IT’S NO SURPRISE THAT SALESPEOPLE have a bad reputation. As Morry Morgan describes in his LinkedIn post, ‘Why do your Salespeople Suck?’ he reminds us that while accountants studied accounting at university, and engineers studied engineering, sales people have no formal qualification. Salespeople have “no standards, no benchmarks or barriers to entry, anyone can become a salesperson; and they do,” says Morgan.
So in short, salespeople are under-qualified. For this reason, I’ve come up with seven tips to help you develop new business, and do it with grace.
1. It is not about turning non-buyers into buyers.
When a potential customer wants you to take him or her off your mailing list, go ahead and gracefully do so. Remember that it is the customer that chooses when to buy, not you, and so you can never ‘close them’ – they close you! Likewise when somebody is really short with you on the phone, show that you recognise their shortage of time by stating:
“Sounds like you are occupied at this moment. When would be a better time for us to discuss the …?”
2. It is not about the product, event, or you; It is about your prospect.
I feel uncomfortable when I ask my potential customer to do something for me. And this is because I am asking for a favour without having earned the goodwill. Instead, shift the conversation from a ‘me-centered’ to a ‘client-centered’ conversation by asking questions and finding out what’s important to the prospect. When I forget about my own success or failure in promoting my company’s services, I gain room to really listen to my clients.
3. Truly believe in your product or service.
If you don’t truly believe in your company’s product or service, then this will be very obvious to your prospect. Believing in your product starts with a deep understand of your product or service and the market as a whole. Become a trusted advisor by becoming a true expert.
4. It is about gaining respect.
You are the ultimate decision maker on how you get treated. You will get respect once you believe in yourself. Your voice, your tone, and your choice of words will reflect your confidence, and in turn, you will gain respect from those around you. Respect cannot be bought; it can only be earned.
5. Discipline is king.
The fifth quality of a great salesperson is discipline. Don’t just rely on your personality to get you through a conversation, rather prepare, prepare and prepare. Have a Features Folder full of evidence, and be ready to use it.
6. Plan ahead.
Don’t slump down in your chair in the morning and then start to think what you will do. Having a list of 10 clients that you will contact prepared before you start the day will ensure that you are productive ready to sell.
7. Stop trying to be likeable!
Your potential clients will buy from you because they respect you. Forget about being liked. Business development, via emails or phone calls, requires more task management skills than people skills at the early stage and it’s going to be very difficult to be ‘liked’. But it is easier to be ‘respected’, especially if you follow my 6 previous steps!