Selling is like dancing: you have to work at it to make it look natural!
When I mention “sales”, I know what some of you think: “that’s not me”. Guess what? It’s not me either. In fact, I don’t think it’s anyone. Saying that “he or she is a natural born sales person” is an excuse we have for not being good at something. Selling is a bit like dancing. We can all do it – it’s just that some people put in the hours to make it look like they can REALLY do it. They don’t, despite the stories we tell ourselves, come out of the womb dancing!
Here are 5 tips that will help you hone your sales moves. You might never be king or queen of the dance floor, but they will make sure that you can hold your own and even pull the attractive looking sort with the nice smile!
1. Don’t ever hide from the “signals of truth”.
When we sell, if we notice the tiniest signal, we have to explore it. This signal can be “bad” (they seem to think we are charging too much), or “good” (the customer seems to like spending time with me learning about us). The real truth is, signals aren’t as simple as being “good” or “bad”, but they are ALWAYS worth further exploring because signals on the dance floor they aren’t always what they seem!
SALES SKILL THAT HELPS: Tune in to the moment – really switch on your instincts. And ask questions – particularly probing ones. “John, when you say ‘you haven’t seen that before’, how do you mean exactly?”
2. Make sure you are solving the real problem.
Last month I thought I had a sore knee from dancing, but it was actually referred pain from my lower back and the way my office seat was set up. Your customers will have similar pain, and sometimes they too think it’s the wrong one. They could be looking in the wrong area of the business, or the wrong part of their spreadsheet. Your job in sales is to find out what the real challenge is. As Natural Training Founder Matt Drought says: “Just because the client says it’s the problem doesn’t mean it’s the problem.”
SALES SKILL THAT HELPS: Put your Trusted Advisor hat on. The overall process is called “selling”, but during the consultation period you are more like a Doctor, and definitely less like a used car salesman.
3. Less lips, more lobes.
Too much talking is the equivalent of that drunk guy at the wedding dominating the dance-floor. You must absolutely be talking less and listening more in sales. Nothing that you have to say warrants interrupting a client when they are in flow. Show them you are listening by taking notes, nodding considerately and encouraging them with small verbal prompts and probes.
SALES SKILL THAT HELPS: Pretend that they are the most interesting person on earth, and that you are hearing their situation for the first time, not the 100th. Use your smartphone to record the conversation, and you won’t miss a beat!
4. Prove it!
Clients get a certain reassurance from knowing that you have helped others like them. You don’t want to be a know-it-all, but you are also pretty switched on to the needs of your customers, so you need to mention it. When you are talking proof, don’t forget some numbers. If you are in business, then you must at some level impact the balance sheet.
SALES SKILL THAT HELPS: If you have won some awards at previous dance competitions, then weave them carefully into your conversation. Little communication bites, not too much, or too many, and certainly only the relevant ones!
5. Time kills deals.
If you don’t close the deal in enough time, then the dance floor empties, and soon it’s you standing there alone holding a warm glass of wine, swaying along to “My Heart Will Go On”. If there is only one thing that you get from this article, it’s that “Time Kills Deals”. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your customer is sitting there marvelling at your proposal, in the process of “making a decision”. It’s actually the opposite – they have got on with their jobs, other priorities have taken over, and all your hard work may have been for nothing.
SALES SKILL THAT HELPS: Think of a sale as a staircase. Without providing a clear next step, your customer will stop. Your job is driving them to the next step, while they have the energy to do so!
I really hope that helps for the next time you pull on your selling shoes, which is every day we go to work! Let me know any stories you have of putting some of this into action, or contact us if you would like to sharpen your dance moves! Our sales training
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