Robert Louis Stevenson said, “We all sell something a product, an idea or a service.” When you think about it, every profession is dependent on communication skills.
The best lawyer doesn’t know the most about the law. They communicate the best to the judge, jury and opposing counsel. The best Preacher, Priest or Rabi doesn’t know the most about the Bible or Torah, they communicate it the best to the congregation. The best teacher doesn’t necessarily know the most about their subject but they communicate it the best to their students.
This is my point, no matter what we do our communication skills, to some extent determine our success. I have no idea what grades my doctor made or whether he “passed” the state licensing requirements by one point. I go because he communicates effectively with me. I trust him. Trust is a key element of communication/ sales.
Yet what do most of us, even those of us in sales, think about the word “salesman”? We think pushy, high pressure, con man, Charlatan, cheat, dishonest, crooked, twist your arm, make you buy, say anything to get the sale, good golfer.
Now we in sales have to recognize this stereotype. We have to embrace that on a sales call we are “sub-human” until we gain enough trust to be promoted to “human”. So like other successful professionals, how do we learn to communicate? “You can trust me. I won’t lie to you. I have your best interests at heart.”
You should start with the frame of mind that “I am here to serve you”. In the first meeting with a prospect, if you can focus on the prospect and not yourself, you’ve come a long way towards success in sales. The mindset of “I am here to serve” does two things.
First, it eliminates the unspoken, non-verbal signal we send when we’re there to “make the sale”. Potential customers can see the dollar signs in your eyes. Remember, 60% of what you communicate is non-verbal and when your focus is on your needs first, you send that signal and your customer picks up on it.
Second, if your mindset is to serve, you accomplish a major step in making the sale; that of finding or creating a need. If you’re there to help, you will find it much easier to explain how your product meets a specific need you’ve uncovered. Remember, nobody buys to help you win a sales contest. They buy to meet a want or need of their own.
Another way to get promoted to “human” from “sub-human”, in other words, to improve your communication skills, is to let the prospect (early in the discussion) know others have promoted you from “sub-human” to “human”. The use of other customer’s names and the use of other company names you do business with builds trust and will get you promoted rapidly.
When I was selling books door to door, the Southwestern Company sent me a bumper sticker that I kept on my car for years. I sold that car with the bumper sticker still on it. The bumper sticker said “I Am Third!”
The message I sent myself everyday was God is first, my customer is second and I am third. Putting the customer ahead of yourself will help you get where you want to go.