I was having lunch with a friend of mine yesterday who has been working as a car salesman for the past two years now and loves it! I am really excited to see how he has progressed and the way he looks at his role as a salesperson. As we were talking, we got into the concept I have mentioned many times:
Everyone Loves to buy, but we hate to be sold.
Today I want to share a few ways you can easily disarm your customers, whether you are a salesperson or not. My friend and I were sitting there at lunch discussing how he has been doing and the lessons he has learned. He is a young guy, late 20’s and previous to this job was a construction worker/musician. He is a very analytical guy and a few years ago when he realized he wanted to learn more about business and sales, he decided that the BEST way to learn was to just go be a car salesman! So for the past two years he has just been working his tail off learning the trade and this month he was number one. Very cool. When he talks, you can tell he absolutely loves what he’s doing and he has very astutely observed why other salespeople struggle. He made sure that he has taken his time to learn what his customers really want, rather than what he wants to sell them. He jumped into a tough industry with a reputation where customers hate salespeople. And he is changing the game.
So what can you do to be a salesperson everyone loves?
As we have discussed before, salespeople get a bad rap, and for the most part, they deserve it. Many salespeople take shortcuts, try and outsmart us, and don’t actually listen to what we want. But , when we DO run into a professional salesperson – a good one – we immediately spot the difference. We feel at ease, we have fun, we are open to ideas, and we get excited about possibilities, right? So how can you create that environment?
1) Make buying enjoyable
As we talked about selling cars, I brought up the point that every car I have ever bought was an exciting time. When you are in the market for a new car, it can be quite fun, right? I love test driving, comparing, and imagining myself in the right one. But then you meet a salesperson who blows it. The “How can I help you?” is usually the one that kills me. What else could you say? “Looking for a car? That’s fun!” Imagine if the next time you walked onto a car lot, the salesperson was excited for you and just told you that buying a car should be fun. How would you feel? When someone is buying from you, do you make it fun? Remember that people love to buy, so make it as enjoyable as possible.
2) Make it about them
Often, we see salespeople with their own agenda. They are trying to sell us stuff. Often, they get really focused on themselves and their goals, perhaps even thinking about their quotas or pressures of the job. The key to the sale is the person sitting across from you. How well do you know their situation, the people involved in the buying decision, and the emotions involved (fears and desires)? Take the time to really pay attention to what people say and how they say it. When you ask questions, ask genuinely curious questions, not just logical, probing ones.
3)Focus on the little things
When I spoke to my friend, one thing that really got my attention was his observation of how he spent his time. He actually had taken it upon himself to track how much time he was wasting each day for about a month. He would list things like:
- Did nothing for 5 minutes waiting for a customer
- Took a coffee break, could have made calls during the walk to the shop
- Did redundant paperwork for 30 minutes
- and more!
When he added up all of the little breaks or loss of focus, he found that he was wasting a lot of time and he was missing opportunities. He said that he went from making about 20 calls per day to 30 calls per day and actually ended up working less. Read my post on why multitasking is a myth and how you can claim back more of YOUR time.
4) Set your intentions
Another skill that everyone should develop is setting intentions. In order to see the little things clearly and be totally present and have fun, you must align your whole mind and body to it. How many times do you see someone who just kinda jumps right into selling? Do you do that yourself? When you go into a meeting, are you totally in the right headspace, or are you just floating from one to the next? A professional in sales (or any other field for that matter), will make sure that they are READY. Think of it almost like how an athlete mentally rehearses for their big moment. Treat every moment like that. And watch my video for more info on setting your intentions.
5) Remove and ignore distractions
Have you ever been talking to someone and they start to look away thinking you don’t notice something else has caught their eye? How does that make you feel? Yah, terrible! What about when you are talking with someone and they slyly pull out their cellphone from their pocket and do the ol’ glance down while you are still talking? How many times does this happen? Right, all the time. So if you want to stand out, you have to get laser-focused on the person in front of you. That means no glancing at your cellphone, no checking emails, no watching the pretty girl/guy run by, and most importantly, no OTHER work on your mind. You have to also clear your MIND from distractions. It is hard when you are busy, have quotas, financial stress, and any other thoughts that just inundate you every day. But a true professional learns how to switch all of that off and be completely in the NOW. Read my post on focusing for 90 minutes to see how you can get more done each day.
6) Check for understanding
Have you ever been talking with a sales rep and feel as though you stumbled headlong into the “pitch?” Where they feel like since you are talking anyway, they might as well give you the ENTIRE pitch they have been rehearsing. And at the end, they say, “So what do you think?”
Everything in sales is about understanding your customer. Listening to them, asking questions, and checking that you understand. The BEST salespeople understand their customers better than they know themselves. But often, what ends up happening is that salespeople just rehearse a bunch of facts, features, and benefits, and then regurgitate them all over their customers.
Go and read my four part series on why we make decisions based on emotions and see why the facts just don’t work.
The absolute BEST way is to demonstrate your understanding of the customers needs through a conceptual agreement or a paraphrase. And to do it effectively will require some solid insights and the ability to tell the story from the customers eyes. I am going to be launching a training program on this very soon and will include the link here as well. If you want more sales, this is the key.