12 Great Selling Skills
Chapter 4: Selling Through Relationships
Always remember that your own determination
to achieve success is far more important
than all other factors. – Abraham Lincoln
One of the greatest breakthroughs in the new sales age
was the discovery of the concept of “positioning”
– the way people think and perceive you.
It is the aggregate result of all your interactions
with your customers
and is largely influenced
by first impressions.
Your positioning in the minds
and hearts of your customers is likely
to be the most powerful factor in determining
how much you sell over time.
If you like, respect and care about
the person selling a product,
and you have complete confidence
that the product is of excellent quality,
it will instantly improve your life in some way,
you’re 95% of the way to a buying decision
before the salesperson even opens his mouth
to talk to you.
Positioning is everything.
How do customers think about your company,
What words do customers usually use
when they think of you
or describe you to others?
Imagine a customer calls you
and tells you that
she is having lunch with one
of your potential customers.
This customer really likes you
and wants to help you.
“What do you want me
to tell this potential client about you?
In order for you to sell your products,
what should I say about you?”
How do you answer this?
This is such an important question
that you mustn’t miss your chance
to come up with a perfect answer.
there is an “attitude theory” about positioning.
An idea is something you can leave a lot of impressions
on in a client’s mind,
but attitude is far more dominant.
This attitude is a quick action
whether the other customer buys your product/service,
continues to buy,
or tells their friends
about your product/service do you provide.
Imagine the brain as a warehouse that has been filled
with drawers full of drawers.
Every customer has a mental file cabinet
for storing all the impressions
and experiences about you and your company,
right from the first contact.
You also have a mental archive
with impressions of all the people you’ve met,
the places you’ve been,
the situations you’ve been through in life
since your teenage years.
Some of the mental document boxes are quite small,
possibly a remembrance of the restaurant
where you dined many,
many years ago.
Some document boxes are quite large,
such as the ones you have with your spouse,
parents, friends, school, and work.
But every time you have a new experience,
you immediately open a box of mental documents
and put in first impressions.
And the first impression is always the most lasting impression,
sometimes will follow you for the rest of your life.
Your position in the customer’s mind
– how they think and perceive you
– determines whether they will buy from you,
how long they will spend making a purchase decision,
how much they will bargain,
and whether they will buy your product/service again
or refer you to their friends.
“Rich people do what is hard,
that is why their life is easy.” – Dan Lok
The Golden Triangle of Sales
This formula is based on experience drawn
from top sellers around the world.
Thousands of customers have been interviewed over the years
and asked the same specific question about
how they think the best salespeople have ever contacted them.
They all describe the best salespeople,
in every industry in the world,
in three main ways
—as a friend,
as a consultant,
and as a teacher.
“You can’t get rich, looking poor.” – Dan Lok
1. As a friend.
Customers see the salesperson as a friend,
someone who genuinely cares about them,
even more than selling.
When customers start
to think of you as a friend
who just recently sold a product/service they purchased,
they will remain loyal to you
that you represent the product/service.
It’s nearly impossible for your competitors
to get that customer
with a better price or offer.
As Shakespeare once wrote,
the friends you have,
when tested, bind them
to you with a “ring of steel”.
When you develop a genuine friendship
with a customer,
create a lasting relationship based on mutual respect,
it is this relationship that will keep
that customer coming back
to buy the product/service over
and over again,
year after year.
(We will return to the topic of “a friend” later in this chapter.)
“I’ve only had two rules.
Do all you can and do it the best you can.” – Colonel Sanders
2. A consultant.
Customers think of the best salespeople
as trusted professionals
who give good advice
to help them improve their lives or their jobs,
both with products and services.
products/services that the seller sold
and in other areas as well.
When customers start to see you as a consultant,
an expert in your field,
they will eventually form
the habit of not buying the same product/service
from anyone other than you.
How do you know which clients consider themselves a consultant?
When a competitor approaches them
with a product/service similar
to the one you sell,
they will call you and ask you
for advice on your competitor’s product.
They know that you will always tell the truth
and will help them make the right decision.
When your customers start calling you
and expressing a desire
to get advice from you about your competitors,
you know you’ve made it
to the top 10% of sales professionals,
in terms of sales on both sales results and earnings.
“Service is the best thing in the world you can give your customers.” – Colonel Sanders
Customers see the best salespeople as a teacher
who shows them how
to get the best out of the product/service they’re selling.
Furthermore, the best salespeople take the trouble
to show customers all the necessary information
and all the relevant issues
so that they can make the best choice.
This is an important discovery
when it comes to selling in this day and age,
and this discovery will influence your business outcomes
for the rest of your sales career.
The following story will help
confirm the importance of coaching in sales.
The Story of IBM
During the 1980s,
IBM was one of the most admired companies in the world.
Then, a new president ran the company
with a new philosophy.
He concluded that IBM no longer needed
to spend so much time
and effort selling its products/services.
