Business Operations

Olsen on Sales: Slow Down & Have Some Fun

No one wants to push a bag of rocks up a hill or jump off a bridge with us. Unfortunately, many sellers sound like this is what they’re doing or getting ready to do while they’re on a call with a customer.

No one wants to push a bag of rocks up a hill or jump off a bridge with us. Unfortunately, many sellers sound like this is what they’re doing or getting ready to do while they’re on a call with a customer. People recognize this attitude when they get less-than-cheerful service, but fail to realize that their sales calls sound and feel very similar. If we don’t enjoy the sales process our customer will feel it and they won’t either.

The opposite is also true. All else being equal—and there are a lot of “ties” in this industry at all levels—customers will overwhelmingly go with the pleasant salesperson. Being pleasant is a competitive advantage.

 

Nice + Confident = Charming

Many sellers confuse boot licking with “being nice.” We are shooting for charming, which is created at the intersection of nice + confident. If we are only “nice,” we will seem timid. If we are only confident, we will seem like we don’t care. When we combine the two, we are charming, which is hard to say no to and easy to say yes to.

 

Warm-Up and Pre-Call Prep

Many of us would like to get on the call and then warm up as we go. This doesn’t work. We must be ready to engage everyone we meet with a warm and happy attitude. Our goal is to get people to smile, laugh and relax with us.

Many sellers only have a vague idea of how they want the call to go. Just like interpreting a beautiful piece of music, artists cannot put their feelings into the song until they have it memorized. Same with sellers; when we don’t know what we are going to say, we can’t project our most charming self, because we’re thinking about what we are going to say instead of concentrating on the interaction.

Master Sellers know exactly how their calls are going to go. Because of this they can take their time, have fun, and project that attitude not only to the buyer, but to everyone at the account; the buyer has the biggest vote, but everyone we talk to at the account has a vote also. Master Sellers can take a detour of friendliness or small talk with customers without losing their place in the sales process part of the call.

 

Reception

Many sellers “turn on the charm” with the buyer only. This is a mistake. Most sellers treat the receptionist (or anyone at the account who isn’t the buyer) like furniture, or worse. The person answering the phone often has influence, may become the buyer someday, may be related to the current buyer, and sometimes is the owner!

 

Overcoming Objections & Closing

Some sellers can be charming until they get to the business part of the call, then they become nervous and lose all the rapport they have built with their customer. Master Sellers smile, laugh, cajole and have fun with the buyer all the way through the selling process. Their attitude is positive. “We may have some things to work out and we will” vs. clamming up and getting nervous. Both feelings are transferred emotionally to the buyer. Who is easier to say yes to? Who do you want to get off the call with first?

If the buyer is having fun with us, even in the midst of a hailstorm of objections and counter-objections, they will stay on the call, giving us more of a chance to win their hearts, minds and business. If we aren’t having fun, they won’t be, and the call will end quickly.

I had a student of mine say, “I don’t know why we have to work on all this psychology stuff; I just want to sell wood.” “The problem is, John, we aren’t selling wood, we’re selling (to) humans.” The human animal is 99% emotional, so when we keep the emotional connection strong, selling becomes much easier.

For many of us being charming is work. So while we are churning out the calls, let’s also work on churning out the charm.

 

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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