How do you decide on the approach you will take when talking to a prospective client? What influences that decision and how are your sales, or business, affected?
Our Cross Coaching™ members jumped into this topic, partially because of the link to previous sales topics, and revealed how independent they are as thinkers and leaders. To stay that way many of them said they avoid watching T.V. or limit their exposure to it.
You may know that Groucho Marx said: “I find Television very educating. Every time someone turns it on I go to another room to read a book!” I frequently do that, to keep up with the several books and business magazines I’m constantly reading and because I’m selective about who I invite into my mind – so don’t watch much television!
Today’s topic was about decision making. Who, or what, influences the decisions you make – really? Do you? Does reason, emotion, memory, experience, wisdom, even parents or peers, influence what you decide to do, say or feel during a sales presentation?
Does a subtly embedded marketing jingle sway you to eat a certain food, consume a certain drink, or wear a particular dress? Are you influenced by the sales trainer or motivational speaker of your choice and his books? By the sales targets your boss has set you? By the need to feed the family, pay the bills, or to master the industry, business or career you’re in?
Guy set the stage. He’s striving to attract people to buy the web design services of the company he represents. Guy is a regular at Cross Coaching™ and openly admits that he’s battling with the influence his artistic pursuits as a painter have over the influence the hunger for a deal, that contributes to a family meal, have over how he prospects.
Guy is easy to like. He gets along with everybody. He doesn’t like T.V. or any vehicle, or person that is striving to sell him something. Who does, really? That mind set influences – actually, it stumps and stunts – his ability to sell to others. He likes people, but falters when it’s time to sell them his web design services for fear of coming across as someone who is ‘selling something.’ Guy got LOTS of coaching across the table – hence the name Cross Coaching™, but read on to see how we helped him redraw what influenced him and overcome this.
Larry, a marketing major gets why Guy is influenced to avoid what marketers are eager to influence him to buy. Guy is aware enough to stay aware and be wary of marketers influence. Most are not. Most people do watch T.V., to keep up with the news, a series or a program they enjoy. More people mute the ads, but directly, or indirectly, they are made aware – or want to be, of current trends. What are people wearing, eating, driving? How are they decorating their homes? Where are they traveling to and so on. As Larry reminded us, people buy what’s in; what’s cool. Did they decide to buy or were they influenced to buy?
Greg said people are indeed influenced to buy and often make poor buying decisions. He may be seen by most as selling insurance, but Greg wisely markets himself as someone who protects people from the unexpected; someone who is in the decision making business, guiding people to make responsible ones that protect their family. Influenced by long-standing values and beliefs, Greg decided he won’t sell anyone any more coverage than they need. This turned up the heat in the imaginary crucible we place in the center of the table.
I asked Sam a probing question, after he shared how much experience he had gained from many years exposed to the business of sales and how he decided to be seen by prospects as a trusted, reliable, source who helped customers select from a variety of vendors he brought to them. “Tell us about the decisions you had to make, that influenced the sales you had to make, when you first started your career in sales”, I said.
Hats off to Sam for boldly sharing what shaped and influenced his decision to later take the more moral approach, he applies now, against the more direct approach most young, hungry, novice salespeople take. Yes, Sam sold door to door products when young; as I did. He was influenced by the need for a deal to pay for a meal; by the lack of experience, wisdom, reason; perhaps even by a demanding sales manager conscious that this good salesman wouldn’t be around long, or be as ‘green’ for long.
Sam learned faster than most do that he made less money if he pushed a prospect toward a sale and more money if he listened and learned if the prospect wanted what he was selling. Experience taught him to make sales you have to make decisions about how you will make sales!
Have you stepped back yet to review the influence of your decisions on your sales performance? Is it time to break away from the pursuit of prospects, sales and sales targets to instead target the decisions that impact them?
Business and personal development is all about sales. You’re sold on the business you’re in, the service or product you provide and hopefully on who you are too. You know that selling others on how sold you are keeps you in business. If you took time to reconsider the influences that got you to the decisions you made about your business and your role in it – would you make different decisions now?
Years ago I made a different decision: to shut one successful business down. I knew I did not want to deal with the challenges that increasing my staff would bring. I was sold on what I’d created so were my clients, but not sold on expanding it. I’ve been able to travel to over fifty countries – about twenty of those paid for by my next two business pursuits, by deciding to lighten my business operation, not expand it in the traditional way.
So, back to everyone’s friend, Guy, who is keen to decide how to take that next bold step. To ask people to look at what he’s selling, without doing what he hates that others do to him – come across as selling them something!
Steve suggested he needs to be sold himself first on what he’s selling. Is he? He said he’s not, but I think that’s more about not being sold on – or sure of how to present his services. He sees the value. His decisions block the way to presenting it in alignment with who he is, so that he isn’t seen selling anything more than himself first, his web design services later.
Jerry, our veteran sales professional and all-round nice guy, married to Toni, a globally respected Astrologer, got Guy’s attention by sharing that he based all his sales career decisions on the observation that people buy from people. Be yourself, roll the dice and see if you connect with the people you want to present your business to. Then let the relationships unfold, or not, and the sales will happen, or not! Either way, enjoy your self. It’s that ‘self’ that enough people will enjoy and want to do business with you. Guy already has the people element mastered!
Larry said that Guy should not see being nice to others and then having to sell to them as separate issues. People appreciate someone that is striving to genuinely provide a solution.
Gary asked if Guy was nervous about being seen as a “Sales Predator”, which was a fresh fun, but intentional nudge to Guy to stop being victimized by the career choice he’d made, as an artist, to pursue the business of sales!
Sam suggested Guy look at how he likes to be sold to, because our own bad memories of how other “predators” have endeavored to sell to us influence the decisions we make about selling.
Then I got it! After listening and observing intently – part of my role, as leader, I saw how to help Guy.
You are an artist, right Guy? I asked. “Yes!” he answered far more passionately than he did when asked if he was sold on what he was selling!
Here’s what I suggested. Decide to make a different decision – so you can make money in the sales business. Your core piece is the artist. Deliver who you are – the artist, and wrap how your web designers create web sites that are a piece of art. How the designers use an artists eye, to detail – like an artist, the masterpiece called your web site. Guy loved it! Everyone else loved it.
The outcome for Guy? When I saw him, a week later, at the Roswell Business Connect Meetup I lead, he delivered his presentation perfectly! All thirty people present loved it.
Guy’s decision – influenced by Cross Coaching™ members – to make a better decision will help him make better money! He’s not being self-centered, but self-directed. As I like to put it, he’s being professionally selfish, so that he’s influencing his decisions and those decisions are influencing his sales!
The decisions you make do influence the sales you make!
Harry Norman Realtor, Speaker, Author, Creator of Cross Coaching™