Now the company has gone far beyond the status of a “mediocre” company
with marketing and sales.
Instead, IBM is a “scientific” company.
With this new approach,
the sales staff were treated
as if they were the rags in the company.
They are burdened
with completing a huge amount of paperwork
after each contact with a customer.
Sales executives are required
to spend almost all of their time reviewing sales staff’s reports.
As a result, salespeople spend less
and less time actually doing their professional work.
If customers have questions they need answered,
they will be directed to call a hotline,
where they can be served
by a telephone operator
instead of meeting a salesperson in person
and hearing the answer for all your questions.
IBM’s competitor saw a huge opportunity.
They started offering seminars
and in-service training classes
to teach customers how to get the most out of the devices
and software they provided to their customers.
IBM’s sales plummeted.
Share prices also fell.
Experts from Wall Street began
to study the hypothesis that
IBM should be divided into four units and
might have to sell these units to a competitor.
The company almost disappeared from the sky.
The board finally took action.
They fired the new chairman
and eventually all the board members that
the other president had promoted.
They did a thorough research
before making the final decision to hire Lou Gerstner,
the former CEO of Nabisco,
to revive the company if he could.
Gerstner started his career
with a job at McKinsey & Company,
one of the best management consulting firms in the world.
He called them and asked them for advice and help.
McKinsey & Company sent a team of experts
who roamed the country interviewing IBM’s customers
and competitors to find out what was causing IBM’s problems
in such a short period of time.
They have found that during the busiest times,
IBM salespeople spend a lot of time working face-to-face,
working shoulder to shoulder with their customers
to help them maximize the benefits they receive.
they can get from IBM products.
But under the command of the new (now former) president,
salespeople were virtually forbidden
from spending time with their customers.
As a result, their customers find it easier
to make decisions about competitors’ products/services over IBM’s.
With the results of this survey,
Gerstner did two things.
First, he quickly found a way
to increase the number of employees working
in the sales department.
He assembled a team of office workers and engineers,
trained them in sales,
and sent them out to meet customers.
Next, he made the decision that from now on,
75% of the time of sales
and business managers should be spent
on their professional work,
working with customers,
instead of working with customers in the office.
Once the business reports are completed,
sales assistants will be hired to do the paperwork.
As a result,
in a very short time,
the company’s business situation has made significant changes.
Huge losses are replaced by huge profits.
The stock price skyrocketed by more than 50%.
IBM has once again become one of the most highly regarded
and most profitable companies in the world.
IBM has really come out of
the “thousands of pounds hanging hair” situation
in a spectacular way.
The lesson from the IBM story is
that you and your salespeople shouldn’t underestimate
the importance of educating your customers
to maximize the benefits your product/service has bring.
The assumption that customers will find out
for themselves the product/service
they have just purchased is not fair and not right at all.
Three sales strategies
The golden triangle of sales
—as a friend,
as a consultant,
and as a teacher
—requires you to use three strategies
in your sales work simultaneously.
As you become proficient with these strategies,
your business results will skyrocket.
Your customers will be very happy.
They will buy your product/service
and you will earn more than ever.
SELL BY CREATE RELATIONSHIP
This is where you position yourself as a friend.
The first thing you do is take the time
to build a relationship.
You ask many questions
and listen attentively to the answers.
You care about all that concerns your customer in which
not only matters that may be related
to whether he will buy your product/service
but also whether he will buy your product/service,
what he likes and doesn’t like,
his current position
and what happened in the past
and other problems in his life,
matters far more important than what you are selling,
whether whatever they are.
But there is a threat in sales
by building relationships that you need to avoid.
That is, when you care too much
about the quality of the relationship,
you become too sensitive
to the thoughts and feelings of the customer.
You want your customers
to like you so much
that you shy away from inviting them
to buy the products/services you sell
and try to live and die to satisfy every customer’s desires,
even if those requests are unreasonable,
or beyond its ability to pay.
Agreeing is the first in all sales,
because only if you can build a good relationship
will you be qualified
to promote the sale.
Relationships are important,
but it’s not everything.
Selling by building relationships will be the main topic
of the remainder of this chapter.
SELL BY CONSULTANCY
You position yourself as a trusted advisor,
and advisor to your clients
by focusing on helping them solve their problems
or achieve their goals have set.
Customers are often very busy.
The most likely customer is the one who
is often overloaded with too much
to do and too little time to do it.
If they’d spent a little bit of their day talking to you,
they would have felt that
it was an important and valuable investment.
When you position yourself as a consultant,
you ask well-prepared
and thoughtful questions about your clients
to help them think better
and more clearly about the situations they are in,
about their future
as well as their real needs and requirements.
By asking smart questions about your customers,
you make yourself valuable to them
and make them more open
and ready to see you again and again.
In terms of the relational aspect of sales,
the emotional part is very important.
But the real “beef” in the sales relationship is
when the customer sees you as a special
and important factor in improving their lives
and work at a reasonable cost.
