If you’ve taken any sales courses you’ve probably been told many times that if you want to succeed in sales “you must first sell yourself.” “The first thing a prospect buys, is you.” My question has always been; “How do you do that?” I was never able to get a really clear explanation, from any of the company trainers, of what it meant to ‘sell yourself.’ I always got some vague response. I not sure the trainers really knew what it meant. It was just something they read in a sales training manual. Or maybe, I was just too new, to sales, to understand?
Then I finally got it… Selling yourself is about getting close to your clients, letting them get to know you and gaining their respect and trust. It is more than just a sales strategy. It is treating people, the way they want to be treated. It is helping them to grow. It is believing in them. It’s about building a real relationship with them! Once you understand and practice this concept, it will take your sales career to dizzying heights.
Note: It’s not about you explaining how great you are and how you have helped others. It’s showing them how much you care about them, through your actions and deeds with them.
People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care!
“Relationship Selling” (Or, Consultative Selling) isn’t new, it’s been used by the top producers in the sales industry for many years. It’s a simple, very basic and a natural progression in the development of sales skills. Some sales people just stumble onto using this concept, and others have to be taught.
This concept is a very fundamental part of selling. If you don’t have the ability to establish a solid relationship with the client, much of what goes on beyond that point, will not matter. If you don’t first establish a relationship with your prospect, in most cases it won’t matter how many much you know about your product, or how good you are at overcoming objections or how many of the closing techniques you have learned. The inability of agents to establish a solid relationship with their prospects is why so many agents are struggling and leaving the business in their early years.
The agents who are having the greatest success in this business, are those agents who understand the importance of and are able to build a strong relationship with their clients. They don’t need to to even try to close a sale, it just happens. Their clients are happy to refer their agent to a friend or relative.
By following four relationship building steps, the sales process will eventually develop a natural flow, which will in turn lead to a natural conclusion. If the solution meets the clients needs and wants, then the conclusion is a sale. If the solution doesn’t match, then a relationship has been established for possible future sales and/or referrals.
Step 1- Build a Trust Factor
How do you get people to trust you in a sales situation? You get people to trust you, by trusting them first. Trust that most people, will make intelligent decisions, if you are honest with them and they understand what is really important. Let your prospects and customers get to know you, the real you. Find out about them. Find something you have in common them. Be active in community organizations and let people see you outside of the business.
Honesty builds trust, which is the foundation of all relationships. We all hope to have a true friend who has our best interests at heart, one whom we can trust to brush the dandruff from our shoulders prior to our giving a presentation or to tell us that we have spinach stuck in our teeth during that important dinner meeting.
Believe in what you do and believe that it matters. Are you there just to make a sale, or are you there to help the prospect. Be prepared to conduct a good sales interview. Don’t go see clients with a preconceived notion of what they might want.
It’s your attitude, your belief in what you do, your professionalism and your honesty that will help people to respect and trust you.
Step 2 – Focus On Filling the Clients Needs and Wants
The better your product and service fits the clients needs and wants, the more sales you will have. When people know you sincerely care about they need and want, they will feel secure that they are making the right decision, in buying from you.
The more you find out about the prospect, the better you able to help them fill their needs and wants. Even if they don’t require what you have to offer, you can still help them by referring them to someone else who can help them. This builds more trust and will strengthen the relationship.
Step 3 – Ask Open Ended Questions
If you want to find out about your prospect, just ask them. People like to talk about themselves and what they want. Asking open ended questions, allows prospects to tell you about themselves. What is it that they feel is really important? What do they want for themselves, their family or their business? This is the information that you need, in order to really help them.
The classic questions contain – who, what, where, when, why and how? Examples: Is there any particular reason why you haven’t started a retirement plan? How, does that make you feel? Why,do you feel that way? What would you like to do when you retire? The more questions you ask about them, the more the client will understand that you care about them and you want to help them.
By asking appropriate closed-ended questions, at the right time, you can also lead you clients to talk about the the things, that you want to talk about. Examples: When you retire, which do think you’ll be more concerned about, the amount of money you have accumulated or the amount of income you can get from that money? If weren’t able to put that money away each month, how would that affect your retirement? If you could put money away, without paying income taxes on the interest each year, do you think your savings for retirement would grow faster?
Step 4 – Listen More Than You Talk
If prospects like to talk, then doesn’t it follow that prospects appreciate good listeners. When you listen more than you talk, your prospect realizes that you are truly interested in them and that you are trying to understand their situation. They feel more comfortable with you and will open up even more. Listen intently, show them the signs of a good listener. Examples: Nod your head, say, “tell me more”, “I understand”, or “why is that important to you”.
Caution, real listening is very difficult. Many times we are only half listening, because we are trying to formulate our next question or response. If we really want to help our clients, it is really important to listen to what they are saying.
Relationship Selling is not mastering a simple set of selling techniques. It is a philosophy, a belief in taking care of people. Believing that what we do, really matters. Wanting to make a difference in someone’s life. Wanting to help change the world in some little way. Having a real conversation with them.
Remember, that if you help enough people to get what they want, then you’ll get what you want!