The internet has redistributed knowledge power. An expert used to be the person who held the answers but with Google, Wikipedia and other platforms its getting easier to become informed about almost anything. This has caused major disruptions for many industries. From education to medicine, from retail to automobiles, a buyer is now able to get informed fast and stay informed on demand. This is driving an evolution in the selling process and it’s one that business needs to be tracking.
Take a travel agent who competes on price, with smart phones and other portable devices a customer is price shopping while sitting across from them. How does she set herself apart now? This is a shift in power from the seller to the buyer.
Bottom line – your clients and customers are more sophisticated than they have ever been and are now in the driver’s seat. Old school sales people relying on closing techniques and slick moves are going to find it harder and harder to survive. We would suggest that they are extinct but just don’t know it yet. It’s not easy though to completely revolutionalise how you approach selling, it is however essential that you do – its a completely new world.
Respectful Commercial Conversations
It’s also about developing the right thinking (mindset), what you need to say (conversation) and the right tone (energetic state) for each and every selling conversation. This applies to each stage of the conversation: before, during and at the decision point.
Leveraged: The mindset before a sales conversation is leveraged, recognising that sales is a numbers game. When people are weak at sales, and not powerful with commercial conversations, it generally comes back to a fear of rejection. Anybody with self worth issues (which is just about everyone on the planet) risks collapsing in a sales meeting with a personal rejection. Instead of understanding that the prospect is saying no to the product we’re selling, at some level we interpret the no as a saying no to us, to rejecting us. Thinking about sales as a numbers games helps eliminate that. There is an expected conversation rate.
Sold: The first sale is always to yourself. If you are not sold, no one else will be. Your work before the sales meeting is to make sure you are sold – energetically you need to be convinced that what you are selling is going to provide value to the client. If you aren’t sold yourself, you’re not ready to have a sales meeting. You know you are sold when you wish that you were a customer just so you could get what it is you’re selling.
Clean: The conversation before the actual meeting needs to be a clean set up. Be upfront and transparent about what the meeting is about. If the purpose of the meeting is to talk about what it is, tell the prospect about what it is you do, find out if they need it and to make a commercial offer, both parties need to know beforehand what is on the agenda.
Selective: During the meeting the most powerful mindset is selective – be very clear that you are choosing your clients. Get clear before you meet about what type of people you want to work, what sort of work you do, and how you want to work. One of our mantras is do work you love with people you like the way you want. During the meeting you are interviewing the prospect just as much as they are interviewing you, determining if they are someone that you can help, that you would want to and that you would enjoy hanging out with. If not, be prepared to walk away. Paradoxically if this is authentic it makes you much more attractive. If it is clear that you won’t just work with anyone and there is a bar that the prospect has to reach to become your client, the prospect of working with you does become more attractive.
Dance: During the sales conversation the energy is that of a dance. While you have prepared what you are going to say about how you work, the problems you solve, and what your great thinking is, you can’t recite this like a written speech.
Clicking: The conversation to have during the sales meeting is a clicking process. Conviction selling isn’t diagnostic selling. You don’t go into the meeting trying to find out what’s happening in their world, you go in already having a hypothesis about what their problems are and how you can solve them. You have to know their world to have the right to be selling to them in the first place.
Surrendered: Your energy at this point is linked to allowing the prospect to make their decision – at this point you are surrendered. You are not attached to the outcome. You might want to work together, but you don’t need to. We’ve all had the experience of being sold to by someone who was attached to the result. They needed the money, or they had a sales target they needed to hit. That desperation comes through their pores, and we want to run a mile. Your energy, your being at this point is that you are fine either way. It’s linked to your mindset from before the meeting, and knowing it is a numbers game.
If you get these things right then you are starting to step up into 21st century selling. You are moving from simply selling stuff to making a difference. You are moving from trying to convince others that you have good stuff, to standing in the true belief, the conviction, that what you offer is exceptional. That is of course unless it’s not and then all you can do is bait and switch, trick and grab and interrupt people at dinner time with your ‘no better than anyone else’s’ offer. We probably should have mentioned up front that this stuff won’t work for mediocre products and services. The first sale really is to yourself, you have to believe in what your selling.