The more relevant questions you ask that are tailored
to understand your client’s problems
and needs, and the more relevant advice you can provide,
to address those issues and help them achieve their goals,
what they’re craving,
the more likely
they’ll see you as a valuable resource.
We will explore all the issues related
to selling by consulting in chapter 5 of this book.
SELL BY EDUCATION
This is where you position yourself as a teacher,
showing potential customers
how they can get the best out of using your product/service.
What’s interesting about education,
especially during the presentation of the sales process,
is that all of the “lessons”
you teach your customers
will increase the customer’s desire
to buy your product/service time increase the loyalty
they have for you and your product
to you after your purchase.
Not only that,
the better you “train” your customers,
the more likely they are
to talk to others about what
you sell and
how they can get the best out of your products/services
the taller you will be.
By taking the time to educate your customers,
you will actually turn them into your advocates
who will eventually sell your product/service to others
by talking about the benefits they are getting.
Emotional foundation of relationships
Sales has undergone significant changes in recent years,
from a fast process,
unaffected by human emotions,
to a slower and more influenced process buyer’s feelings.
The crux of selling today lies in the quality of the relationships
you create with your potential
and existing customers.
The best and most successful salespeople are those
who are best able
to create and maintain good relationships with people
who can buy their products
and refer them to them,
friends and colleagues.
The very actions
and qualities that have helped you become attuned
to the most important people in your personal life
are the same actions
and qualities that
can help you develop a long-lasting relationship
of trust mutual trust with customers.
According to Theodore Levitt,
a longtime professor at Harvard Business School,
all transactions made in the 21st century
will be relationship-based transactions.
These transactions will be based largely on
how the customer feels about the seller
and the company providing the product/service.
People will work with people they like.
They refuse to do business with people they don’t like,
even if they want and like products/services sold
by people they don’t like.
If the relationship is good enough,
the details won’t be so important
to the customer’s decision
to buy the product/service you offer,
but if the relationship isn’t good enough,
the details will stand in your way walk
on the road to conquer customers.
I will sometimes ask my audience members
to my sales conversations,
“What do you think is the ratio between logic
and emotion that a person considers
when making a buying decision?”
They will answer:
“80/20! 90/10! 50/50”…
That’s when I stopped and pointed out that,
customers are 100% emotional.
People make decisions emotionally
and then justify it as logical.
People are completely controlled by their emotions,
whether they hide,
or ignore them.
The basic rule is that “emotions distort values”.
I mean, any emotion,
whether positive or negative,
and deepens the participants’ actions and reactions.
If I like you,
I’ll see everything you say
and offers in a more beautiful,
If I’m not impressed with you, even worse,
if I don’t really like you,
I’ll see everything you say
and your offers in a negative light.
The key to sales success is
to develop an ongoing broader circle of friendships
with your colleagues and customers.
The three keys to developing the friendship element are attention,
care, and politeness.
First, you need to make it clear that you care about your customers
by asking the right questions
and paying close attention to everything they say.
You’ve probably heard the saying,
“They don’t care what you know
until they know how much you care.”
The first question that pops into the minds
of potential customers
when they first meet you will be:
“Are you interested in me?”
You demonstrate customer care,
going beyond what your product/service provides,
by asking questions
and showing interest in the customer’s life and business, problems,
and issues unrelated
to the product you are discussing.
Even if it seems like a detour
to developing a sales relationship,
it is often the fastest and most direct route.
By showing concern
and care for your customers,
you make them naturally feel interested in you and like you more.
The third part of the friendship element is politeness,
It is a very true fact that your showing courtesy,
courtesy to everyone you meet at your client’s home or work,
and especially to the client himself,
will make you feel better,
you stand out among those
who focus only on making sales and ignore all else.
One of the best ways to start the first meeting
with a client is to say something like,
“Thanks for your time.
I know you are very busy.”
This brochure positions you as an expert.
You acknowledge that the person you are talking
to is an important person
and that he has done you a favor
by agreeing to speak with you.
This simple statement often breaks the ice
and makes your potential customers more open
to what you have to say.
It initiates a good sales relationship.
The top-earning salespeople
see each new customer interaction
as the beginning of a lasting friendship.
It is not unusual for the first contact at work
to turn into a friendship
that lasts for many years,
both at work and in private life.
Over the course of my career,
I have forged professional friendships that
spanned more than 30 years.
And these friendships brought me
a lot of big sales and deals.
The Power of Fame
The fastest growing and most profitable companies are those whose products
and services have the best reputation in the market.
For example, Nordstrom is famous in the country
for its impeccable customer service.
There were hundreds of powerful competitors
in every market
in which Nordstrom opened,
and the company soon surpassed
almost all of them with the quality of its customer service.
That is not a coincidence.
Nordstrom’s reputation is extremely important
and it is nurtured in all customer interactions.
Much of Google’s success lies in the incredibly talented people
it attracts to work.
