Does Selling Have to Be Such a Serious Business?

sales relationship

It amazes me when I observe salespeople heading into a major meeting and watch them leave their personality and sense of humor at the door!

And then they use words and phrases which are seldom heard outside of a sales call. It is like they have a different dictionary – a “selling” dictionary with all the selling words in it – many of them unrecognizable in the real world.

They have shifted into “sales mode.”

The ability for us to connect with other people and build a sales relationship “advantage” is still the most dominant differentiator. To create that genuine connection, let’s explore some key elements to keep in mind.

It’s About the Story

Selling is about storytelling with flow, drama, and engaging mental pictures. People love being taken on a journey. We all need to be able to tell an engaging story that captures the audience’s attention and engages them along the way.

To create engagement, it is also not only about the words – 80% of the impact is on what people see, observe, and feel. When selling in this new virtual world, the story takes on even more importance, as the mute button and video off button are only a hand movement away. It’s so easy for your audience to become disengaged.

Trigger the Emotions

The objective of a sales call is typically to move the belief of the individuals from one position to a different position. For example, your presentation attendees may have a pre-conceived point of view that your company is not capable of providing the right solution. Your role is to change that belief.

The way our mind works is unique when it comes to behavior change. People will first make an initial change in perspective based on emotion, and then will subsequently logically rationalize the new position.

The two core emotions are excitement (something good could happen if I do this) and fear (the consequences of not doing this could result in something very bad happening). Remember, over 80% of c-level decisions are made from fear.

These emotions are mostly driven by the personal agendas of the individuals. It is your job to know their personal agendas and trigger the emotions.

Take the Risk

We grow only if we take the risk to do things we have not done before – this is true in sports or any life endeavor.

It is the same with our professional selling careers – for us to grow and be more successful as salespeople, we need to elevate the risk we are prepared to take when we execute.

One of the ways we stretch ourselves is to build a habit of taking a strong point of view… to be bold and adventurous when we engage. If your client has a different point of view – great, let’s discuss it!

Be Yourself

All of us were provided with a unique personality. Use it. Be yourself.

One of the unique ways we create a sales relationship is through laughter. Use your sense of humor to disarm and individualize the people with whom you engage.

Often, when meeting with senior executives, we create a mindset of anxiousness or nervousness.

Remember, you are talking to another human being; they have their personal worries and concerns, fragilities, sensitivities, and weaknesses. No matter what their title! Which, by the way, is one of the reasons I love selling in this virtual world – now I see the CFO at home in his study, personal trappings, and baseball cap on!

I encourage you to treat every person as an individual and on an equal footing. At the end of the day, the corporate CFO you are engaging with is just another person doing their best – just like all of us.

Be Authentic

Senior executives generally have a negative disposition when they feel they are being “sold to.”

Create your own mindset that enables you to walk in their shoes, imagining what their challenges are, what business goals are most important to them, and how we can help them be successful. When you enter a meeting with this mindset, your demeanor will change, and they sense your intent.

This in turn creates an environment which is far more collaborative; free flowing ideas are exchanged, and sales relationships are born.

Selling should be fun! Be authentic and transparent. Let your personality shine and be comfortable in your own skin with who you are! You will be amazed at the results.

 

Personal Challenge:
Role play your next important meeting with some peers who know you well. Get them to challenge you when they feel you have moved into “sales mode.” Get them to help you practice being yourself.

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