In these times of accelerated evolution of the digital technology, sales professionals are experiencing an even more challenging environment. In addition to the traditional salespeople from other organizations that operate in the same market, they now are required to face another character to be considered in their daily work: The digital salesperson of the organization where they work.
A few days ago, I decided to buy a paper shredder. I went on the Internet, browsed through search engines and was presented with several options with different suppliers, brands, technical characteristics, sizes, prices… Which one? Well, because I am not at all familiar with this type of equipment, I decided to turn to someone who could help… And that is when the salesperson came in.
Digital sales do not eliminate salespeople… I mean… The good salespeople… The high-performance salespeople.
High-performance salespeople are those who continually improve their relationship behaviors with their sales environment and reach continuous improvements in their achievements. They are the ones that all clients look for, the ones who coworkers admire and envy, the ones who managers want to have on their teams, the ones who earn the most money, and the ones who get promoted! And, most importantly, they are the ones that everyone can be!
That’s right… Everyone can be a high-performance salesperson, and their entire relationship cycle will appreciate that. Customers will love to be served by such a pleasant and attentive person, who knows how to listen, who understands their needs and desires, who addresses their doubts and insecurities, who gives guidance on the best product and service to buy, who asks about their satisfaction a few weeks after purchase, and who offers new alternatives when they arise. Professional colleagues, despite a certain degree of envy, will try to stay close to learn “how to do it” and/or request some emergency assistant with a “difficult” customer. As for managers – what can I even say? – they will be very pleased to see sales targets being reached. Oh! Your family will be very happy to have a great professional at home, who is able to contribute to everyone’s quality of life, without stress!
Now, hang on a minute… I said that everyone can be a high-performance salesperson, but how to achieve this?
Perhaps the first thing to do is to understand and believe that the sales activity is as noble as any other. I say that because I still hear many salespeople, particularly beginners, saying that they “hate pushing” products or services to other people, as if these “other” people did not need or want the product or service being offered. The whole world revolves around the sales activity. It is the salesperson who gets products, services and money to go from one place to the other.
I remember when I advised the training of a team to sell a funeral plan. Even salespeople who had been with the company for some time said that they were afraid to “push” a type of product that nobody wanted. One day, however, everyone will need this type of product! Perhaps this is one of the best-selling products worldwide! Salespeople were the ones who understood that it was a great opportunity to sell got a good commission! As Zig Ziglar says, “everyone sells, and everything can be sold.”
The sales professional must study and know very well the products and services they offer. They should know its technical characteristics, its monetary value, and the benefits it can provide to society as a whole. Why would people buy these products and services? This knowledge allows the sales professional to identify “who” can buy and where their customers are. It also allows them to identify their main arguments that make products and services attractive to the customer.
Everyone gets emotional… New salespeople, in particular, feel strong emotions, especially the fear of talking to customers, caused by the thought and the image that they are “pushing” something, or that the customer is going to assault them. This fear hinders another form of reasoning and prevents the salesperson from presenting their arguments. They then thank you and leave. There is also the fear of arguing when a customer presents an objection, such as “this product is too expensive.” For that reason, I argue that the salesperson is an expert in listening, before offering. The high-performance salesperson studies the customer, asks questions, comments on questions and “listens” a lot to what the customer thinks, as well as their concerns and desires. This information is a pot of gold for salespeople to seek the best argument based on their knowledge. In addition, of course, it opens a clean communication channel and demonstrates the salesperson’s interest in and respect for the customer, creating an image of credibility.
Only with good knowledge and a good relationship with customers will it be possible for the salesperson to associate these customers’ wishes and concerns with the characteristics and benefits that their products and services can provide. With that, they can demonstrate, through objective and logical arguments, and in a calm manner, how the products and services offered can improve the lives of these customers, as well as getting customers to accept and buy their products and services with pleasant feelings of security and trust.
Adjusting the benefits that your products and services provide according to the wishes of customers is an art and, at the same time, a wonderful technique that every salesperson should learn!
When they succeed in closing the sale, no matter how common this is for experienced salespeople, the high-performance salesperson feels the happiness of having done a good job and having brought that happiness to their customer as well. Thus, the sale doesn’t end there, with the customer paying for what they bought. The high-performance salesperson seeks to know how the customer feels and what they think about the products and services that they purchased. They ask the questions again, they study and listen to the customer’s thoughts and emotions, while preparing the next sale!
It has been deeply gratifying to see how salespeople who understand the value of attitudes of studying and listening to the customer can increase their sales. In the case of the sale of a funeral plan, most customers turned away from the sales person when they heard what it was about, but approached and closed the purchase after talking about their thoughts and fears, listening to the arguments and believing in the advantages that the salesperson showed, related to the thoughts, fears and desires that the customer expressed.
Regardless of sales made through the Internet, all people who wish to build a promising life through the sales activity can practice these simple attitudes in their daily lives, as there are many questions and emotions that customers wish to resolve to close a purchase. This interaction, this complicity with the customer, is the gateway to the high-performance salesperson’s accomplishments.
The salesperson’s biggest competitor is neither the Internet nor another seller – it is the customer’s image and emotion in relation to them and to the product and the service they provide!
Think about that!
LAUTER F. FERREIRA
AYRES & FERREIRA LTDA.
Psychologist – CRP-06/09138-0
Author of the books “Construindo Equipes de Alta Performance” (“Building High-Performance Teams”) and “Alta Performance: Sete Forças Sob Sua Pele” (“High Performance: Seven Forces Under Your Skin”).