Google regularly tops the list of companies rated
as “a great place to work”.
The company does all it can
to make every experience
at Google a positive and enriching one.
As a result, the brightest
and most talented technologists
and business professionals are ready
to apply and work at Google
whenever the company has a hiring need.
What is your company’s reputation?
What do people think, say, and describe your company?
What words do people use
when they describe your company to non-customers?
Your answers to these questions largely determine the future
and fate of the business you operate.
In the eighteenth century
and in the early years of the twentieth century,
there was a company specializing in the production
and export of coffee on the island
of Hawaii called Lion Coffee.
This company has built a very good reputation
in providing quality products
with impeccable service.
Over the decades,
the founder died,
the company changed hands several times,
and eventually it fell into bankruptcy.
Then a group of people decided
to start a company that grows,
and distributes coffee in Hawaii.
During the establishment of the company,
they happened to know the reputation
and history of Lion Coffee.
They quickly discovered that the name was still remembered
and had almost become a symbol of product quality.
They accept to pay several million dollars just
to get that name for their business.
Even though the old Lion Coffee had been inactive
for so many years,
its name was still so powerful that
when they started a new company with that brand,
within a few years,
it was already gone,
became the most successful
and highly regarded company in the Hawaiian island area,
and continues to operate successfully to this day.
Your personal reputation
In the same way,
your reputation is
the greatest asset you have in life as well as in work.
Those are the qualities and behaviors
that people know and remember about you.
That’s how people think and talk about you.
As Shakespeare remarked,
when you lose your wallet,
you’ve just lost a piece of trash,
but when you lose your good reputation,
you’ve lost everything.
In business, your reputation,
or how you are known to your customers,
is the single most important factor in determining your sales and earnings.
And the best rule you need to remember
when building your reputation is “everything counts”!
Everything that you do,
or refuse to do,
Everything you say counts.
Everything has the effect of helping or hurting.
Everything is added or taken away.
It will take you a long time to build a personal reputation;
You need integrity and the ability
to work hard to maintain your reputation,
and it can be easily lost quickly by one misstep.
Dan Sullivan, a business teacher,
says that there are three basic principles
to building a good reputation in sales:
(1) Say please and thank you.
(2) Arrive on time and always be on time.
(3) Keep promises; always do what you say you will do.
These things sound simple,
but it’s amazing how many sales professionals there are
The customer forgot to be polite,
was always late when meeting with the customer,
and did not pay any attention to doing what was promised
to be done during the meeting.
Reputation of the best sellers
Your place in the minds and hearts of your customers,
and the way they think about you
and talk about you when you’re not there,
is the affirmation of your reputation.
All the best salespeople are described
in highly positive if not enthralled terms
by their customers.
And it seems that our esteemed customers use the same words
to describe the best salespeople in every field.
First, they say,
“They work for me.”
This means that the salesperson shows
such particular attention to the customer’s situation
and needs that the other customer actually feels
as if the salesperson cares more about them
than about completing the job by a transaction.
This is one of the most important insights you can develop
by focusing on your customer’s needs at all times.
Make sure your product/service is always second or third.
Customers will sometimes describe a salesperson
as their “unpaid employee”.
In this respect, customers are saying that
they can contact the seller whenever,
by phone or by email,
when they have a problem
or need related to the product/service provided by the seller.
Another way customers describe the best salespeople is:
“like a friend, a consultant,
a trusted advisor.”
The way salespeople build the perception
in the prospect’s mind that
they are a trusted advisor is to ask questions
and find ways to help the prospect achieve his or her goals
and objectives improve your life or work.
The more you focus on helping your prospect,
the more likely that prospect will see you
as someone truly different and more useful than your competitors.
Sometimes the customer will say that
the salesperson “really understands my situation”.
How do customers get this perception of you?
You are constantly asking questions about the client’s situation,
listening attentively to the answers,
and providing the ideas
and support needed to help the client in that area.
Customers, like everyone else,
They look for the path of least resistance
to get what they want,
the fastest and easiest way possible.
Once a client has formed a relationship with you
and is convinced that you know
and understand them and their situation,
they will feel less ready to start a new relationship
with any organization/individual,
any other person with the same business as you.
Everyone will quickly fall into a “comfort zone”.
They are comfortable doing things a particular way
and are often reluctant to change or try something new.
For this reason,
when you build
and maintain a strong relationship with your customers,
they will often continue that relationship
with you and continue to use your product/service for a while,
very long time.
A disastrous decision
A manufacturing company in Chicago,
my client, sells machine tools to other Midwest manufacturers.
One day, the board members sat together
and analyzed their business for that year.
They were surprised to find
that there was a salesman who sold 50% of their total sales
and his sales amounted to several million dollars.
This salesman has been with the company for 20 years.
He has carefully established his client base
and built a large “business book”.
Customers have bought expensive machines
from him year after year,
and even more have bought his products
from the previous generation of the company’s owners
to this generation.
