Article #35, July, 2005
Gaining Sales Confidence ---
Sometimes It’s What You DON’T Say
Are you concerned about your sales abilities? Most of my clients have these concerns. In my very long- term sales experience, I have found that most of the problems can be solved with practice and confidence.
Sales is not complicated, but it also is not easy for everyone. The good news is that once you find what works, you do that over and over. Sales also does not have to be high-pressure; you can keep your integrity and incorporate your personality into your sales process.
For many business people, the first step is to get the appointment for the sales meeting. When you’re networking, do you sell your product or service right away? You’re making it too difficult for yourself! All you really need to do is entice your ideal customer to meet with you. Your ideal customer does NOT need to know HOW you’re going to save them $1,000, just that you will.
Once they’re interested, then you sell the appointment. You need to be quick about it if you’re in a networking environment as everyone there wants to talk to multiple people. Here’s an example: After presenting your enticement, you have a conversation with someone. You should ask a few questions and mostly let them talk. You need to find out if this person is merely trying to sell you their MLM business, or if they’re truly interested in what you have to offer.
Be interested in their business and ask questions that help you determine if this person is someone with whom you would like to do business. At the same time, you’ll learn a bit about her to see if you might be able to refer business to her (always be thinking about how you can give as well as receive). Listen, then listen more. Once you have determined that you would like to have a one-on-one meeting with her, ask for the appointment.
“You seem interested in my product/service and I’m very interested in talking more about it with you. Do you have your calendar with you? Would you like to set up a time for us to get together? I have Thursday at 2:30 for coffee or Monday for lunch available. Does one of those times work for you?” Then, be quiet! Do not talk again until after she does!
Two sales mistakes women often make are 1) We talk too much! and 2) We tell everything about HOW we do what we do. One of the most important rules in sales is to ask for the sale, then stop talking! The first person to talk ‘loses’!
So, ask for the appointment and wait as long as it takes for the answer. If the times you give don’t work for her, she’ll tell you. Offering choices instead of just “when would you like to meet?” is easier for you and for her.
At the time of the appointment, I suggest you have an agenda and run the meeting. Know what questions you want to ask in advance. She will likely have questions, too. In your questioning, you should be able to answer many of her questions before she asks them, and be able to address her objections before she mentions them. You should already know why someone might not buy from you and address those objections before she asks.
By the end of the meeting you should know whether or not you want to do business with her, and whether or not she is interested in doing business with you. You could ask her if she has any other questions, then you need to ask for the sale. This is the part that scares people the most, and it’s really quite easy.
You want a yes (preferably) or a no, but not a maybe. “How would you like to move forward today?” “I would really like to do business with you; do you want to do business with me?” “I would be thrilled to work with you. What is our next step?” You are clearly asking for the sale, but it’s not high- pressure and will be well received. Some professionals will not give you their business if you don’t ask. Experiment to see what works best for you.
After you ask – BE QUIET! Remember, the first person to speak ‘loses’!
Keep in mind that “no” doesn’t always mean “never”. It often means “not right now”. Sometimes it’s hard to differentiate when you’re talking with women in particular, as they don’t want to hurt your feelings. Some will actually say “not right now” when they really mean no! If you get that response, you can ask “when would you like me to get back in touch with you?” You don’t want to waste your time, but it’s up to them to say no if they really mean no.
The best thing you can do to build your confidence is to get out there and do it. If you are trying something new, like calling people you’ve met, try out your new system on your mediocre prospects first. Call your best prospects after you’ve messed up a few times and gained some confidence!
Start today. Go to a networking event with the intention of getting 3 appointments. Call your mailing list and get 5 appointments. Practice. You can do this!