“All things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust.”-Bob Burg
No matter what our job or profession, we’re all involved in sales. There are many different approaches, but the end goal remains the same, persuading the customer to part with their money. Sometimes we need make no great effort. The customer knows what he/she wants, and just buys it. We should, however, always remain alert, to ensure that potential translates into business. A key question then arises. Is a one-off sale sufficient, or do we wish to build something more than a superficial connection, with the prospect of repeat business?
The benefits of repeat business are obvious. Not only does the customer return, but they are also likely to tell friends and colleagues about your service. For this to happen requires trust, and for the customers experience to be one of being acknowledged and understood. That means applying what Tony Alessandra refers to as the Platinum Rule i.e. Treat others as they would like to be treated. Very few people like the feeling of being sold to. By demonstrating a genuine interest in the needs of the customer rather than simply trying to sell them our product or service we enable them to relax, and to interact more fully as human beings. This is not in any way a negation of sales technique, and nor is it about being touchy-feely at the expense of doing business. Rather it is about a deeper application of business intelligence.
Even with the unavoidable presence of technology and digital connections today a sizeable majority of negotiations are still concluded face to face. Small details in how we present ourselves and how we communicate can be decisive.
What we are ideally looking to do is establish sufficient rapport with our customer that they feel known and liked, and they trust us. This requires that we develop and cultivate keen observational skills. Our posture, gestures and breathing patterns reveal much about our present state. Our facial features provide a much more in-depth view of our personality, as well as our behaviour and communication styles. The clearer and more defined our bone structure, especially if the nose is prominent, the more direct and even commanding our manner is likely to be. Rounder, softer features are more associated with affability and a desire for physical comfort – if the eyes are particularly small don’t be fooled, as these individuals are likely to be very shrewd and clinical in their thinking. Big round eyes, on the other hand respond to honesty. If these people feel – and feel is the word – they are being misled in any way they are likely to close down completely, regardless of their initial interest.
Studies show that it takes 5 satisfied customers to offset the effect of 1 upset customer. Stepping outside of any pressure to sell by taking the time to understand and gain the trust of each individual customer may seem like an added pressure to some, but the benefits to sales of building relationship will be tangible.
Joseph McGuire is the owner of Clearsight Communications who provide personal evaluation services and training in the areas of senior level recruitment/promotion, negotiations, sales and HR. Individual consultation sessions are available both in person and via Skype. He is also in demand for group presentations, private functions and conferences. For further information email: firstname.lastname@example.org