The board of directors of the company made a terrible mistake.
They decided that this salesman had
too many of their customers in his hands,
he was making too much money.
They agreed that the customers were theirs,
not the salesman’s,
and that the salesman shouldn’t be overpaid just
to serve their customers.
They called the salesman in
and informed him of their decision,
that his sales area would be halved
and commissions would also be reduced.
They explained to him that he was overpaid just
to serve their long-term customers.
The seller was very gentle.
He pointed out that there was a close friendship between himself
and the other clients
and that if the company split them up and cut his income,
he would have no choice
but to come work for
the company’s competitors and,
of course, bring along the guests
Although he doesn’t want to have to,
he has no choice if the company insists on making that decision.
the company’s management was never the sales people.
They are the second generation of owners of the company
and have never worked in the field.
like all inexperienced people,
that deals simply fall from the sky,
like raindrops, and that all that
What a salesman has
to do is simply grab a few buckets
and collect rainwater,
that is, sit there waiting for customers (and sales)
to arrive and then receive a commission.
The Board of Directors of the company is determined
to implement its decision.
They narrow the area
and cut that seller’s commission.
30 days later he submitted his resignation
and moved to work for a competitor that
had been waiting for him for a long time.
Within 12 months,
90% of his customers switched
to buying from the new company he worked for.
The company that considered him
just a secondary figure
in the other sales was almost about to go bankrupt.
They take many years to recover.
They simply don’t understand the importance
of the seller-buyer relationship
in a competitive market,
where the products/services offered are often similar
to those offered,
each other and are interchangeable.
When relationships are more important
Relationships are even more important in certain situations
or with certain products/services.
the larger and more complex the transaction,
the more important the relationship becomes.
In large and complex transactions,
there will be too many details
to analyze and absorb.
The customer must
therefore make a decision
based on something other than
the intricate details of the product/service being offered,
and the “something” is
how the customer feels about the sales rep.
The more people affected by a purchase,
the more important the relationship becomes.
Customers, like everyone else,
are very sensitive to the emotions
and reactions of the people they work with.
When a decision maker considers buying a product/service
that others will have to make or use,
his trust in the seller and ultimately the person
who will bring the product
to them is an important factor in decision making.
The longer the shelf life of the product
or the time it takes to make a purchase decision,
the more important the relationship will become.
In fact, relationships will become the most important factor
when a customer buys a product/service
and then has to use that product/service
for many years to enjoy all the value,
that it brings.
IBM has become one of the most highly regarded companies in the world
because of its international reputation
for excellent customer care.
Once you’ve purchased an IBM product,
you’ll never have to worry about malfunctions or breakdowns.
IBM will take care of you under any circumstances,
and often very quickly and efficiently.
For people buying your products/services for the first time,
relationships are extremely important.
In any new sale,
the potential customer is uncertain about whether
or not he should buy the product/service.
The more trust
and confidence a new customer has with the salesperson,
the more comfortable they will feel
when they sign the sale agreement in the first place.
Relationships reduce risk
The most common change in modern selling is risk,
or perception of risk.
A good relationship reduces the perception of risk.
People will be willing to pay a lot to minimize the risk of any purchase decision.
When choosing between a product
with a lower price and higher risk ratio
and a product with a higher price and lower risk ratio,
the customer will always free himself from feelings of stress or anxiety,
when having to make purchasing decisions
by choosing products with higher price but lower risk.
Once you have a clear idea that a potential customer wants
to buy what you’re selling,
identify all the issues the customer might be interested in:
Will it work? Is this a good decision?
Will I lose my money?
Will I end up paying too much?
Can I find another cheaper product?
If I buy this product/service from this company,
will the seller continue to be responsible for the warranties and services?
Your main job in the conversation is
to clearly explain to your customers,
through stories that
they will take almost no risk when buying products/services. your.
If a customer says,
“I can get this product cheaper from a competitor,
you can simply answer,
“Yes, of course.
But do this only if you are willing to take more risks.”
Whenever you can show or demonstrate that
buying a competitor’s product poses more risk to the customer,
you increase the value of the product and
reduce the risk of buying the yours product
in the eyes of this customer.
New sales model
It seems that most sales professionals in every field,
no matter how trained they are,
are slowly transitioning
to what I call the “new sales model.”
The new sales pattern can be described
as an inverted triangle
with the bottom at the top and the top at the bottom.
This triangle will then
be divided into four parts.
The top part of the sales model,
representing 40% of the triangle,
is about building credibility.
Trust is the glue that holds relationships together.
Credibility is the lubricant between people,
it allows them to trust each other’s company.
Trust is the cement that holds all the bricks together
in any relationship.
When you think about this in your life,
you will realize that the people who are most important
to you are also the people you trust the most.
there would be no sales relationship.
That’s why trust makes up 40% of the relational model.
The second part of the new sales model,
which accounts for about 30%,
is precisely identifying the need.
