“Everyone lives by selling something.” Robert Louis Stevenson.
Selling has been called an art by many, and very rightly so. Selling something is not just about the product or the service delivered. It is also about the deftness with which the client is convinced, the rapidity with which the deal gets closed and the satisfaction that all the parties derive out of it. Whether you are selling a new software application to your client, a new farming equipment to a farmer or a new house to a prospective buyer, you need to master the nuances of the art to make every deal you handle successful. The internet is overflowing with advice on becoming a great salesperson; yet, there are a few basic things you need to make your second nature if you are looking to make great breakthroughs in selling.
Create Demand Where None Exist
When Graham Bell first demonstrated his telephone, people dubbed it as ‘yet another scientific toy’. It was only after years of persistence that people began warming up to the idea of communicating remotely through the telephone. Same was the case with the first railroad. People thought they would die if they traveled at a speed of over thirty miles per hour. Yet, you cannot imagine life today without the railways. The point here is, every great idea first met with resistance and reluctance. As a salesperson, you have to keep up your sales efforts despite hurdles so that the day will come when someone will exult over your idea and embrace it with both hands. Persistence and Perseverance are the twin horses that pull the wagon of sales in any field.
Show Clients You Understand
You must have probably come across advice to parents asking them to lend a listening ear to their children if they want their wards to grow into empathetic and loved children. This basic rule of parenting holds good for selling too. As a salesperson you try to give the impression to your clients that you really care about them. You must be willing to listen, and listen carefully, what the client is saying even though you have already researched every bit of information about him. Like the doctor who, just by observing an obese patient munching chips and smoking cigarettes, deduces that the patient is going to have a heart problem; yet, he goes through all the motions of checking the patient’s blood pressure, asking him about his lifestyle and inquiring where it hurts, and then pronounces his verdict as if it was the patient’s talk that brought him to that conclusion.
Do remember two critical points here – be proud of what you are selling and learn every nuance, the nitty-gritty of your product or service. You will never be able to offer solutions to your client’s challenges and problems if you are not 100% familiar with what you are selling.
And a big secret! Always be aware of your unique selling point/proposition, that ‘something’ that makes your product or service unique as compared with competitive offerings. Spend some quality time thinking about this – it will make selling anything that much easier!
Be Firm on Your Feet and Make an Impression
When you try to get in touch with a prospective client, either by walking up to his office or through a cold call, the first person you are likely to encounter is the gatekeeper – the dreaded receptionist or secretary. Using a firm authoritative tone will get them on their feet fast to pass your message to the boss inside. It doesn’t mean that you have to be rude or show arrogance; you command respect by appearing confident and assertive. The same tone will help with the client too when you put across what you have to offer to him. Nobody is going to give a second thought to the guy who himself isn’t sure why he is selling something or does not like what he is selling.
Put Forward Your Best Foot (and Face)
Imagine a harrowed looking man with crumpled hair, creased clothes, eyes with bags beneath them large enough to carry the week’s groceries, and carrying a haphazard bunch of papers from which he just can’t seem to find out that one sheet that he wants to show you. How long do you think you will be interested in listening to him and buy what he has to offer? Spare your clients those nasty smells from your unwashed socks and the ordeal of having to tolerate your unkempt self just because they agreed to meet you. Clean, wash, shave yourselves and go to meet your clients in neat, ironed and appropriate clothes. You don’t have to be a Hugo Boss wearing, Mont Blanc clutching brand fanatic. Just simple neat clothes will do. Also, it doesn’t take much to keep your papers organized, but it goes a long way in giving the impression that you take your job seriously. The secret is coming across as a professional and not as someone desperate to dump something on the client and scamper away. And oh yes, the smile! A bright face makes a positive impression on the person opposite like no other.
Be Pleasant, but Don’t Stoop
Yes, we all know that the Customer is the King. As a salesperson you have probably been trained to be cordial with your client, gain his trust by getting on friendly terms with him, help him make the right buy and ease the process of buying for him. However, there may be times when the customer may demand a bit too much from you, like asking you to take the price a bit too down or turn a blind eye to a couple of kinks in the process. As someone looking to clinch more and more deals to add to your kitty of success, this might seem very tempting; however, true success lies in overcoming temptations. It will do you loads of good professionally (why, even personally) to say no at times when you ought to, and to not give in to everything that the customer demands. He might be the king, but you certainly are not a slave. And for all it matters, the customers might actually be testing you, trying to gauge how sincere you are in what you say and stand up for. So it always helps to maintain your dignity and professionalism. Remember, you cannot always oblige, but you can always speak obligingly.
The secrets shared above are not only for the use of people in sales. They apply to everyone as, at some point in our lives, we sell something to someone. It could be selling the idea of a sleepover with a friend to your mother, or a teacher selling the concept of science to her students. Apply these secrets in any walk of life and you will find that they will fit as snugly as they do with salespersons.
Visual Courtesy: https://www.flickr.com/photos/125303894@N06/