Sales today is as competitive as ever. The old style of selling simply doesn’t work as good as it used to. Buyers, customers and clients are too smart, too street savvy, too educated to fall for any text book trick from some fast-talking sales goon with the gift-of-gab. Buyers have too many options to have to settle. They also are being inundated with lots of distracting “noise” in the form of advertising, promotions, special deals, 2 for 1’s, and bait-and-switch gimmicks. Enough all ready!
That being said, it is not the time to become frustrated, dejected, or forlorn. It is time to start doing what works. And from the beginning of time there remains a single strategy that works more often than not.
The good news is that people still have needs and will continue to buy goods and services at an unprecedented rate. So what is one to do if the future of their business relies on finding and serving new customers? Should we learn how to “up-sell?” Do we need to learn how to overcome objections? Is it in our best interest to “close sales” with a vengeance? No, to all three. The answer may be as simple as your first kindergarten lesson in getting along with others. Become more likeable.
Today’s lesson was driven home to me earlier in my career when I was making a sales call on a company whose current supplier had just earned an award for superior communications. We had scheduled an appointment to present our competitive program on the exact day they brought home their award. (Talk about “bad” timing.)
Since we were there, and recognizing our dilemma, we said what we came to say, and left feeling somewhat embarrassed.
To my surprise, the next day my phone rang and we were given the business. After a working relationship was developed, I asked the decision maker why he had awarded us the business after their current supplier won a prize? His answer will stay with me forever. “That is simple” he said. “I didn’t like them.”
Don’t ever short-change the likeability factor in business. People do and will continue to do business with people they like. Therefore, instead of trying to be aggressive, clever, or cute, spend more time working on yourself and ways that you can become “more likeable.”
Here are three areas where you can begin your makeover:
- Eye contact. Look people in the eye when you speak to them. This is the easiest way to convey to people that you are interested in them. And when you show interest in others, the chance of them “liking” you is enhanced.
- Ask more questions. Talking about yourself is a clear indication that you ARE NOT interested in the person in front of you. Asking questions, on the other hand, is a clear sign that you are interested in them. With interest, comes likeability.
- Follow-Up. If you call me back in two days, I become a two-day guy. If you call me back immediately, you are telling me that I am important to you. If I am important to you, I will like you more. So, if you want to be more likeable, follow up faster with sincerity.
So leave your “closing” tactics, the process of “up-selling,” and the knack for overcoming objectives to the amateurs. Spend your time focusing on ways to become more likeable and your sales success is sure to follow.
Mike Marchev freely shares his experiences, strategies and observations with travel professionals in an effort to keep them on top of their game. For a complimentary copy of his 12-Word Marketing Plan send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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