The more clearly you demonstrate your desire
to understand your customer’s needs,
the more likely your customer will trust and trust you.
The more you ask and listen to the answers,
the more likely the customer will become open to you
and give you a lot of information
to help you make a good offer.
Here’s the rule:
Burning the stage kills the transaction.
Even if you do the right thing
but do it wrong in the process or order,
you still kill the transaction.
New salespeople with little experience often break this rule.
When they first meet a new customer,
they introduce themselves
and then immediately start talking about their product/service.
Instead of asking a series of well-prepared
and streamlined questions
to understand the customer’s needs,
they begin their pitch.
And as a result, customers will quickly become wary
and completely avoid.
No trust or relationship can be built
under such circumstances.
It is clear that the salesman does not have any concerns
or thoughts except talking about his products/services
and trying to sell those products/services.
The third part of the new sales model is
to offer your product/service.
In the new sales model,
you will carefully make arguments
to prove that your product/service
is fully capable of meeting the needs of the customer.
You only talk about what the customer really cares about.
Like hands protected in gloves,
your solution needs to fit the needs they’ve expressed.
You should say to the customer:
“You say you have this need or concern.
And my product/service fulfills that
particular need in this way.”
Often the objection comes up
when you stop talking about the things your customers care about.
As long as what you say is responsive
to the customer’s opinions and concerns,
they will still listen to you fully.
There is a rule of communication that states:
“No one argues with their own information.”
If you talk about your product/service
from your own point of view,
the customer may argue
and constantly express disagreement
However, if you respond to the customer’s comments in your offer,
the customer cannot
and will not argue with you.
They love hearing their thoughts
and concerns answered
by a smart and experienced salesperson like you.
The fourth part of the modern sales model,
the apex of the triangle,
is confirmation or completion.
Luckily, if you’ve built a high degree of credibility
by focusing on identifying needs
and how you can help your customers improve their lives or work,
and you’ve shown that
If your product/service can accomplish that goal,
it’s usually relatively easy
to complete the transaction.
Sometimes it happens very naturally.
At the end of a successful pitch,
if you’ve done all of the above,
the prospect will often say,
“Oh, that sounds like a great fit to me.
When will I be able to receive it?”
Perhaps the greatest success of a sales pitch is
when the customer agrees
to buy your product/service
without even asking for a price.
When you build a high level of credibility,
customers will know that the price you offer,
no matter what,
will be reasonable and genuine.
Customers have complete confidence that you work to
respond to what interests him most.
The key to building relationships
The key to building a sales relationship is trust and credibility.
– how much your customers trust and expect from you
– is the single most important factor in determining
how much you can sell,
how fast you sell,
how much money you make,
and how much money you make
and your standard of living for the rest of your life.
Trust and credibility are everything.
There are five steps to effective listening.
As you learn how to listen effectively,
follow these steps closely,
and you’ll be amazed at
how quickly a trust-based relationship can be built
with your clients
and with everyone else in your life.
STEP 1: ASK GOOD PREPARED QUESTIONS
Like a good lawyer in court,
you need to be prepared with well-thought-out questions.
Write those questions down and even practice in advance.
Your questions should go
from general to specific,
and designed to extract good information
from the customer.
STEP 2: CAREFULLY LISTEN TO THE ANSWER
Learn to follow up.
Be an effective listener
and encourage others to keep talking.
Focus your eyes on the customer,
and don’t interrupt,
no matter what thoughts pop into your mind.
Initially, you need to be extremely serious
with yourself to be able to follow these steps.
because they’re scared,
or because they think they have something really important to add.
But don’t interrupt for any reason.
Showing absolute attention is the highest form of praise.
When you swallow every word the other person is saying,
and look at the other person’s face intently,
nod and smile,
you really have an emotional impact on that person.
Les Giblin, a communication expert,
says this form of listening is like a “transparent magic”.
It has an almost magical effect on other people’s thoughts
and feelings, especially their thoughts and feelings about you.
In sales transactions, many people are good at talking,
but very few are good listeners.
Listening is a powerful tool.
When you listen attentively to another person,
you show your appreciation for that person.
You make the other person feel valued and important.
That person’s self-esteem also increases as a result.
Even the heart rate,
blood pressure increased and the face was pinker.
The more attentively you listen to others,
the more they like and appreciate themselves,
the more they like and respect you,
the more they appreciate your products/services.
STEP 3: PAUSE BEFORE RESPONDING
Instead of jumping into the conversation with your own opinions,
when the speaker pauses,
pause for a few seconds and wait.
The act of stopping represents excellence.
It is a very elegant form of listening.
This action has been practiced
by very delicate people and it is a powerful action.
When you stop,
you gain three advantages in the conversation:
You avoid the risk of interrupting the other person
if they are simply rearranging their thoughts before continuing.
