How to Be Personable in Sales Meetings
When it comes to sales, many salesmen tend to discuss the features and functions of the product that they are selling, often to a fault. This is reasonable, as the product is the actual tangible good that they’re selling. However, when it comes to human beings and their decisions to purchase, the purchase to buy is actually reliant on their feelings. Human beings are inherently irrational, and understanding the importance of emotions allows salesmen to be much more effective in making sales and relating to their customers.
Head vs. Heart
Every time a person decides to buy something, a two-part decision is being made. On one hand, they are weighing the rational considerations of the product. On the other hand, they are also being swayed by the invisible web of feelings, emotions, and impressions. Little intangible things like the color of a salesman’s tie, or snippets of pleasant conversation can sway people in interesting ways. Therefore, the truly effective salesperson needs to understand the person that they are selling to, and they need to relate to this customer in an authentic way.
The Personal Touch
Believe it or not, very little of a sales meeting has to do with the actual product being sold. The vast majority of sales meetings are actually about feelings and impressions. When a person feels good about the idea of buying your product, they will buy it. However, a negative impression of a salesperson bleeds into a negative perception of the product. Therefore, a salesman needs to know how to win people over in a way that feels authentic and genuine. It is essential to adopt an attitude of working together, rather than the adversarial sales tactics of days gone by. Listening to customers is the number one skill to making sales and building lasting business connections.
What it Really Means to Listen
Most salespeople can talk until the cows come home, but only the truly exceptional salespeople know how to listen to customers and meet their needs. By listening to a customer and asking useful questions, a salesperson can uncover undiscovered needs, and make suggestions that will help the customer resolve the problem in a way that a canned sales speech cannot.
Making small-talk is massively underrated, as the effects of these connections are anything but small. By connecting and learning about another person, you can win their trust and reach a sales deal that leaves both parties satisfied. Of course, their children and hobbies and other “off-duty” activities have nothing to do with the product, but bonding over these things creates a real human connection that leads to sales.
Mirroring behaviors is a subtle psychological technique that helps people bond and form groups. People unconsciously copy the behaviors of people around them. For instance, yawning is considered to be “contagious” and the evidence for this is immediately available. One thing is clear: humans love to mirror each other. Try yawning in a crowded cafe, and you will quickly see people copy this behavior. By consciously using this technique and copying people’s mannerisms, you build their trust and make the sales process more comfortable to both parties.
There are a variety of books available on the subject, like the famous “How to Make Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. For people looking for a more hands-on approach, there are professional courses available on the topic. Personalized negotiations training courses can be incredible tools for sales professionals looking to hone their skills in a more structured manner.