Ever found yourself in a position where you become absolutely flustered and don’t know what to say to a sales prospect?
Many years ago I attended the Dale Carnegie Course where I learnt the 9 best sales skills ever, I just didn’t know it at the time. In the course I witnessed unbelievable transformations in people who were shy, afraid to talk in public or even had difficult relationships with a partner, spouse or work colleague. It changed my life and results.
I then went onto to become a facilitator of the program where I became the person helping others improve their human relations skills. These skills have served me so well I want to share them with you.
1. Don’t criticize, condemn or complain
Nobody likes to be around negative people who always criticize, condemn and complain. If this is your default position in life, prospects will very quickly pick up on it and not want to form a relationship with you.
People don’t buy from people they don’t like, therefore it’s important to build trust and confidence when you first meet a prospect. If you criticize, condemn or complain regardless of who it is, your prospect will wonder if you will treat them the same.
Adopt a positive attitude and be a person a prospect does want to get to know.
2. Show sincere and honest appreciation
Showing sincere appreciation is different from flattery, and your prospect will know the difference. Flattery is insincere. Find something about the prospect or something they said that you genuinely admire or appreciate. It could be as simple as thanking them for their time or sharing their insights with you.
3. Arouse in them an eager want
When you are meeting with a prospect for the first time, you don’t always understand what their WHY is. Their needs or target goals are essentially their hot buttons or buying motives. Without knowing and understanding their WHY, you have nothing to sell.
A prospect will only want to buy from you if something you have to offer is of value to them. That value will always be to take away a pain or problem they are experiencing or help them realize an opportunity. Once you find their hot buttons, this is what will create an eager want to do business with you.
4. Become genuinely interested in them
I talk a lot about being able to get into rapport quickly with people, not just sales prospects but others as well. The reason being is you never know who is connected to who and who can refer you to others.
Building rapport comes naturally to some and others have to work at it. One of the quickest ways to get into rapport with others is to ask questions, listen carefully to what they have to say. It’s more the art of listening and asking the other person to expand on what they are telling you that will engage them in a meaningful conversation. It’s that active listening that makes your conversation become genuine.
If the other person feels you are genuinely interested in them, rapport will happen without you realizing it.
Such a simple thing to do yet so many forget the power of a smile. If you give a smile you almost always get one back. Try it walking down the street and smile at people and see what happens.
A smile instantly makes you 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.
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 the difference; they can also feel the difference.
6. Remember their name
You will quite often hear people say, “I’m no good at remembering names! This is nothing more than an excuse for being lazy. Remembering names is something you can learn to become better at, if you work at it.
You can’t become an expert at anything without practicing to form a new habit.
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 a person 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
Nobody ever listened themselves out of a sale. The better listener you are, the more likely you learn what the prospects target goals are, which is their WHY.
Active 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 with the other person using your body language. The other person will know you are listening intently with a simple thing as nodding your head and making good eye contact.
A good way to keep a conversation going is simply saying “That’s interesting, tell me more.”
8. Talk in terms of the others person’s interest
Have you ever had a conversation with someone and came away feeling you made an amazing connection and you did all the talking. If you have, it’s probably because you were talking about something that really interested you or you were passionate about. That’s great, except 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 prospect. Developing effective questioning skills is what keeps the prospect talking. The more they talk – the more they like you!
Questioning skills are one of the most critical skills you need to succeed in sales. It is through effective questioning 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, their dominant buying motive.
9. Make the other person feel important
When you make others feel important, you are effectively showing them a great deal of respect. When you listen intently, use their name, talk in terms of their interests not yours, you make the prospect feel important.
Prospective customers react positively when shown respect and treated with dignity. Give a prospect your undivided attention and do it sincerely.
People buy from people, not companies and developing the skills using these nine principles will allow you to keep building effective relationships with new prospects.
On a final note
If you invest in yourself and follow these simple principles, you will develop amazing communication skills
In a Nutshell
- Don’t criticize condemn or complain about others
- Show sincere and honest appreciation
- Arouse in them an eager want to do business with you
- Become genuinely interested in them
- Smile both with your eyes and your mouth
- Remember their name
- Be a good listener
- Talk in terms of their interests
- Make them feel important