October 14, 2020
The true essence of Sales is finding out what people want and helping them get it. Despite the quintessential image in the movies, selling is not about being pushy and aggressive. In fact, those of us in sales know that we reap the greatest rewards when it is quite the opposite. Especially during these scary times, you must be mindful and empathetic to peoples’ time and NEEDS. Sometimes, what you are selling is not what the customer is looking for, and that is alright.
However, you DO need to spend time learning what is right for the customer. If your product or service does not meet the customer’s needs, it is not the salesperson’s role to attempt to change their mind, it’s to find the next customer who needs it. Oftentimes suggesting an alternative solution that is not your own product or service will pay dividends in the long run too. A prospect will likely appreciate that you took the time to learn their needs, and in turn they may keep you top of mind for when they have a need you could support. As the saying goes in business, sometimes you must kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince or princess. A successful salesperson prospects for customers who could benefit from their product or service, and only then should you use your persuasive expertise to prove to the customer that you can effectively meet their needs.
Now that we have that out of the way, how DO you beat out the competition by simply being YOURSELF? I have learned that by far the most successful salespeople learned the fundamentals of selling from a coach or mentor who encouraged them to be themselves. Too many people in our business never reach their full potential because they learned from someone with a skewed perspective of what works in selling. What worked for them or made them successful does not mean it will work for you or anyone else. Finding your own voice, building strong relationships and trust with the customer, being empathetic to THEIR needs, and doing business in a way that makes you AND the client feel comfortable— that is how you beat out the competition. At the end of the day, customers will buy from people they like, so forming authentic relationships is key. Where do you start? Seek out opportunities to make a potential customer’s life easier, their workload lighter, and their goals more attainable. You don’t need to be the smartest person in the room; find ways to learn something from every person you meet. Embrace who you are and your unique talents —and I assure you, the right customer will also embrace those qualities and will want to do business with you! And while electronic communication has a place in business relationships, make sure you pick up the phone and speak to your prospects or meet them face to face (socially distant perhaps). Anyone can send an email with a boatload of boring information, but that isn’t likely to establish a relationship. Don’t be afraid to probe and ask the difficult questions. Be different, be YOURSELF, and get to know your customer while they get to know YOU.
Success is driven by the customer buying - not people SELLING. Believe in your ability to succeed by being yourself, as that will automatically set you apart from competitors who show up and talk too much, neglect to ask the right questions, and fail to come across as genuine. Genuine salespeople know their product or service is not for everyone, and when they display that they have no bias, their credibility skyrockets. The majority of successful salespeople are not aggressive and pushy people naturally, but are those that can help solve a business problem. So be yourself, learn the fundamentals, find a great mentor, and watch yourself be incredible!