Why the old mantra we’ve all heard, “these items are so great, they practically sell themselves?!” Is there any truth to this saying? That depends on the interpretation.
Today's interpretation: while objects don't literally “sell themselves,” the actual phenomenon this statement refers to is when buyers come to the table having already made the decision to buy. Perhaps it was the TV advertisement, the musical jingle, or their observing the desired item in use enough times by the right people…whatever it was, something pushed them over the edge, they didn’t need to “be sold,” and their mind was made up.
Who wants to see more of this in your sales? (c’mon, raise your hand high!) Me too! How can we create this phenomenon in our own sales interactions?
The key to this phenomenon is the pronoun their – their mind was made up. Their internal conversation is what did the self-convincing & concluding & decision-making.
Anyone who has ever sold anything knows that without one thing, the sale will never occur – the buyer. This is obvious - but on a deeper level, how much does the buyer really play a role in the sales process? Is there more to it than their signature, their open wallet?
Consider a contrast: Salesman 1 does all the talking, rather loudly & aggressively, always having a quick bold response to anything the buyer may say (if they can get a word in edgewise). If the buyer dares to disagree he is sure to be made to look a fool. Salesman 1 is the reason people attach such words as “pushy” to salesmen!
Salesman 2 also has quick responses, and can do plenty of talking, but the approach is entirely different. More questions are asked. The buyer does at least half of the talking. Instead of being focused on dragging a buyer along and beating them down by brute verbal contest, Salesman 2’s focus is on the buyer’s remarks, taking notes, showing genuine listening, seeking “first to understand, then to be understood” (Habit 5 from “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”). “Pushy?” More like, “considerate.”
The outward difference? Salesman 1’s voice is louder and stronger and forcefully leads the sales beating… er, process. Salesman 2 PURPOSEFULLY allows the buyer’s responses to lead the sales process.
More on this momentarily. But first, what is happening inwardly in these interactions? Buyer 1 will be telling himself, “I don’t want to be here, this guy is rude and makes me uncomfortable, the only way to get rid of him is to give in…I’ll just cancel the deal later over the phone or someway I don’t have to see him again…”
Buyer 2 will be telling himself, “this guy really cares what I think, he’s here to serve me, remembers & repeats what I say, and is even taking notes! I’m enjoying this attention and this great deal he’s giving me! I’m going to tell my friends about him…”
The best salespeople know what the impressive likes of Dale Carnegie, Margaret Wheatley, and Mary Kay Ash all poignantly stated in their various styles, paraphrased, “People support what they help create
There are myriad ways to incorporate this principle in sales. As we seek to make our sales process so smooth & persuasive “they sell themselves,” this principle must be at play. Get the buyer involved. Speak to teach, rather than lecture. Ask the right questions – where any answers the buyer gives are perfect for you to reference and reinforce, as they lead where you want – a win-win deal.
Rather than force-feed you a list of good questions and ways to get the buyer more involved in the process, I’ll take my own advice and get YOU involved in creating your own successful process.
What service do you offer? How does it really bless the lives of your buyers? What questions can you ask that allow the buyer to create their own need/value for your service? (see Sales Tips in the previous issue of Business Builder Guide) In what way can you pose your questions such that any & all answers the buyer gives are correct? (to deepen their selling themselves, when correct answers are given, ask, “Why do you say that?”) Do you repeat their statements back to them, and use them to reinforce progress steps toward a win-win deal? (“You told me ____ so I’m getting you ____.”)
As you incorporate this key principle, and get the buyer as involved as possible in creating the win-win deal, you will notice happier buyers, more referrals, longer-lasting relationships, and less stress in your sales role.
“People support what they help create.” Be careful! It works so well, you may become addicted, and may never get to be that “pushy” salesman again.