The advice I get most often about sales is that you need to engage with people. After all, sales is about connections. It means standing out in the crowd, managing to set up a meeting or even just getting into someone’s email inbox. You have to be charismatic. You learn to close the deal.
But you know all that, I’m sure. Do you want to know how to do it faster? How to do it more often?
My favourite bits of advice on building those connections with people came from my neighbour, a retired RCMP officer, who has shared with me some of her psychological life hacks for building trust and forming relationships faster and easier. You’d be surprised at how much you can learn about sales from a police officer, but remember, she’s someone who’s made a career of getting people to trust them. After all, sales is really all about human interaction, and there are so many lessons she’s learned that are easily applicable to your sales process.
She argues the key is to remember that people form loyalty with other people, not with organizations. With that in mind, here are 5 things to help you forge that crucial connection with leads or prospects. The more you click with someone, the faster you can build that key relationship to make the sale.
1. DISCOVER THEIR GOALS, OBJECTIVES & PRIORITIES
Before you can understand anyone, you need to learn more about them. Find out what sits on the top of your potential customer’s mind: their dreams and how they want to achieve them.
If you don’t know how to start, ask about their challenges.
This was my favourite piece of advice, and it can apply pretty much anywhere. If you can get someone to answer this question for you, they are confiding in you the number one priority that they’re dealing with in their life at that moment. They are giving you their trust, and you can use that to build up a bond with them and establish understanding. Take advantage of the moment, put yourself in their shoes, and you can learn how best to market to them.
2. LET THEM TALK
My neighbour says the best way to gain the trust of someone in the heat of the moment is just to LISTEN. I’m sure you’ve been told this before, but keep in mind this is coming from a police officer who’s been trained to help people in the most stressful of times.
Ask questions, and then find the context.
There’s so much you could say to sell something, but keep in mind that your buyer can easily research your product online or look elsewhere. This is your chance to research them. Go with Step 1, ask your discovery questions, and then let them do the talking. Your main goal here is to find a way to fit your product into their world, and if you let them, they will give you the answer.
3. PUT YOUR CLIENT FIRST
An RCMP officer knows that it’s not about her at the end of the day, it’s about the people she’s working to help. It’s the same in sales. Yes, you have a quota, and your ultimate goal is to close the deal. But while you’re interacting with a person, you need to first think about how you can help them, and not the other way around. As soon as you start to care about their goals more than your own, they will know it, and they’ll respond to that.
Help them understand what they are trying to do.
As before, find out about their challenges and put yourself forward to help them overcome those and then achieve their goals. You can make your goals work inside theirs.
4. REMEMBER, IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU!
Confidence is an important part of every salesperson’s game. After all, sales is naturally a competitive field, so you need to believe in your own ability to get to the top in order to close the deal.
But remember, your prospective client doesn’t know or care about your sales history. Whether you’re at the top of the board or the seller of the week, for your buyer it’s about what you’re offering them in the moment and about their future. Let go of your ego, focus on the moment, and you’ll be a better seller.
Don’t take things personally!
As my neighbour says, it’s easy to become the collateral damage from someone else’s baggage. Put yourself in their shoes, remember that their problems are just that, their problems, and you can learn to respond to your potential buyer without taking their insecurities out on yourself. It’s rare that people go after you for personal reasons. Usually, it’s their own baggage dragging them down.
5. ASK FOR THEIR OPINION
Here’s one of the big benefits to dealing with people like an officer does. When you can build that understanding and trust, they can become a resource for you too! Every time you interact with your client, whether it’s on the phone or over a text, it’s an opportunity for you to learn something new.
Ask their advice.
It might seem strange to ask a prospective buyer for their thoughts on your questions, but it’s a big step in getting them to see you as a person, the same way you’ve been learning to see them. This way you don’t come across too “salesy,” and you get to build a real relationship.
At the end of the day, it’s about building that REAL relationship. When you establish trust with someone, you become a team, and that makes your buyer your PARTNER in the sales process. Together, you both get to overcome your challenges and achieve your goals.
My neighbour’s advice might seem simple, but I promise, if you apply it regularly to all aspects of your approach, you will become a faster and a better seller. If you learn to build trust like an RCMP officer, you certainly can learn to close the deal.
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