Hate to sell? Even if you’re not in a sales position, per se, don’t make the mistake of thinking you don’t ever have to sell. Speakers, trainers, customer service reps, headhunters, lawyers, creatives, and all sorts of other professionals need the ability to captivate and persuade an audience. And a CEO and other executives and managers should certainly be able to sell the company and its products or services just as well as—if not better than—its top salespeople.
Learning sales may seem daunting and even undesirable. But once you master a few basic sales skills, the process of selling becomes less of a challenge and more of an opportunity. Here’s an easy approach that provides the framework for anyone to make the sale, even if they hate the thought of it or have no experience with it.
Do Your Homework
Start by learning about the company, group, or individual you’ll be approaching. What do they do? What are the possible problems they face? What solutions might they be looking for? Even a superficial knowledge helps you answer these questions. If this is a warm contact, consider asking the person making the introduction for some insights. Check out LinkedIn, Twitter, and the company website. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes and figure out what they want and how they can benefit from your presentation.
The information you gather will help you with your next important task:
Create a Unique Value Proposition (or Two)
Create a unique value proposition tailored for the company, group, or person you’re talking to. Value propositions include the benefits, results, and/or solutions you can provide. What does your target market really want? If you’re selling BMWs, a leather interior is a feature; the prestige imparted by the brand is a benefit. People are less interested in the actual thing and really want to know what it will do for them.
Always remember: People buy benefits, results, and solutions.
Bridge the Behavioral Gap to Build Rapport
If you deal with every lead and customer the same way, you’ll only connect with about 25 to 30 percent of your contacts because you’ll only connect with one behavioral type. Different behavior types mean different priorities, different reasons for doing business, different communication styles, different paces for reaching a conclusion, and other differences that affect your case-by-case ability to connect meaningfully and sell.
You have to understand, recognize, and adapt to the style of each person. We’re not talking some surface level mimicry for the purpose of manipulation, but a tool to build rapport and serve a potential client the best way possible. People only buy from individuals they feel like they know, and that they like and trust. That’s rapport. And once you develop it, people also offer their repeat business and provide referrals for you.
Becomes the go-to person; no one has the interest, time, or money to risk an unknown.
Listen, Listen, Listen
Listen to your audience. Good salespeople listen more than they speak—and this should be appealing to you if you think you hate selling—and they always ask their contacts why they want something. Focus on understanding the customer’s needs so you can then offer an appropriate solution.
It’s pretty natural to hate sales if you think of it in that stereotypical way of being pushy and repeatedly trying to talk people into buying something. We all hate that. But strong salespeople see what they do as delivering solutions so they can build a business, not simply trying to make a single sale time after time. Long-term thinking means building mutually rewarding relationships by improving life for their clients. And this is a much more enjoyable, lucrative alternative that makes it easy to like selling much better.
Building rapport is such an essential part of succeeding in sales. See our free e-book below for more information: