Before I started my agency I spent some time as a professional sales trainer. One of the questions I would ask as we’d start each class is “When I say, SALESMAN, what’s the first word that comes to mind?” I would get words like Crook, Thief, Liar, Rip Off – the list goes on. Never would I hear something like “honorable” or “trustworthy”.
How can you become great at something when you don’t really believe in it? The simple answer is – you can’t.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. If you want to truly master sales and negotiating – it’s not as hard as you’ve made it out to be in your mind.
The Key To Sales = Listening
Professional sales isn’t about tricks, tactics or even having the right background. It’s more about listening than anything. Thomas Jefferson said, “The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.”
As a professional salesperson, you should be listening more than talking. When you do talk, get to the point and ask for the business. Show them how you’re the right person to solve their problems. It’s just that simple.
Think about selling in three parts:
- Create POSITIVE BUZZ about you and your work.
- Make others WANT YOU to be part of their team.
- Make your customers EXCITED about referring you.
If you want to make the phone ring, pick it up! Get away from your computer and start talking to people. Use social media. Share little pieces every day. Make some noise.
Business owners across the world need your help. Listen to them to identify the root of their problems, then provide solutions that can solve them.
Do good work. Deliver on time. Exceed expectations. Solve problems. Prove returns. Sometimes it’s easier said than done, but when you have the integrity to do what you say you’ll do and then you do it, you win fans, not customers.
Nail the Deal
Selling is just one part of the bigger process. Once you’ve got a client on board it’s time to step up, work hard, and become valuable.
Before you enter a negotiation it’s important to develop a comfort with closing. This can only happen with solid preparation and front work.
Negotiating tends to be one of the most stressful actions in the sales process for many people. Keep in mind that it’s stressful for your prospects too.
Your job, as a professional salesperson, is to work the earlier stages of the sale so well that closing becomes a natural conclusion. If both parties benefit – both parties should be excited about working together (See step #2).
Your comfort with the entire negotiation and closing process will come from one thing – preparation.
If you’ve taken the time to research your prospect, listen to their challenges, and offer clear solutions the negotiation will be simple. There won’t be one.
If you find yourself wanting to cut your price to win the job, don’t. You have to know what your work is worth and you have to be willing to stick with it. Adjust the scope of the project or ask more questions to provide a better solution.
Negotiations are about finding a comfort zone. If you haven’t made your prospect comfortable, then you’re missing something. Keep at it until you put them totally at ease.
Side Note: Be careful about getting too personal.
During any sales process, you have no problems. People like to do business where business is being done.
This should be fairly easy unless your prospect starts bringing up their personal challenges with you. At that point, you might have a tendency to join in. Don’t. Do what you can to minimize it. Empathize. Care about their situation. Help if you feel it’s appropriate, but avoid matching your personal challenges with theirs. Never forget – it’s all about them. Not you.
Leave a comment and tell me your tips and strategies for making sales and negotiating deals. Everyone has their own style and I’d love to hear yours. You never know, you might help someone else.