You silently tell the other person
that you are carefully considering what they say
and this means that
what they say is extremely valuable and important,
and therefore extremely valuable in themselves,
You allow the words of the other person
to penetrate deeper into your mind.
You actually hear and understand more clearly.
Not only do you hear what people say,
you also hear what they don’t say,
and often what they don’t say is the real message.
In other words,
if you start talking right after the other person stops talking,
you’re sending a message
that you don’t really care what the other person has just said.
Much of the action in a conversation is not listening but merely waiting.
STEP 4: ASK A QUESTION TO CLEAR THE PROBLEM
Here lies the true art of conversation,
and herein lies the key to successful sales and persuasion.
Once you realize that the other person has said all of his
or her thoughts and there is a pause in the conversation,
you should assume
that you have not fully understood
what the prospect really is wanting to say.
So continue the conversation by asking,
“What do you mean?”
This is one of the most powerful questions
you’ll learn in sales training courses,
in any language.
Whenever you ask your potential customers this question,
you are giving them an opportunity
to expand on their previous answers and comments.
They will give you more information
that can help you understand their situation better
and make a better offer.
Even if they say mean things
“I really don’t feel confident in your product or company,”
you can still continue by saying,
“What do you really mean?”
Then wait and listen attentively
to their answer.
And here’s the key:
The questioners are the ones in control.
The person who is answering the questions is the person
who is being controlled
by the person asking the question.
In the book Ron Arden and I co-authored,
The Power of Charm,
we explain 35 different things people can do
to be a truly charming person in any situation.
Possibly the most important cue is that during a conversation,
forget about yourself completely,
and instead ask questions
and follow up on others’ questions,
so that they continue talking about themselves
in the future of most of the time.
The more you ask
and listen attentively to the answers,
the more people will trust you.
In terms of social factors,
the more you ask questions
and the more attentively you listen to others,
the more they trust you
and find you more attractive.
STEP 5: FEEDBACK
Paraphrase what the customer said in your own words.
Your ability to respond to exactly
what the customer has told you in your own words
is a “hard test” of your ability to listen.
It proves that you sincerely listen
and pay close attention to
what the customer has to share with you.
Only after you have accurately reproduced the customer’s problems,
and goals will they confirm
and agree that you have understood the situation correctly,
and that you can begin recommending your product/service as a solution.
In my business career,
I often spend time talking to potential customers on the phone
or in other forms of communication
to fully understand their problems
and needs and then write
and send a proposal to them.
The proposal usually consists of three basic paragraphs.
You can use the same method
if you also write proposals
to sell your products/services.
In the first paragraph,
I thank the prospect for taking the time
to talk with me
and share his thoughts and concerns
on the issue we discussed.
I begin the second paragraph by saying,
“Based on what we have talked about,
it is my understanding…”
Then I began to explain clearly
and in detail what it was.
I understand the client’s situation,
This extension usually makes up about 50%
of the body of the proposal.
Third, in my concluding paragraph,
I say, “I believe I can do a great job helping
you solve your problems
and achieve your goals
in a strategic planning program
with a two-day strategy
that I can organize and guide you.
I look forward to working
with you in the near future.”
I could add a little more detail about
what my services offer,
but usually this is very brief and light.
Every time I use this three-part recommendation process,
I usually immediately get confirmation on the client side
and move forward with my mission.
As soon as I made it clear
that I “understand the client’s situation,”
the transaction was quick and easy.
In short, to build truly quality relationships,
you should follow a simple process, over and over again:
Ask interesting and interesting questions.
Smart questions require careful
thought and preparation.
Listen attentively when others speak;
Do not interrupt the other person for any reason.
Pause before responding.
Get comfortable with moments of silence in a conversation.
Ask questions to clarify the issue.
Never assume that you have clearly understood
what the customer really wants
to say just by what he
or she says.
Please continue to ask questions
to clarify the issue.
Reply. Paraphrase what the customer said,
in your own words,
to demonstrate to the customer
that you were really listening.
Preserve the relationship after completing the transaction
Customer psychology has quite interesting twists.
The real transaction begins
when the customer says “yes”.
That’s why professionals never think
in terms of “closed the deal”.
Instead, they think they have “started a relationship”.
When customers are still interested,
the purchase decision is actually
just the beginning of the sales process,
not the end.
And very often,
after making a purchase decision
(especially with expensive items),
customers often fall into a state of confusion,
anxiety or regret.
Immediately after making a purchase,
signing the contract
and transferring the money to you,
customers begin to wonder if they just made the right decision.
They start thinking about the money
they just paid,
when implementing your solution
or learning how to use the new product/service you offer,
and all the mistakes
they may have made in making this decision.
Worst of all, the customer may lose all confidence
and think about canceling the transaction.
That’s why there’s always a 72-hour waiting period
after people buy a product,
when they have the right to change their mind.
When your customers make a purchase,
they will often start to worry
and think a terrible scenario
of having just made a mistake.
At this point, they will look to the salesman,
like a drowning man struggling to find a stake.
