3 ways you can become a better salesperson
With the rise of brand advocates, influencers and thought leadership, selling is increasingly becoming part of everyone’s job. In organisations anyone who comes into contact with customers can be considered a salesperson. It’s something that I’ve come to realise I’ve been doing since the age of 15 when I started my first Saturday job running the convenience store on the local caravan site. The selling continued during sixth form selling fish and chips and pizzas in a takeaway, during university ‘selling’ the college welfare services my friend Melissa and I were guardians of, during my time as a teacher ‘selling’ Geography as a subject of choice at GCSE and A level, on London campuses selling my own experience in the classroom as a way to inspire others to follow in my footsteps, and during my time at EY selling the opportunities for school leavers to join us. And now, as an entrepreneur running my own business the story is no different.
However, not everyone makes a good salesperson do they? I’ve seen too many pitches, presentations and speeches fail to deliver key brand messages because the wrong person was given the job in the first place. But after reading Daniel Pink’s To Sell Is Human : The Surprising Truth About Persuading, Convincing and Influencing Others, in preparation for the last Think Differently Book Club, I wanted to start 3 ways in which we can all become better salespeople for our brands.
Listen to your customers, and appreciate their differences
One of my favourite things about working is branding is having the opportunity to understand more about what motivates people, what makes them tick. When you understand what people are thinking it makes it much easier to adjust your sales pitch towards giving them something they want to hear, increasing the likelihood of a sale. When applied to employer branding, the development of brand personas through qualitative research methods does exactly this. It allows you the opportunity to understand priorities, barriers, success factors, the buyer journey and the decision-making factors at play. With this knowledge you can create brand messages that your customers will attune with, creating meaningful relationships that will inform future purchases.
Stop taking rejection personally
No matter the situation it’s always hard when the answer is ‘no’. Positivity during the sales process has been proven to help broaden perspectives, allowing you to see the customer’s problems better and propose alternative solutions if your initial solution is rejected. Research also shows that those who see the rejection as temporary after it has occurred, rather than dwelling and overanalysing as we all so often do, are likely to sell more over time. Sometimes the customer was just having a bad day.
Help to find the problems rather than solve them
Helping customers to see their situations in a fresh light and from new angles, is one way in which we can all provide clarity, especially in an age where information is at our finger tips and many of us may as a result feel we have lost our value as providers of information. I’ve always liked the phrase ‘you can’t be, what you can’t see’ and it’s particularly insightful here. We’ve all worked that one project, our baby, that we protect with our life. Taking criticism as a personal attack in the most extreme cases. Often a fresh set of eyes on a problem to be solved can bring new ways of thinking, and help customers to see that they held the solution all along, and research has also shown that by giving fewer choices, not more, we help to reduce the cognitive burden felt.
By making your efforts personal and purposeful, sales can become so much more than a mere exchange of resources. Aim to be of service, and where you can, convey the higher purpose of the direction in which you are encouraging your customers to travel.