YOU Are for Sale
Want to make the sale? Don't just focus on your product or service -- your customers are more interested in you.
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When customers buy from you, what are they really buying? Hint:It's not just your product or service. In essence, whatthey're actually buying is you--and if they don't like you,they won't feel compelled to buy from you.
These three valuable points will help you sell the power ofyou:
1. Be yourself. In other words, be true to who you are.The following anecdote might raise some eyebrows, but it makes mypoint: During a steak dinner with one of my longtime customers, Inoticed that he had stopped eating--but there was still a lot ofmeat left on his steak bone. I asked him if he was finished and, ifso, if he'd mind if I ate what was left. He smiled and said,"Not at all." I think he actually got a kick out ofit.
Here's the deal: What you see with me is what youget. I might not be qualified to write a column on etiquette, butwhat I've learned over the years is that customers want to workwith people who don't put up fronts, who aren't arrogantand whose presence they enjoy. Sure, you have to be careful not tooffend anyone. But when you're relaxed, so is your customer.The environment is less tense, and you have a better sense of howfar you can go. If you really believe in your profession, arepassionate about what you sell and want to add value to yourcustomer's business, it will make it easier to let down yourguard and be yourself. You'll come across naturally andeffectively, and customers will see the real you.
2. Don't fear silence. Abraham Lincoln once said,"'Tis better to remain silent and be thought a fool thanto speak and remove all doubt." There are many things you canpick up about another person by watching and listening. We all knowthat body language often tells us more than what is actually said.Of course, you don't want to be sitting across from a prospectin his or her office with nothing to say, caught staring like adeer in the headlights. But there are times--at a lunch meeting,for instance--where the best thing you can do is stop, listen andrelax. This might not sound like a technique that has anything todo with being yourself, but it does. When you've thoroughlydone your homework and learned as much as you can about yourprospect beforehand, you don't have to worry about whatyou're going to say next or jump in with small talk like,"How's that sandwich?" "Nice tie," or"Boy, it's cold out, isn't it?" Being yourselfmeans being comfortable enough in your own skin to let theconversation flow naturally, silences and all.
3. Look your customer in the eye and say, "My kids needclothes and money for college. This sale will really help meout." Just kidding! But don't forget your sense ofhumor--that, too, is part of who you are. Laughter breaks downbarriers and helps your customers feel at ease. You don't haveto tell jokes or be a comedian, but you do need to show the human,flawed side of yourself and your ability to laugh at things that gowrong. Use your own judgment. Your ultimate goal is to create abond so that both of you become more relaxed.
Just being yourself and feeling comfortable in your own skin isnot always as easy as it sounds. But in the end, that's whatcustomers really buy--and that's what you should always beselling.