Good sales people live in a virtuous spiral. They seem to succeed effortlessly. They are confident. In fact, that’s the trait the nonprofessional notices the most–that confidence. So much so that they identify that as a characteristic, a good salesperson needs to be confident.
I think that putts the cart before the horse. Expert sales people, no matter what they are selling, have honed their craft. They’ve been doing it for a while and have a relationship with legion of satisfied customers.
They get referrals–lots of them. And the people who come to them are prepared to trust them.
Most people hate to be sold to, but they love to be helped.
Several years ago my wife and I went furniture shopping. . She wanted a couch and a couple of chairs recliners. I was invited to go along.
I was not surprised at the experience. As soon as we walked into a store, a salesperson with hungry look in his eyes would descend on us, practically trying to close the sale as soon as the conversation started. Even when we said we were going to look around a bit, he hovered. It was distracting and irritating.
In one store, the experience was different. The salesman welcomed us to his store and invited us to look around. Even though my defenses were up in full force, he quickly defused them.
“Buying furniture is similar to buying a car,” he said. “It’s tough to make a decision when you really don’t know enough to make a decision. Most people end up making a decision based on looks and price. Many times they are disappointed. Let me show you some things about form and function that makes for quality furniture.”
He then spent an hour showing us the basics. The designs that were built for show and those that were made for comfort. Features that made up a fine piece and the short cuts manufacturers make to reduce the cost. He explained what those short cuts meant to us in regards to comfort and durability.
He spent some time chatting with my wife about our home, helping her refine her thoughts about design and fabrics.
We bought our furniture from him.
We also told our friends about him. From that one afternoon, he made several sales over the years.
Why? Because he didn’t NEED to make the sale. Because he didn’t NEED it, he was free to concentrate on us and our needs not his. He was freed up to communicate his expertise. To uncover the problem. To offer a solution.
How do you get to that point?
Make yourself an expert on your product and its benefits to your customer. Make yourself an expert on your customer.
And the confidence part? Well, sometimes you have fake it, until you make it.