Selling is not for everyone, it is a hard gig that requires that you are able to understand and deal with rejection. All the most successful sales people recognise that the process is not about them, but is all about the prospect.
Even the most likely prospect who will buy, may not be ready to buy right now, so timing and follow up are key components of success. However, the best indicator of success at sales has always been the ability to build empathy, and employ subtle persuasion, by whatever means you can, on top of a solid sales foundation. When the planets align, empathy can lead to engagement that sometimes leads to the transaction.
Having the ability to put yourself in the shoes of your prospect and see things through their eyes is the route to empathy. It is a skill not many have naturally, but can be learnt.
When you are the prospect, the subject of someone else’s efforts to herd you towards that sales transaction, consider the things you might expect from the sales hopeful:
- They treat your time with great respect
- They recognise that the risks of change outweigh the maintenance of the status quo by a large amount therefore there must be some compelling reason to make a switch.
- They assume that your expertise is valuable, and that you have no obligation to answer question after question aimed at understanding your business. They do their homework before bothering you.
- They understand that there is a buying process in place in your organisation, and that it will be followed in almost all circumstances.
- They understand that the purchase decision for anything new, or that requires change will go through a number of tests and barriers. It is their job to supply you with all the information and arguments you might need in their absence, to carry the decision internally. Obtaining buy in from others in the organisation for a change, is a challenging task, and even if you are well on board with the change, you will probably need their help to bring others in the organisation, sometimes more removed from the consequences of the decision, and sometimes directly impacted, to the same conclusion.
- They understand that your actions will be driven by your best interests, in all its forms, not theirs
- They understand your purchase patterns, as well as the process, and do not set out to disrupt them, rather work with them, which usually means the process takes longer than they would like on the odd occasion you decide to make the change.
- They understand that the incumbent supplier is unlikely to just stand around and let their business be taken by an alternative supplier, so they are ready for the debate.
If they did all these things, would you be persuaded?
When you need help with any of this stuff, let me know.
Illustration credit; shchambers.com