Coaching Business: Get Your Customers to Say Yes!
By Dr Paul E Adams | July 31, 2003
"Don't Let Your Tongue Cut Your Throat." J Griffith
Your customers will tell you that the two biggest mistakes less-than-stellar salespersons make are not listening and not shutting up. Think about it. How do you feel about the person that pays little attention to what you say, ignores your comments and rattles on and on?
Somehow the elements of effective salesmanship have become distorted. There is much material on topics such as what do you say after you say hello, much material on nabbing the attention of the prospect, and much material on strong closing tactics from a litany of reasons to buy-now, as well as the use of anger and guilt. But too little on simple human relations and a recognition that salesmanship is persuasive conversation, not rote responsive.
And when if comes to selling other businesses- or as they say today, B2B- there are tons of slick presentation tools, such as flip charts, and PowerPoint presentations, but little on getting inside the head of the buyer and little on probing the prospects frame of reference.
These "slick" approaches to selling make a fatal assumption- they assume all of us are the same, thinking we are homogenized creatures, and ignore our individually. While that may work with mass advertising- if does not apply to one on one selling situations.
Whenever you are in a situation that it is important to persuade others to your viewpoint, your chances of success will improve if you understand the quirks, wants, dislikes, problems, and desires of the person(s) you are asking to buy your product, subscribe to your service, do your bidding, join your team, support your cause, and so on.
When you want or need someone to do a certain thing, put a face on the person. It is a mistake to charge ahead without understanding the inner-motivation of your target. How do you feel when you are not treated as an individual? Do you not resent it when those who want something of you forget your individuality?
Try these suggestions the next time you want someone to buy your product or do your bidding.
- Questions, questions, questions. There is no quicker way to uncover the inner workings or psyche of your prospect. Ask about their needs, their background, and their successes. The answers will allow you to piece together a mosaic that will open peep holes to their grey matter.
- Listen. For many in our noise-pollution society listening is a lost art. How do you feel when you know the person you are talking with pretends attention but is not listening, let alone, not understanding what you are saying? Moreover, don't you love it, when you must fight to squeeze in a sentence-while you are subjected to a monologue?
You will find that in mastering the art of persuasion, a fine tuned ear will give you the skill of a Scotland Yard inspector. You will discover that listening will give you clues to understanding how to tailor your message to the interests of others.
We are a selfish lot; most of us put our needs first. We are interested in our welfare, our feelings, our self-importance, and the cliché What's in it for me? Let me put it this way- we are only interested in the person who is interested in us! Robert Ringer had it correct in his book The Art of Intimidation when he made the point that all friendship is based on selfishness- we like a person because of how he or she makes us feel. Not the most wonderful of traits, but if you think about it, you will agree.
As you work on your selling skills, use the basic tools of asking questions and listening with your ears and eyes. If you do so, your closing skills will jump to the top of the scale. To be successful, remember the simple premise of If you want me to be interested in your offer or request, show me you are interested in me.