Ever meet a great salesperson? What trait in their personality struck you? I would be surprised if ‘calm demeanor’ wasn’t on your list.
Look, I get it…sellers typically have a bad rap, and it’s primarily a reflection of really fantastic marketing about the image of sellers. The fast talking snake charmer that somehow managed to endure through the decades, relatively unchanged. I think the series Mad Men really did a disservice to the image of sales people! Let’s not even approach the image of a car salesman.
Let’s get real. Sales roles take many forms, but let’s focus on an area that I am very familiar with: account or territory managers selling technology solutions. I’ve managed many teams over the years, and I have seen my share of personalities…but the one trait shared across all of the BEST reps was their calm demeanor. The reason you never see that trait depicted in characterizations of sales reps is because…it’s just not very common.
The truth is…selling has changed dramatically over the last few years, but sales training remains relatively unchanged. Companies expect their reps to be eager and excited about the PRODUCTS they sell. I totally understand this direction…but it kills the sales process. The reason for this is quite frankly…your customer does not trust you. And the more excited you are…the more your customer will withdraw from you. And when they withdraw from you…they immediately start to throw up objections to keep you on your heels. And at arm’s length.
Think about the latest playbook you have been “instructed” to memorize. It will identify:
- What you are selling
- What it does for your customer
- Why it is fantastic (features / benefits)
- Who the competition is
- How to overcome objection
During your role-playing – you put on a big smile, get enthusiastic about the pitch, approach the objections with excitement to demonstrate that there is a reason to be excited – this stuff works GREAT! You are pumped up…you absolutely KILL the role play, your manager is excited and maybe you are selected as a winner of the training contest and your pitch is the MODEL to follow…and it even goes up on YouTube for the rest of the company to emulate.
Ever wonder why you never see a rep pitch that way to their actual customer? Because the very first time you pitch that way, it falls flat and all you’ve done is trigger distrust. Why? Because everyone is a skeptic…especially in today’s world of MASSIVE access to information. They just don’t believe you, and won’t until they have decided for themselves that what you are selling can do what they need to solve a problem they have. That’s what will excite them. It will never be because of how excited the sales rep is, or how wonderfully stated the features and benefits are.
You want to excite your customers? By all means, INTERNALIZE your enthusiasm (yes…you have to believe in your solution), and curb the EXTERNAL enthusiasm. Work on trying to understand your customer’s challenges. Start by understanding their industry a little more, find out the common struggle, and then find out what the primary issue they are dealing with. Be calm. Be persistent. Be helpful. When you get to a point where you both have identified a problem that your solution can solve…offer it. Rescue them from their problem and let them get excited.
Now they won’t look at you as just ‘Another salesperson’ trying to stuff their solution down their throat…you are the calm professional that solved a problem.
Shift your view.
For more Shift-witticisms – please visit me at ShiftWit.com