CHARM is a wildly miss-understood dynamic of being a salesperson and it is one of the most important attributes one can have when interacting in a selling environment.
A lot of people think charm has to do with talking really quickly, laughing a lot, smiling even more and always making eye contact that is far too intense.
When I first got my start in car sales, I thought it was all about the firm handshake, making sure I got their name right and of course dressing as flashy as I could, especially on Saturdays. We had to be dressed well on Saturdays.
As time went on I realized that the most ineffective coworkers that shared the car lot with me, were focusing way too much on being their version of charming, instead of fostering rapport and trust.
Here are my top five ways to quickly become a more effective salesperson:
1. TAKE DETAILED NOTES
I know this is the most boring and tedious one but if you do it right and you make it as easy as possible, it works!
When I left my job working in sales at an email marketing company, the salespeople who took over my accounts were shocked at the detailed notes I was able to create.
I had a system that would auto populate my most important questions as soon as I got on the phone with the prospect, that way I could stay consistent with my approach.
I would go down the list and discover information about:
Additionally, I would find out exciting information about their lives, personal and professional. This was very important.
If they told me they had been in business for 22 years, they are natives to upstate New York and they have a son that is about to leave for college; I would record that information.
If I was unable to gain the sale that day, I would have all the information saved so the next time we talked I could ask them how the transition has been with getting their son off to college.
This is one of the most important steps in rapport building and it can easily be overlooked.
Asking these types of questions and taking the most detailed notes I could, not only helped me build a strong case for why they should integrate my service into their business but it also helped me foster trust with them by referencing previous conversations.
At the end of the day, there is nothing more charming than someone who listens.
2. ASK OPEN ENDED QUESTIONS
Have you ever been with a friend having a conversation and they won’t allow you to speak, as if only their response matters and they are constantly looking for a way to “one up” what you just said?
You never want to let your prospect feel that way. NEVER.
When I worked over the phone in email marketing, one of my biggest mistakes in the beginning was not asking open ended questions.
I would get on the phone with a prospect and ask them “So you want to send out some emails?” The obvious response was either “Yes or no.” Both responses leave the conversation vacant and lacking substance.
Instead if I asked “Why do you want to send out emails?” The answer is obviously not going to be a close ended one, they are going to have to respond and expand upon the reasoning that lead them to considering your company.
All I did was make a tiny tweak to the question and immediately it became so much more effective.
As time passed working this phone based selling job, I started developing key questions that I would fit into every single conversation like “What are you looking to accomplish with marketing?” or “How have you marketed your business in the past?”
All of these questions lead your prospect down the road to talking about themselves and giving you the opportunity to get to know their needs. Let me repeat that. Giving you the opportunity to get to know THEIR needs. That is the real magic of this approach, you are forcing the focus on them and that is the best way to accomplish discovery in a selling environment.
3. FOCUS ON THE VALUE
This one is very simple.
Don’t sell to someone because of your quota, your bank account or your own personal gain. Sell to someone with value at the forefront of everything that you do.
Plus greedy people are very unappealing to a potential prospect. That greed is very easy to spot in a conversation and if someone gets this vibe from you, you did something very wrong in the conversation to make them feel that way.
It is vital to sell based on value, not based on your own personal gain.
When I worked over the phone, I would sometimes say in an attempt to keep things transparent (at least that was my goal at the time) “Obviously, I work in sales and I would really love to earn your business some day soon.” The pitch I just shared with you had no value proposition, just a sales guy thirsty for someone else’s money.
Not only was it really odd sounding “Earn your business” but it was immediately bypassing the part of the conversation where I am supposed to be gaining their trust, it also immediately made it clear that I was only concerned about making a sale and that their needs ultimately came second.
Instead I could have ended that first phone call with “I am very excited to help you grow your business, I really believe with the size of your email list, the fantastic product that you have and your new website we can definitely drive a ton of traffic into your business. I know you need a little time to think about it and that’s okay, I will call next week on Monday around this same time if I haven’t heard from you.”
It goes without saying that the second version was much more value focused. Nothing about me and my commission, nothing about a sale or even about me being a salesperson, just value for them and their interests.
4. DON’T PUSH TOO HARD
This one has a lot more to do with being mindful, putting yourself in the customers shoes and seeing things from their unique perspective.
Ask any salesperson, in fact, you should, go find any salesperson and ask them what their favorite kind of sale is and they will tell you “the ones that close right away,” or something along those lines.
The reason they love it so much is because it rarely happens and that is exactly my point.
Sales is not about having someone on the phone like Leonardo DiCaprio in the Wolf of Wall-street getting the prospect to purchase on the first dial, using an elaborate speech that is absolutely epic by all standards.
Simply stated, that’s Hollywood, in the real world, it just doesn’t work like that.
The most important thing you will do as a salesperson is following up, and following up with precision.
This one goes back to my first point about note taking. You are more than likely never going to get your prospect to buy on the first attempt.
In most cases the customer will give you several objections in a row that are all very different and reasonable. In a situation like this it is clear that either they are not fully sold on what you are offering or they don’t quite trust you yet.
That is why it is so important to wait, if after a little bit of objection management you feel that you have gone far enough, listen to your gut because more than likely you are right on the tipping point.
It is so easy to set objectives and work out next steps so you have a justifiable reason to follow up with them, don’t turn them off by going too far with your desire to make an immediate sale.
We have all been there, the most obnoxious thing in the world is a person who pushes too hard, comes off looking really desperate and appearing quite self centered.
Do you feel like working with that person again after that? No.
5. READ YOUR AUDIENCE
Working over the phones selling small businesses online marketing services, we would do a lot of training.
We would get with a few of our closest managers and listen to a handful of recorded calls and analyze what we could have done differently to help improve our conversations.
One training in particular still stands out too this day.
Essentially, I was talking really loud (this had a lot to do with my headset design) but nonetheless, I was talking so loudly on all of my calls, I had three times the amount of energy that was recommended and my customers were far from enjoying it.
Shortly after, we did a training that taught us how to tone match with the person we were talking to, I learned how important it is to make sure you “get down to your customers level” so to speak.
It can help a lot to match your customers tone to a degree.
This helps them feel more comfortable talking to you. Don’t be boring but if you are coming at someone in a really excited way and they are not responding with excitement back it might be too much.
This can be applied to any selling environment. Read the room, pay attention to the physical cues that are not the easiest to spot and try to react to them.
Sales is a performance art, it’s interactive, it’s fluid and it is meant to constantly keep you on your toes.
I hope you can take these tools I have shared with you and use them to make yourself into an even more effective salesperson.