Guest Post by Gabby Miele
Salespeople sometimes get a bad rap. Sometimes the word salesperson conjures an image of an unauthentic person who tells you what you want to hear instead of the truth.
Some say that salespeople are pushy and disingenuous. Some companies’ business plans are based upon the idea that customers don’t like salespeople, so they try to disguise their sales teams as “technical experts” who will help you choose the right product for your situation.
If you are a salesperson, you have probably faced resistance from customers. Customers may put their guard up around you because they don’t want to be tricked into buying something they don’t want or need
As a sales professional, how do you counteract these negative stereotypes and still perform the job that your company hired you to do?
Here are some tips on how to win your audience on your next sales call.
The best salespeople aren’t those with the gift of gab. Instead, the best salespeople are good listeners. They listen as their clients talk about their business. They pay attention to the problems companies are facing and ask pointed follow-up questions to verify that they understand. They say phrases like, “so if I understand correctly . . .” or “I hear that your main issue is . . .”
Good salespeople aren’t afraid of silence during a conversation, either. Sometimes a customer is more likely to open up during those moments and share their biggest concerns.
Again, part of how to win an audience is understanding a client’s needs. This can be completed by listening to them as they talk about their struggles, but it can also come by research that you conduct before the meeting even begins.
For example, if you are talking with a team of real estate agents, you need to understand how important it is that they are able to communicate quickly with clients. You also need to know how competitive the industry is — especially since websites like Zillow entered the scene.
If you sell farm equipment, you wouldn’t visit law firms on Michigan Avenue to see if they are in the market for a new tractor. This would be preposterous, but similar techniques are used in sales every day.
Marketing teams and salespeople think that by throwing a wide net over a vast area that they will be lucky enough to find a few clients who need their company’s product or service.
But if you can use technology to narrow down your list of potential clients into a manageable number. Then you can use account-based marketing to create an experience with those clients that they will remember. For example, what if you were able to provide individual, interactive communication to everyone who visits your website? What could that kind of service do for your sales numbers?
Consider thinking of yourself as a product specialist rather than a salesperson. Whether or not it is part of your formal training, spend your own time learning the particulars of all the products in your portfolio. Think about what questions you would ask a salesperson of your product, and find answers to those questions.
Spend time researching your competitors as well. Find out what makes their products or services better or worse.
Being able to answer customers' questions quickly tells your potential client that you care about their time. You won’t waste it by trying to find out information that you should already know.
We have all experienced frustrating interactions with inept salespeople. Whether its the dishwasher salesperson who answers, “They’re all pretty good,” to the question “What is the most highly rated machine?” Or maybe it’s the copy machine salesperson who doesn’t know the cost of a service call. It’s excruciating dealing with people who don’t know their company’s products or services. No matter what you sell, know your product better than you know the back of your hand.
A good salesperson is subtle when suggesting a call to action. He or she may ask whether Tuesday or Wednesday would be better to schedule your next appointment. Or they may speak as if there is an implied sale.
This age-old sales technique is important to keep the conversation between you and your client flowing.
Unfortunately, some people put off an arrogant vibe without even realizing it. This may come from subtle signs when answering questions or rushing to answer a question before the other person finishes speaking.
Be aware of your mannerisms and how they make other people feel.
Are you ready to tackle your next quota? Use some of these techniques to improve your interaction with potential clients and watch your number soar!
Gabby Miele is an Outreach Analyst and Content Manager in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.