Want to build immediate trust, be seen as a trusted advisor and dramatically increase your chance of making the sale? As a sales trainer and coach for the last couple of decades, I often dig into the nuances of what my clients can do to become more effective. There are so many little things that, in combination, can make a huge difference in results.
Among these are also two fundamental things that you can start doing immediately, which by themselves, can really transform how you sell and who buys from you. And they are quite simple and easy to implement.
It’s the intent and mindset you approach your prospects with. I’m thinking specifically when you have a “first” sales meeting with them, but it works with any interaction for that matter. In most sales training or coaching, we are taught that when you meet with a prospect for the first time, your objective is “to make the sale.” I couldn’t disagree more.
Let me give you a brief explanation of why I’m so convinced this is the wrong approach. When your focus is “to make the sale,” it becomes obvious to your prospect. The questions you ask and the things you say tend to exert sales pressure, even if it’s subtle. It’s hard not to disguise the fact that you are leading your prospect down a path to “yes.” Let’s face it, even if someone needs your product or service, no one likes to be sold to. And chances are you come across as pushy, or at the very least, solely out for your own agenda.
So what if, instead, of focusing on “making the sale,” you entered the meeting with two other objectives? These would be “to seek the truth” and “to be helpful.” If your goal in a first-time meeting is “to seek the truth” instead of “make the sale,” everything shifts. Your questions become those that help you have a deeper and clearer understanding of your prospect (without any sales pressure). It will immediately put your prospect at ease and you will find that they trust you more implicitly, usually sharing much more than they would otherwise.
The truth of the matter is that we don’t know how our products or service can help our prospect until we really understand more about them, what they currently do or use, what their challenges and opportunities are, etc. Another tip here, ask open-ended questions (with no implied expectation).
When you think about this approach, it’s clear that the whole dynamic of the conversation changes when your goal is “to seek the truth.” You set the stage for an open and transparent exchange where both parties are comfortable in having a more relaxed and enjoyable exchange. You build trust and you create a deeper connection (not too shabby if you want to become an ace salesperson).
The second intent you should focus on when meeting or speaking with a prospect is “to be helpful.” And that doesn’t mean by pushing your product or service, no matter how great it is. The reality is that sometimes your product or service is not the best solution for them. But as an expert in your field with lots of connections and knowledge, you will probably discover that there are helpful insights, advice, recommendations, and introductions that you could provide your prospect or customer. Often, these have nothing at all to do with your products or services, but sometimes they might. In fact, you may even recommend a competitor if it’s the right thing to do!
So before you go into that next sales meeting, embrace the mindset of “seeking the truth” and “being helpful.” You’ll be amazed at how these two simple intentions change everything!