How you sell matters. But how your customers feel when they engage with you matters more.
If we consider the definition of selling, it is to Persuade someone or talk someone into the merits of something.
Every time we want to get people to buy into our ideas, we are effectively making a sale. Think about who we feel most comfortable buying from. Generally, it will be People we trust, people we connect with, people who understand and meet our needs.
What affects our ability to connect with others?
Think about when you connect most easily with others. What emotions are you experiencing?
Being self-aware increases our ability to connect. We need to be cognizant of the emotions we are feeling and be aware of the impact they have on others. If you think back to the feeling log we’ve discussed before, depending on the emotion we are experiencing, people will either gravitate towards us or away from us
Connection is the ability to build rapport that facilitates a positive relationship which then enables us to influence others. To connect we need to …
- Be emotionally aware.
- Actively listen to identify needs and desired outcomes, rather than only listening to reply, as we most often do.
- Gain insight by gathering data to bring clarity and focus. You may need to make small talk to find some common interest with the ‘buyer’.
- Use the skill of understanding to fully realize the buyer’s needs and what their desired outcomes are i.e. what they want to accomplish, fix or avoid. This is facilitated by asking open-ended questions, rather than the yes or no closed type questioning.
The questions you ask are more important than the things you could ever say.
By connecting with our clients, we will use our understanding of their desired outcomes, fears, concerns and/or problems to overcome objections and to offer them effective solutions to meet their needs.
Once connection is established, we need to build Trust. Trust is a feeling of safety, security and value in a relationship based on credibility, reliability and a person’s investment of self into the relationship. As Hauwa Farouk says …
“A relationship without Trust is like a cell phone without service. All you can do is play games!”
To build trust we need to be:
- Dependable, do what we say we are going to do.
- Understand their needs
- Have credible, honest answers. Never tell people what they want to hear, tell them the truth, even if it may be difficult.
I remember when I was in Logistics, the Fleet Controllers use to get so intimidated by a customer shouting at them about where the vehicle was that was due to service them, that they use to say, “It’s on its way,” even if they knew it was still hours out. This would buy them a short respite but then 2 hours later when the customer called back, they would be livid. Rather be upfront and honest, even if it is not what the client wants to hear.
When trying to make the sale, manage expectations by giving realistic timelines for delivery and if there is a delay once the sale is made, call the client before they are even aware of it. This is how we build credibility and trust which leads to long term relationships and further sales.
People will buy again and again from people they TRUST!
Once we have built a connection and established trust, we can more easily lead people to a positive buying decision. This is called Influence!
Influence is the ability or power to inspire or motivate an individual or to sway them to your way of thinking in an indirect manner.
A simple formula is CONNECTION + TRUST = INFLUENCE
Remember, it may not be a direct sale that we are making, but the same formula applies, when we are trying to sway people to our way of thinking i.e. influence an outcome.
How are you connecting with your buyers and building trust in that connection?