In the business world you will work for a company that will sell a specific product or a service. Sometimes the art of the sale is not easy, and other times the transaction will be seamless and satisfying. The latter is the preferred sales result, and many wonder why all transactions are not created equal. The common denominator for sales success is the perception of the perspective consumer that you can fulfill a need that they have conveyed to you as the salesperson/business owner. Business owners must be in tune with their clients’ needs and their sales personnel need to be equally savvy. The true lynch pin to an irrevocable sale or transaction is the perception of the client about the individual who sells them the goods or services. Your customers want you to be a person that they would want to purchase something from, and will base their decision to buy on the actions or behaviors of a skilled sales representative.
Take heed all sales geniuses, I have seen countless times a transaction that would yield thousands of dollars to the business, disappear with the stroke of a pen or verbal lashing, because the customers perception of their sale genius was less than worthy to handle their individual needs. The circumstances which could negate a transaction can be very subtle or obnoxiously obvious and are caused by the words and actions of the sales professional who consummated the transaction.
I have been in a sales role all my working life and entrepreneurial career. The last 20+ years I have been in the financial services and Insurance industries. Over that 40 year span it has become painfully obvious that your sales success will be based on the perception of your potential customer/client of YOU! It is important for you aspiring entrepreneurs and sales people that you do a deep dive into your behavior and personality so that you can become the best that you can be by understanding that the perception of you by your clients will be a direct reflection of your sales success.
I have put together a list of client perceptions that will be important to understand for any new business owner or salesperson, so that they can be more successful and maintain a strong client base for a lifetime. Who do your customers want you to be?
Likeable: The first thing a client will think about is whether they like you or not and would be willing to work with you if chosen. If you are not likeable or willing to at least act like you are, then may I suggest another line of work for you, or hire individuals better than you that can convey a likeable personality. Narcissistic, braggadocios, self-centered types will ultimately fail as the sales guru because their would-be clients do not care about them, and they want you to care about them before yourself! Be likeable is a great first step.
Knowledgeable: Knowledge is the key to the kingdom. It is your job to know more than any of your local competitors. Convey to your client that you are proficient and exceptional in your field, but it is not your job to be the blast furnace of information on the first visit. Many a sale has been destroyed because a sales wildcat thinks that if they spew all their knowledge at nauseum that they will be loved and respected- That is not the case. Convey the knowledge and information asked for and your client will use you as a resource forever. Information disseminated to a perspective client should be based on a need to know basis.
Competent Are you the one that has the ability and skill to guide your client through the sales process and satisfy their needs? If the perspective client perceives you as competent, they will turn over the keys to their vessel and let you guide it through perilous waters if necessary. Be competent, act competent, be prepared and professional. This will assure a long-lasting business relationship.
Do You Care Your perspective client will hold you to the adage “They don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care”. If you have accomplished all the prior criteria, this is an important aspect in the decision-making process. People want to be cared about and not forgotten. Always keep your clients front of mind, and there are many ways to do that. Constant contact will illustrate to the client that you truly do care, and appreciate their patronage.
Trustworthy With your words and actions do you give the client the perception that you are honest and trustworthy? This is one of the most important attributes that will determine whether you make a sale or go down in flames. Always do the right thing for your clients by your actions and they will be part of your business for a long time. One mis-step or contradiction on your part will irreparably sever your relationship, and that valuable client will no longer be a part of your life. Trust is the basis for all future business and referrals. Be the trusted sales professional and advisor and your business will flourish.
Team Player Everybody wants to be a part of a winning team. Even when we were children most of us wanted to be on the winning team. In business your clients want to feel like they are becoming part of a winning enterprise, and that we will always be in the game. Be a team player and you will attract clients who want to win and be rewarded for their choice. Again, let me caution you, your actions will be enough to exemplify your winning spirit. Bragging, verbal trumpets of travel or personal achievement will be your gateway to a non-client experience.
The client’s perception of their sales representative will determine the result of their visit. If the business owner/salesperson adheres to the aforementioned desired characteristics they will be wildly successful. Be the Entrepreneur or salesperson that truly cares about their clients and exhibit those characteristics through your actions. “You are not who you think you are, You are not who your client’s think you are, You are who your CLIENT’S think you think you are! Be a Me In Team owner by being Likeable, Knowledgeable, Competent, Caring, Trustworthy and a Team Player and the world is your oyster.
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