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Getting the ‘Yes’ from customers

My last post was centered around uncovering why, despite the stigma, we need salespeople in our lives. Basically, they act as constant reminders of major and minor improvements we can make to our businesses. Most salespeople that have stuck around long enough have developed the vital life skill of persistence. This is what allows them to hear the word “no” so many times and still call back the next week.

You would think that all those rejections would shake their confidence but next week comes around and they still act as if your wallet has their name on it. These people are really hustling. However, there’s more to a good salesperson than repetition and wearing down clients.

We can learn a lot from salespeople and it will suit you to take a few notes from them. There aren’t many businesses out there that couldn’t use a few extra customers. Here are some subtle (and not so subtle) techniques I have picked up in my experience in the world of sales.

Jedi Mind Tricks — You won’t need a lifetime of training in a galaxy far, far away to use these but they really work. When meeting in person, smile and nod when you are asking someone for something that you want them to answer with a “yes.” Shake your head while trying to lead them to a “no.” These techniques work because of the power of natural social cues tied to non-verbal body language. Most species on Earth develop predictable reactions to certain movements as a way achieving societal acceptance.

Benefits > Attributes — You got into your current business because you believe that your product or service improves the lives of your customers. After years of repetition, you know more about your widget than anyone in the world. Unfortunately, Joe Schmoe doesn’t care if his lawn mower has an internally-cooled Hydro Gear ZT 3100 transmission and a zero-turning radius. He wants his mower to cut grass faster and make sharp turns so mowing takes less time. You may know that they mean the same thing, but take the time to explain how the attributes lead to real benefits.

Talk through the “No” — Like I described in my last post, people love to procrastinate and will say “no” when unsure about decisions that are not time-sensitive. When you sense that someone is about to reject your offer, keep talking so he or can’t say “no” at that time. Its much easier to change someone’s mind before he has made his decision verbally. You might see a furrowed brow or hear a prolonged “Ummmmm.” That’s where you need to cut in and bring the conversation back to describing the benefits of your offer.

Be a Connector — Most successful, long-term business relationships won’t work just because one business supplies what another demands. Business owners want to know their partners have their best interests in mind. An easy way to build this trust is by connecting people or providing information even when you don’t have anything to gain at the time. This could be as simple as sending a potential client a relevant news article or recommending a business that can help them somehow. Sending referrals is always appreciated and can lead to profitable reciprocation.

Marketing is a science, but sales is an art. Learning the delicate subtleties of the decision-making process takes both knowledge of your product and the decision-maker. May the force be with you.