Why is that most people put their guard up when approached by a salesperson? I mean, c’mon – we are normal people just like you! The reality is that salespeople have a bad rep. This comes from many years of salespeople trying to sell you things you don’t really need nor want. A annual survey is done about the most and least respected professions, and certain types of salespeople always seem to land near the top of the list for least respected professions. So, this article describes 5 easy steps to get beyond the “salesperson stigma” and connect with your buyer.
At your first meeting with your buyer, follow these steps…..
Step 1: Give a compliment
Personal affirmation and high self-esteem are desires we all have. The better we feel about ourselves, the happier we are. So, make your buyer feel good about himself by giving an honest compliment. Don’t say how nice the fish on the wall is or how attractive the office. Find something more sincere. Perhaps the receptionist was really good or the business has been successful for so many years. “I’m really impressed that your business has continued to grow over all those year. It says something about the quality of your people.” …or… “Your receptionist was remarkably professional. That really gives visitors a great first impression about your company.” These are sincere compliments that will likely be received positively by your buyer.
Step 2: Bring a Gift
The “Law of Reciprocity” means to give and take mutually; to return in kind or even in another kind or degree. When you give a gift, your buyer’s psyche goes to work and he likely feels a need to reciprocate. That reciprocation most often comes in the form of his time, attention and engagement with you. When you give a gift, you begin to break down that resistance or “salesperson stigma” because the buyer wants to return the favor. Don’t give the buyer something with your logo on it – you can do that later. A logo gift from your company will make you look like every other salesperson. Instead give something that has personal value - candy, gift card to a coffee shop, lottery ticket, etc. Your customer will appreciate the sincere gesture and you’ll start to create a good relationship.
Many salespeople that we have in our training classes feel some discomfort about giving a gift. That’s understandable and I used to feel that way. These days when I bring a gift, I’ll say something like “my mother always taught me to bring a gift when I am invited over to someone’s place.” A similar statement that many people can relate to, helps make the gift a more comfortable interaction.
Step 3: Be a source of valuable information
Your goal should be to separate yourself from your competitors and make a solid connection with your buyer. One of the ways you achieve that is to be a source of valuable information. How do you do that? Bring an article or bring information about your customer’s competition that he/she may not already know about. If you are seeing someone in the technology field, bring a recent article or study about technology. If you are seeing someone in the marketing area, bring a good article about that topic. Presented in the right way, your buyer will appreciate your thoughtfulness and value your information. This will position you above your competition, make you look like a knowledgeable person, and further connect you with your buyer.
Step 4: Have an exhibit
Most people like seeing their name in lights. It is another way of getting personal affirmation. Always have a binder, file folder or some other item that has the customer’s name on it. Make it look professional. Print off a copy of the customer’s website home page and slide it into a binder cover or adhere it to a file folder. Whether it is the binder or file folder or some other container, use it to keep all the relevant information about that buyer. When your buyer sees it, he will likely think two things: 1) “I see my name and that gives me a feeling of importance” and 2) “this salesperson has obviously done some preparation”. Both thoughts will strengthen your connection with your buyer.
Step 5: Make a reference
Let’s say you are calling on a trucking company that wants to implement a new system of some type. Making a statement like, “I’m really interested in learning more about what you are trying to achieve here. We recently did a project where we implemented a customer tracking system for a courier service and it worked great for them. Some of what we learned on that project might be helpful with what you are trying to achieve.” A statement like this drives your credibility level to new heights, likely separates you from your competition and enhances your credibility.
In summary, by giving compliments, bringing gifts, being a source of good information, having exhibits and making good reference statements, you will shorten the time it takes to build credibility and a connection with your buyer - setting yourself above your competition and overcoming the “sales stigma”. Never ever lie to a buyer or be insincere - smart people will see through that in a second. Sometimes it takes a little extra work to come up with relevant information or make a sincere compliment, but make the investment - it will pay off for you.