Make A Friend And Make The Sale


A lot of our business life is spent selling. We have to sell our products and services, of course, but that’s only part of it. What we really have to sell is ourselves.

Human nature is pretty consistent. If we’re going to purchase something we prefer to do it from a person we like. That means somebody we trust and with whom we feel an affinity of some sort.

Research into consumer buying patterns continually shows that this is at least as critical as any other aspect of making a sale. The products and services you’re selling are important too, of course, but usually these, or very similar products and services, are available from other sources. Unless you’ve got the trust of your prospect and they like you, you probably won’t get the sale.

How do you create this trust? How can you make somebody you’ve never previously met like you when you’re trying to sell them something? Try incorporating these simple techniques into your selling to gain customer trust.

      1.  Be interested in the customer. Actively listen to what they have to say. Too often we’re busy thinking
           about what our response will be to comments they have made rather than listening to what they are
           actually telling us. This means we miss out on all the opportunities they are providing us with to learn
           what it is they really want and to fashion our response to answer just how we’ll do that.

      2.  Ask questions that actually draw information out of the prospect about their particular needs. Open-
           ended questions work a lot better than just ones that can be answered ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Make it a rule to
           listen more than you talk, even if the other person doesn’t seem to be saying much; and don’t try to
           dominate the conversation.

      3.  Sell the benefits, not the product. It’s amazing how many competent sales professionals fall down on
           this point. The product may have some brilliant features, but what your prospect really wants to know is
           how they’ll benefit from owning it. This means that you need to first find out what they need, then tell
           them how your product or service will deliver it.

      4.  Prepare for objections. Objections aren’t necessarily a negative and can, in fact, be a very strong buying
           signal. The more expensive the item the more likely it is that the prospect has a need to justify the
           expenditure. When they query price you can help them with their decision by staying positive rather
           than going on the defensive.

      5.  Don’t let nerves get the better of you. It’s normal to be a bit nervous about ‘selling’ but this can be a
           real turn-off. Who wants to be around somebody whose palms are sweaty and hands are shaking? So
           relax and focus on trying to help your prospect through the decision. Think of your role as one of
           guiding rather than arm bending.

      6.  Live up to their expectations. What do you hope for when embarking on a purchasing expedition?
           Generally, it’s that you will meet with friendly people who are helpful without being pushy; people who
           are neatly presented and full of product knowledge. Is this you? You don’t have to be a clone of your
           prospect’s vision of ‘the perfect salesperson’, but you should resemble it enough to win their trust.

      7.  Do your homework, its part of being helpful. Learn all you can about your competitors, their pricing, their
           product’s features and benefits, and how they sell the same sort of product or service as you do. Your
           prospects want you to be an expert, or at least know a lot more than they do, about what you’re
           selling and why you’re the best business to deal with.

The relationship between the salesperson and the prospect is at least as important as what it is that’s being sold. This isn’t all there is to learn about salesmanship, but it is one of the essential basics that everybody in business needs to know and practice.

Until next week,
Mike Reddy