These 9 principles will make you a better salesperson
People don’t buy from people they don’t like – it’s that simple!
If you have to sell your products or services and don’t like selling, chances are you struggle to build trust and confidence with prospects. You can turn this around easily by following these nine principles. They are the first nine human relationship principles from Dale Carnegie, the master in effective communication.
Dale Carnegie wrote a book called “How to win friends and influence people” which has sold over 15 million copies. He offers practical advice on how to make connections easily and win people to your way of thinking. Over 8 million people have also attended the Dale Carnegie Course in Human relations. Famous graduates include Warren Buffet, Mary Kay Ash and Lyndon Johnson.
Dale Carnegie developed a set of nine human relations principles when used effectively with sales prospects can significantly increase your ability to form lasting relationships in business.
These are the first nine principles.
1. Don’t criticize condemn and complain
Dale Carnegie’s first rule in developing excellent human relations is to not criticize, condemn or complain. When sales are down and business is not going so well, it’s easy to enter the blame game and start to criticize, condemn and complain everything and everyone but yourself.
Nobody likes to be around negative people who always criticize condemn and complain. Imagine you made a contact with a potential vendor, supplier or contractor and all they did was criticize condemn and complain, would you want to trust your business with them. Chances are if things went wrong they wouldn’t take any responsibility. It doesn’t instill confidence when meeting a prospect for the first time.
If people don’t buy from people they don’t like, then it’s important to build trust and confidence when first meeting a prospect. Adopt a positive attitude and be a person a prospect does want to get to know.
2. Show sincere and honest appreciation
The second of Carnegie’s human relations principles is to show sincere and honest appreciation. The key words here are sincere and honest. This is an effective way to connect with others as everyone likes to feel appreciated. Thank a prospect for their time. Thank them for sharing their insights and business ideas with you.
3. Arouse in others an eager want
A big rookie mistake when meeting a prospect is to do a lot of ‘telling or selling’. No no no! Your primary objective is to find out if the prospective buyer has a need first. Without a need, they won’t be interested in what you have to sell. The problem with trying to sell them too quickly, it becomes all about you. When you come on too strong and try to “sell” products or services, prospects won’t be interested unless you can arouse in them an eager want. To do this, you must find out more about them and their situation. You are looking to uncover if they have any problems or opportunities your solution could resolve (buyer needs). Using effective questioning techniques and by taking them through the buying and selling cycle (Bi-Sell-Cycle™) will uncover buyer needs. Once you have established they have a need, then you can arouse in them an eager want to buy from you.
4. Become genuinely interested in other people
No one is interested in you until they know how much you are interested in them.
The key word in Carnegie’s fourth principle is genuine. When you become genuinely interested in a prospect, you then start to build rapport and find things in common. This allows you to move through the Bi-Sell-Cycle™ with ease. If you meet a prospect and they sense you are not only genuinely interested in them, you are genuinely interested in helping them succeed, you are far more likely to close the sale.
I know this is obvious, but smile. A simple thing like a smile can instantly relax a prospect and make you appear friendly and approachable. Remember, people buy from people they like. No one will want to come near you if you look like you just swallowed a frog.
Smiling doesn’t come natural to some people. If you are a person who is smile challenged, then this is definitely something you need to work on. Smiling sincerely is more than just smiling with your lips, a genuine smile also comes from your eyes. Prospective customers can not only see that difference, they can feel the difference.
6. Remember a person’s name
Dale Carnegie wrote – “remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” He didn’t say the most beautiful sound, he said the most important sound. Make an effort to remember people’s names which is the sixth of Dale Carnegie’s human relations principles.
Imagine you met someone once and a month later you met them in the street and they remembered your name. It gives you an instant boost when someone takes the time to remember who you are. Wouldn’t you want to get to know that person better? It’s because they seemed genuinely interested in who you are, enough to remember your name. Imagine how this would make a prospective customer feel.
7. Be a good listener
The seventh principle is to be a good listener and encourage people to talk about themselves. Effective listening means to listen to understand, not listening to respond. There is a big difference and you can certainly tell if people are listening to respond. They can’t wait to jump in on the conversation and often will butt in before you have finished talking.
Listening to understand is not about remaining silent. It’s about engaging in the conversation by reflecting back on what has just been said, paraphrasing for understanding and also using your body language to let a prospect know you are listening. It could be as simple as nodding your head, making good eye contact or even keeping the conversation going with “that’s interesting tell me more” or uttering a simple “ah huh.”
Effective listening also has another major purpose in the sales process. As you listen to a prospect, they will give you clues as to what their problems or opportunities are, commonly known as buyer needs. Without a need, a prospect has no reason to buy from you.
8. Talk in terms of the other person’s interest
Most people are interested in themselves, not you. When you talk in terms of the others person interest, you will gain rapport quickly and establish a good connection. Effective selling is very much about taking the focus away from you and onto the prospective customer. Developing effective questioning skills keeps the prospect talking. The more they talk – the more they like you! This is why the eighth Dale Carnegie principle is so effective in developing excellent relationships with sales prospects.
Questioning skills are one of the most critical skills you need to succeed in sales. It is through questions you get to uncover hidden needs and assess a prospects target goals. When you achieve this, you can then tailor your solution to meet their target goals and satisfy an unmet need.
9. Make the other person seem important
The ninth human relation skill that Dale Carnegie teaches is to make the other person feel important, and do it sincerely. The heart of this principle is showing respect for others. When you listen intently to someone else, use their name, talk in terms of their interests, you make them feel important. Prospective customers react positively when shown respect and treated with dignity. Give a prospect your undivided attention and do it sincerely.
Strengthen interpersonal relationships
Think of connecting with others as having an emotional bank account. Stephen Covey talks about this in his bestselling book The Seven Habits of Effective People. When you manage a regular bank account, you make deposits and withdrawals always looking to build a positive bank balance. If you take out more money than what’s is in your account, you go into overdraft. If you go into overdraft too often, or run up massive debts, you eventually go bankrupt.
Interpersonal relationships are the same. If you keep taking from others – they will experience an emotional overdraft and back away. It is far more important to keep making emotional deposits into the relationship account and build up trust so that one day when you need to make a withdrawal by asking for a sale or referral business, you have enough in the emotional bank account to sustain the relationship.
A big mistake people make in trying to grow their business is to keep making withdrawals by pushing their products or services on prospective customers and forgetting to invest in the relationship with value added deposits.
On a final note
Master Dale Carnegie’s first nine principles in human relations and you will significantly increase your ability to influence a prospects decision to buy from you and grow your sales.
In A Nutshell
To get people to buy from you, you need to:
- Establish trust through the art of building rapport
- Establish confidence with a powerful value proposition and build credibility through testimonials
- Ensure they are the decision maker
- Understand where the buyer is on the buying cycle and match them where they are
- Uncover hidden needs not just what the buyer tells you upfront
- Create tension by exploring the impact or consequences if they don’t take action
- Understand and agree on what their target goals are
- Match your products and services to their target goals by tailoring your solution accordingly
- Sell on value not price