction. Even worse is that they will likely not refer that salesperson to anyone else. Referrals are the lifeblood of salespeople and cutting off this potential pipeline can be the difference between a lean month and a fat paycheque.
Do you use the same realtor? Do you buy from the same car salesman? If so, this is evidence that most people become repeat customers because of how the salesperson made them feel. If you can make your mannerism, appearance, voice and approach comforting and positively memorable, you will have jumped over the first hurdle of the sales cycle.
Many areas impact whether a client has a good experience or a bad one. To improve your odds of winning the first few moments, here are 4 tips:
- Be aware of your appearance.
I remember someone tried to sell me financial planning advice. I didn’t know anything about them and what their educational background was but their appearance did not convince me of success. There’s a joke in the insurance business that it’s a needs-based business. The agent needs the business. This guy looked like he was desperate for the sale. Does your appearance make your customers feel more or less comfortable about dealing with you? Do you represent the product that is being sold?
- Approach with confidence.
Customers can smell a sales pitch a mile away. When my wife and I went shopping for a new Mercedes we saw the salespeople hover around us like vultures. The salesperson asked us what the reason for looking for a new car was, where we would be traveling in it and if the price wasn’t an issue what things we would want. The experience was fun as we daydreamed in the hottest new Mercedes AMG. Now that we experienced what the best would be, we then landed back on earth and settled on something that we both felt was reasonable. Keep in mind that we ended up buying something more than we expected but didn’t regret it. What is your approach? Do you introduce yourself and present a genuine value proposition or do you default to a canned product or service sales pitch?
- Be aware of what your body is communicating.
90% percent of communication is non-verbal communication. I remember speaking to two community leaders. They said all the right things but there was something that wasn’t right. He wasn’t speaking to me, he was speaking at me. When I spoke, he wasn’t listening but merely waiting for me to speak so that he could speak next. The content was great but not too many people in the community got a sense of authenticity when he spoke. Your non-verbal cues are everything. Are you welcoming and authentic or do you ooze the sense of a hidden agenda or selfish motives?
- Your voice speaks volumes.
It’s not only the words that you say but how you say them. I recall a so-called life coach in my community. Just like the gentleman above, he said all the right things but he didn’t have confidence. You could hear it in his voice that he was simply regurgitating something he read. His lifestyle and success translated into that lack of confidence as I don’t think he made a dime as a coach. Do you speak in a humble yet confident tone or do you sound apologetic and unsure of yourself?
Self-awareness is key. Look in the mirror and ask yourself, would you buy from yourself? If the answer is NO, then it’s never too late to work on it.
We are all in sales whether professionally or selling which movie to watch and what to eat for dinner. Understanding how to sell is a vital skill. You can spend years trying to master the art however if you are cognizant of the simple tips above, you are well on your way to being not only a better salesperson but a more effective communicator.