Business Operations

Olsen on Sales: Confidence Sells

Whether we have the lowest price or the highest price, customers will tell us we are too high. This is a truth Master Sellers know. When we are new, it feels like we are too high every time we quote. Often, we are selling people who have more experience in the business than we do.

Whether we have the lowest price or the highest price, customers will tell us we are too high. This is a truth Master Sellers know. When we are new, it feels like we are too high every time we quote. Often, we are selling people who have more experience in the business than we do. They speak with absolute confidence when telling us we are too high. And it’s not just one customer; it’s one after another, so after a while it becomes our reality.

The answer is to fight back. We need to prepare each call with a certainty that the person we are calling is going to buy from us. This takes self-talk and preparation. What will the customer’s objection be? Instead of stammering when the objection comes, what will we say?… with confidence.

Um, Uh, Andum and You Know

Um, Andum and You Know are confidence killers and IMMEDIATELY identify us as a non-confident seller.

I was admonishing a young salesperson the other day for his non-confident speech. He said, “That’s just the way I normally speak.” When I pointed out to him that he NEVER You Knows and Ums when he is speaking with me, he had to admit it was true. We need to speak to our customers like a brother, a friend, our daughter, or our college roommate.

Get to the Point

Master Sellers are direct and to the point. Every word they speak has meaning. Books on writing tell us to throw away the first paragraph of what we write because it is normally warm-up gibberish to what we really want to write.

The same is true in sales. Example: (This will seem like an exaggeration, but it isn’t.)

Salesperson: “Good morning, John. I, er, was, uh, wanted to talk to you about, if you’re not busy… uh… I have something that might interest you. The market has been moving andum, you know, some guys think it might be coming off, but we are, uh, pretty confident that, uh, you know, it could possibly stay strong. So, anyway, I’ve got this car of studs that we are trying to get rid of that I thought your might be interested in. It gets in to you at $350/MBF, so wadythink?”

This is the painful truth of many sales calls. If the customer had any intention of buying before the call, most of that joy has been killed with this approach.

Master Seller: “Good morning, John. I’ve got a great deal for you on a carload of Triple-A-Best studs. What’s your PO number?”

The first approach is so tentative that it MAKES the customer nervous while the second is direct and natural: a comfortable transaction between friends. Our customers cannot help but be affected by our emotions. If we are tentative they will be tentative. If we are calm, relaxed and positive, they will be also. The Master Seller sets the tone of the call early. This is a sales call; tell me yes or no.

Maybe, Might, Pretty and Probably

The four verbal equestrians of the non-confident apocalypse, these words strike trepidation into the hearts of our customers. Struggling sellers are so afraid of OVER-promising that they won’t promise ANYTHING. Their conversation is littered with Mights, Maybes and Probablys.

The best sellers have an opinion. They bring value to their customers because of their opinion. It doesn’t mean they are always right, although they often are, but their customers can count on them to give them an honest, confident view on the market, which brings value.

We are selling our fellow humans who, like us, are 99% EMOTIONAL. We AND our customers, decide with our hearts (emotions) then justify with our intellectual 1% and conclude that we have made a RATIONAL decision.

George Patton said, “Men (people) want to be led.” Sales proves George correct. Our customers are searching for solutions and partners to help them navigate our market. Even the most stubborn and willful want a strong seller with an opinion.

We are not talking about the weather or who will win the World Series. We are asking for people’s money. In some instances, we are asking our customers to risk their jobs to go with our solution. We better be certain.

 

James Olsen

James Olsen is the founder of Reality Sales Training, Portland, Or. After 20 years in sales with Nike, North Pacific Lumber, and Forest City Trading, in 2001 James started his own sales training business, devoted to helping companies and individuals achieve rapid sales growth. Contact him at (503) 544-3572 or james@realitysalestraining.com.

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