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Sales Are About Making Friends

| November 12, 2012 | 0 Comments

Selling Tips      Selling Articles      Lessons From Selling          

When a sales person communicates with clients he or she has to realize it is less about making a sale and more about making a friend. It may be difficult to sell someone on something once, but if done right – by selling yourself and winning the client over to trust you can make multiple sales – and that leads to new referrals and more business.

Anyone who has ever worked in sales knows it can be a thankless job at times. People don’t trust salespeople. They have, for sometimes valid reasons, gotten the reputation of being sleazy and saying anything to make a sale. For that reason alone you have to go above and beyond to be genuine and earn their confidence and show you care about them as individuals, and how the product or services you are selling will impact their lives.

What most people don’t understand about selling is that every one of us is selling something every day. We sell ourselves when we coach, apply for a job, teach, or even offer an opinion on Facebook. There is no difference between selling ourselves and selling a product or service.

Whether you are a business owner or an employee, your image and deportment reflects on your company brand, so every time we speak to others, even if it is not about our products and services, it reflects on your brand. How you do this can win or lose a sale – or multiple sales.

We must keep in mind, for every negative impression a client gets from a salesperson there are at least ten other people who will hear about it. With the technology and social networks we have today, even one negative remark sends waves that ripple endlessly. One bad salesperson can have an effect on an entire brand or business.

I have not always closed a sale. I don’t know of anyone who has been successful at closing 100% of the time. What I have done that has made me more successful is to go above and beyond to make sure the client walks away with a good impression of me, and my company.

I use as my example a lesson I learned from the classic Christmas movie, Miracle on 34th Street. Santa Claus recommended that when Macy’s shoppers were not able to find what they were looking for at Macy’s they could find it, or a better deal, at Gimbals or other stores. This did more for Macy’s business than any advertising campaign because it showed Macy’s was willing to lose a sale in order to make a friend. That friend will spread the word, and return for other purchases.

Have you ever encountered a salesperson that was grouchy and rude? Did you do business with them? Absolutely not! The client has to like you, and feel as if they are receiving the best you have to give, and you have their interests at heart.

Dale Carnegie made a killing with his book and coaching series, How To Win Friends and Influence People. The point of his entire thesis is that people just want to feel valued and secure. If you can do that for them you may not make that particular sale, but they will not forget you and will return – you have made a friend.

How do you go about accomplishing this?

1.      Address them by name. People like to hear their name spoken – so do it repeatedly.

2.      Listen to them. Listen not only with your ears to what they are saying, but listen to what they don’t say. Ask questions.

3.      Get to know them on a personal basis. Don’t focus on closing the sale; focus on the person and their needs. Encourage them to open up about themselves and what they want. Find out what interests them.

4.      Use humor. Smile with your eyes as well as your mouth.  Be careful that the humor is not demeaning or off-color. Inappropriate humor is a real turn-off.

5.      Be genuine. People learn to trust others they feel are sincere. Don’t say things you don’t mean just to get a sale. Say things from the heart – not from the wallet.

6.      Think about what the client wants and not what you want. Their ideas may be different from yours. You can offer them suggestions as to why you think something will work better than what they want, but don’t push the point if they choose differently. You are servicing them; they are not there to accommodate you.

If you follow these tips you have opened up an opportunity to form a friendship that will lead to other friendships, and other sales. You have taken a sales challenge and made it an opportunity – and isn’t that the goal of a successful salesperson?

 

*Would you like to be a contributor in the upcoming Lessons From Selling eBook? Learn more…

 

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