Your client will call you,
sometime later that week,
“I really need to talk to you about something.”
This is completely normal and natural.
What customers need right now is active support.
The quicker you respond to your client’s feeling
that you’ve made a mistake,
the more likely the client will trust you,
and the greater the chance
that the transaction will actually be completed.
Another aspect of buyer psychology is that
when a customer makes a decision
to buy a product/service from you
and has signed a contract
or given you a check,
they may feel like they just gave you a privilege.
The column “Debt” in your relationship
with the customer has just added an amount for you
because the customer thinks you have added a new debt
to him when he buys your product/service.
This feeling may not be expressed,
but if you don’t immediately do something
to reciprocate the customer’s feelings
before making a purchase,
they may feel a bit unhappy even pissed off.
In this case, do something immediately
to reassure the client
that he has just made the right decision.
At the very least,
send an email that same day.
Send a thank you letter,
a handwritten card,
showing your gratitude to the client
that they decided to work with you.
Even better, send gifts to customers in some form.
At our company, we send a gift of delicious food
to our customers right after working with them.
No matter what you send, take a moment
to make sure that all the ingredients in the package
are really good quality.
It is strange how many gift packages,
although beautifully wrapped,
contain foods that even the most ordinary people cannot swallow.
Recently, a local gift basket maker approached us.
We agreed to give them a chance.
Immediately after completing a transaction
with an important customer,
we send the customer a huge gift basket
from this new supplier.
To our shocking surprise,
the gift basket was returned
with a small note that read:
“The things in this gift basket are of such poor quality
that we cannot accept them.”
When we opened the shopping cart and looked in it,
we found that what the customer commented
on was absolutely true.
The gift basket was filled
with old packages of hot dogs,
old butter boxes,
old biscuits and handfuls of cheap candy,
but they were beautifully packaged
and looked very expensive.
We never used that gift basket supplier again.
Finally, once you’ve made an important deal,
schedule regular calls
or meetings with customers.
If it’s a small client,
you can send out an email
or the company’s monthly newsletter once a month.
For mid-range customers,
you can send out a handwritten thank you letter
or monthly newsletter
and call them directly every six months.
If it’s a larger customer,
you may want
to call them once a month or every two months.
The best solution is to tell the customer
that you want to stay in regular contact with them.
You might ask:
“How often do you want me to call you directly?
How do you feel comfortable?”
The client will often tell you how often you need
to call him to maintain the relationship
and keep things in balance.
You can also choose
between email, phone and in person.
Your problem is to consider
which form of communication would be appreciated.
Become a relationship expert
Everything related to sales these days is relationships.
The best salespeople are relationship experts.
They know that the quality of the relationship
will be determined by the time
and effort they invest in that relationship.
You, too, must become a relationship expert.
Always look for ways to reassure your client
that the relationship is really important to you.
The more you focus on your sales relationship,
the more deals you can make and the
he soon had success.
There are many industries where your ability
and maintain genuine relationships determines your income:
accounting and real estate are just a few of them.
All transactions actually consist of three smaller transactions.
The first trade you make,
and also the most important one,
is the one in which you sell yourself.
No ability is more important in any job.
In fact, successful salespeople get to the top
because they can master the art of selling themselves.
The second transaction that you make
is the transaction to get the customer’s time with you.
Before you ask potential customers to pay,
you must ask them to pay attention.
The key idea here is that,
on first contact,
it’s much easier to trade for customer time
than it is to trade for money.
In fact, one of the biggest mistakes
sales professionals often make is starting
to talk about their product/service
before they even get a potential client appointment.
Now commit to taking the time
and paying attention
to what the salesperson has to say.
Finally, the third transaction is actually the sale of the product.
Tip: You won’t be able to create a genuine fake relationship,
so don’t try.
Find something you really like about the prospect
you’re reaching out to,
even if it’s a hobby like running or golfing.
Find an area where you have something in common
with your clients
and focus on what makes you look pretty similar.
If you can’t find something you
both love and agree on,
it will be difficult for you
to build the trust needed to complete a transaction.
Be prepared to leave and find someone else.
Few things could be worse than trying
to build a sales career
where you’ll have to sell
to people you don’t like
and who don’t feel like they have any.
What do you have in common?
Here are a few exercises, including questions,
so you can apply these ideas to sales:
List three ways to strengthen the “friendship factor”
in a sales relationship.
Identify the three most important parts of your company’s reputation
in the market in which you operate.
List three reasons why customers are hesitant
to enter into a sales relationship
with a new salesperson.
Why is the customer relationship more important
in a competitive market than the product/service?
What are the three most common reasons
why you failed to execute a trade?
What are the three most important words
that customers use to describe the best salespeople?
What are the three most important benefits
that a customer enjoys in a close,
engaged relationship with a salesperson?
Finally, if there was one action you would take immediately after
what you learned in this chapter,
what would it be?