The most important thing you control in a sales engagement is your mindset, not the buyer or conversation. Successful salespeople understand selling is about the buyer and their journey. They realize the buyer must trust them before they will allow them to become their guide on their buying journey. Three things I remind my clients to help make the journey successful…’stop selling, start helping, ‘learn and understand their why’ and ‘align your intentions’!

1. STOP SELLING, START HELPING

Buyers don’t show up to be sold but they do want help buying. So don’t show up to sell. Help them buy. When a salesperson’s intention is to make a sale they appear needy and this turns buyers off. In fact it makes them retract from the salesperson. It’s a lot like someone grocery shopping when they’re hungry. They’ll buy junk food, they’ll buy too much, they’ll often forget the important items they went to the store to get. They’re just hungry and getting fed becomes all that matters. The same thing is true in sales. When you show up to sell you are needy, it clouds your judgment. Just like skipping the nutrition information on the package, you don’t ask all of the questions you should. You go for the quick fix, your belly takes over. You load up your “basket” with your motives, end up presenting the wrong ingredients and you forget to or don’t know what to talk about that matters. You are left hungry and shopping again soon, instead of being full with a steady diet of customers.

Needy people come across as needy and that scares buyers away. Sure, when you were young, the needy girlfriend gave you lots of attention and that might have felt great. Fast forward 10 years and you have enough experience to know that those actions are good signs that she is most likely a little crazy. When you are needy in your head, you generate all sorts of warning signs that turn off or chase away buyers. They have seen this type of sales person before and they know that needy people make exaggerated claims, promises they can’t keep and set bad expectations that won’t be met.

You have to lose your intention to make a sale to lose your needy emotions. You need to be in a more objective state-of-mind, to be trusted enough so buyers will invite you to be their travel agent on the buying journey.

Understanding that making more sales will happen when you’re invite on more buying journeys. This creates a travel agent mind-set that keeps you helping, serving and doing what’s best for the buyer.

Sales happen after a successful journey so make the journey your intention, not the sale.

2. LEARN AND KNOW THEIR WHY

Do you know the buyers “why”? You’ll have to learn what it is, just like learning what destinations a traveler wants to visit on their journey. Each buyer has destinations they need to visit on their buying journey. That’s their ‘why’ they should buy from you? Why would they want what you’re selling? What do they really need? Why can’t they get what they want from someone else? Why would doing nothing be disastrous for them? You know your ‘why’ to these questions but they usually just get in the way of the buyers ‘why’ and stall the journey. You know what you think the reasons are that people should buy from you and you get busy trying to convince them they should accept your ‘why’. Your value proposition may be a destination the buyer doesn’t care about.

By understanding their ‘why’, you’ll see the destinations they care about and be able to help them have a successful buying journey.

3. ALIGN YOUR INTENTIONS

Make sure you are on the same page with the buyer. Align your intentions so you’re selling to their next destination in their journey. What’s the next step the buyer needs to take. Do not sell past this step. Only sell to the next step or the buyer will retract. If the next step in the process is a meeting with a higher level of decision-makers and influencers, then sell to get that meeting. If it’s an appointment after gathering more information, clarify the information needed, who’ll gather it and schedule the appointment. Just get a commitment for the next step.

When you sell past the next step, to the contract, for example, you create resistance in the buyer. You are moving too fast, trying to sell them and it doesn’t align with their intentions. It doesn’t allow them to believe you truly understand them, their problems, and their circumstances. They won’t trust that you are truly helping them and they won’t take the journey with you.

I coach many salespeople and I find three big problems in this area.

First…They sell past the next step by asking for a committment the buyers not ready to make. Their intention is to make a sale while the buyers is their next step.

Second…They don’t know what the next step is because they don’t ask what it is, clarify it and schedule it.

To have the confidence to ask, help define what the next step is, who needs to be a part of it, how long it will take and what resources will be required. Decide together who will do what and then svelte to meet and take the next step.

Third…They think their job is to convince the buyer to align with them instead of finding out the buyers intentions are and aligning with them.

When you align your intentions with the buyers the next step is easy to determine, confirm, schedule and keep the buyer traveling to their final destination…buying from you.

FINAL REMINDER

I always remind the salespeople I coach that they are the buying journey agent. Their job is to help make the buyers journey simple and keep them traveling toward to the final destination that’s best for the buyer. Then they’ll make customers, not just sales, and sales will increase…Just stop selling and start helping!

By Mike Moore

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