By Adrian Miller, Guest Blogger
Adrian Miller Sales Training
Within reason, it’s nice to be prepared. Why not? If you’re going to a sales meeting, it’s good to know the playing field and what you’re there to do…and what you aren’t there to do. If you’re meeting a prospect and establishing a relationship, it’s good to know the marketplace, the competition, what makes your stuff better than the other seller’s stuff, and so on. All of this is good.
Yet sometimes good things turn bad. And this can happen to well-prepared sales professionals; often without their awareness. It’s kind of scary in that way. Kind of like a horror movie.
Prepared sales professionals can become so identified with their agenda, that they stop seeing the prospect as an actual person with actual power. Instead, they see their own agenda and nothing else. And this makes them one of those awful, stereotypical pushy sales types that everyone hates and refuses to do business with.
What happened here? How did things get so messed up? The keyword is preparation. Yes, be prepared. But don’t put your preparation ahead of the actual reality of your interaction with the prospect. In other words: use your preparation as a framework; not as a recipe. Use your preparation as a launching pad, not as a cage.
Sounds good “in theory”, right? Sure – but what about real life? How can you avoid becoming a pushy salesperson or, indeed, stop being one if you happen to cross that line from time to time? Easy.
Do these things:
- Use questions
Probe what your unique prospect wants. Build your presentation (be it formal or informal) around that response. Often, your prospect hasn’t fully developed her or his requirements or expectations. That’s fine. They don’t have to; they aren’t trying to sell their needs to you, you’re trying to sell your solution to them. So patiently and effectively find out what is of value to the prospect, and use that as the guide.
- Practice being “high touch, low pressure.”
In fact, you can use this as a mantra and repeat it to yourself while sitting in traffic jams, or in elevators, or in line at the bank. High touch, low pressure. Om. Ommmmmmm. “High touch” simply means that you’re interacting authentically and responsively with your prospect. You’re finding out what they need and helping them create a prediction of a solution – one that you’ll provide, of course. “Low pressure” is self-explanatory.
Build your sales effort/experience around solution. You exist, professionally, to help people solve problems and exploit beneficial opportunities. The way you do this is through sales.
Always remember this: the solution part of what you do comes before the sales. Your prospect doesn’t see you as a sales professional; he or she sees you as a potential solution. See the world through the eyes of your prospect and you’ll never become pushy.