In the past 10 years I've coached hundreds of reluctant sales people on how to get your ideas accepted, win better contracts, have more fun, and make more money.
When it comes to selling yourself and what you do and what you're worth here's my top tips to go from reluctant to successful.
It's amazing how some of the smartest business people I meet struggle to explain what they do. Sure, you want to avoid sounding salesy, but if you can't quickly and confidently explain what you do, customers will lose interest in doing business with you.
I coach all professionals and business owners to prepare a '30 second commercial' that gets to the heart of what you do, who you work with, and what business challenges you solve; in 30 seconds or less.
Then I get them to rehearse this over and over again, until they are 100% confident to reel it off anytime and anywhere.
Contrary to popular belief, naturally good sales people don't have the gift of the gab; their gift is knowing that, in order to make a sale, you have to let the prospect do the talking.
In a new business meeting aim for the prospect or customer to talk for 70% of the time. If you hear yourself using too many 'I' statements (e.g. I am award-winning, I am better than the competition, I am available to start now) then STOP. Start asking questions to flip the conversation around and get the prospect talking.
Third-party stories are a useful, and subtle, way to get potential customers interested in your products and services without sounding like you're pushing features and benefits.
For example, instead of saying "We recommend Package B for you" try "Another one of my clients in your industry sector looked at packages A and C but found Package B works well in your market because of X, Y, Z - what do you think?"
People buy from people they like -- and people like people who are like them. There is no shortage of books and articles out there with the latest psychology in building rapport. At Sandler training we use a combination of approaches including DISC, Transactional Analysis and NLP to build rapport in new business meetings and with customers, and colleagues.
This is NOT manipulation and must never be manipulation. Simply put, if you can adapt your style to your customers' style, you will be better understood and demonstrate that you'll be great to work with if they decide to buy from you. In fact if they are comfortable with you they will open up and let you discover their underlying reasons, concerns and motivations.
As long as there's been commerce people have been selling. But the old-fashioned, aggressive or dishonest way of selling - popularised in films like Glengarry Glen Ross - is over.
Top sales people differentiate themselves by being different from all the other snake oil salesmen.
Be honest, avoid desperation, and most of all control the sales process and you'll stand out as somebody that people want to do business with.