Sales is an essential component of an entrepreneur’s life. Without being able to sell effectively, you can’t gain clients.
Being able to sell effectively means knowing how to get your prospects to lower their guard. You must make your prospects feel comfortable with you. People buy from those they know, like, and trust.
How many times have you pitched a customer who was completely uninterested in what you were saying? We’ve all been there, and it isn’t fun.
Sometimes, it feels like you’re pitching your product to a brick wall. For some reason, your prospects just aren’t responsive to what you have to offer.
Why This Happens
This is a situation many entrepreneurs face. Especially those who do not have a background in sales. If you don’t have much experience in the art of moving others, it can be particularly difficult to deal with.
Since many entrepreneurs haven’t been able to learn how to make prospects feel comfortable, they find themselves giving ineffective sales pitches. The prospect has their guard up, which makes it all but impossible to break through.
It’s like trying to pierce a Kevlar vest with a toothpick. Ultimately, most of the sales calls end with the prospect refusing to buy.
Many people make the mistake of thinking that a genius sales pitch is all it takes to get a prospect to buy. If you build a logical, rational case for your product or service, it should be easy to get someone to buy from you, right?
Wrong. Dead wrong.
It doesn’t work that way.
The thing is, people don’t want to sit and listen to a sales pitch from someone they hardly know. They want to do business with someone who truly desires to help them solve a problem.
When you show that you are genuinely interested in their situation, your prospect will lower their defenses and let you in. It’s much easier than trying to batter your way into their good graces with pushy sales pitches. Below are tips to make your prospects feel comfortable.
1. Build Rapport
Don’t be in such a hurry to pitch your product. You don’t need to rush into talking about your product or service. In the words of Elvis Presley, “only fools rush in.”
Yes, I did just insert an Elvis reference into a blog post about sales. And I’m proud of it.
If you want your prospect to be open to what you say, let them get to know you better. Get to know them better. Have a conversation. Let your hair down.
The more you converse with your prospect, the deeper the connection you will build. You’ll be glad you did this later when it’s time to pitch your product. This is because your prospect will have grown to like and trust you.
Find some areas of commonality. They may enjoy the same type of food as you. Maybe they watch the same movies. Perhaps you have hobbies in common. Find the areas where you are similar, and use them!
2. Use The Mirroring Technique
The mirroring technique is a wonderful psychological device that you can use to become more relatable to your prospect. It works because people tend to relate more to people that are most like them. This is why mirroring is so important.
If you’re in a face-to-face interaction, adopt the same posture as your prospect. When they change postures, change your posture as well.
Warning: don’t be too obvious about this. You don’t need to mimic them 100%. If they change postures, wait 10 – 20 seconds before you adopt their posture. It needs to seem natural. This will help make your prospects feel comfortable and put them at ease.
If your interaction takes place over the phone, you can still use the mirroring technique. Pay attention to how they speak. Do they talk at a slow, deliberate pace? Or do they have a rapid-fire delivery? Be sure to match their speaking patterns.
If there’s certain phrases they use over and over again, use it yourself a few times. As long as you don’t overdo it, using the prospect’s own phrases shows them that you’re paying attention to what they’re saying. Prospects love this, and it’s a great way to get through their defenses.
3. Smile Often
Smiling is scientifically proven to make you appear more trustworthy in the eyes of the people you interact with. It’s an easy way to make your prospects feel comfortable and get them to relax.
Smiling communicates friendliness. This is what you want.
When you smile, you brighten up the interaction. The prospect will see you as more approachable than if you’re frowned up all the time.
Just like mirroring, this should also be done even if you’re on the phone. People can hear your smile. No really, they can. I promise. Don’t believe me? Check this out.
4. Get Them To Talk
In the book “How To Win Friends And Influence People,” Dale Carnegie highlights the point that gaining influence requires us to show a genuine interest in the other person. This is why rushing into a sales pitch is such a disastrous mistake.
When you’re so anxious to talk about how awesome your company is, you send the message that you don’t really care about your prospect or their situation. Carnegie argues that the best thing to do is to encourage your prospect to do most of the talking.
Instead of talking about yourself, let them talk about themselves. This is best done by asking good questions. You want to ask questions that are designed to elicit as much information as possible.
This has two benefits:
- The more your prospect talks to you, the more they will begin to trust you. They will appreciate the fact that you’re so interested in them.
- Encouraging your prospect to talk to you will help you gain a better understanding of how you can solve their problems.
Get your prospect to do the talking and you will earn their trust.
5. Listen Attentively
If it’s a good idea to encourage your prospect to do most of the talking, then it logically follows that you must be prepared to listen. When you’re asking questions, it’s important to understand and retain as much information as possible.
This isn’t the time to interject your opinion. Even though it’s tempting, you must not use this time to start pitching.
The only time it’s okay to talk is when you’re clarifying what your prospect is saying. The objective t is to understand your prospect’s situation as much as possible. You want to know their pain points and their objectives.
Make sure that you aren’t listening to respond. You should be listening to understand.
6. When You Talk, Talk About Them
When it’s time for you to speak, you should speak in terms of your prospect’s interests, not yours. As Benjamin Disraeli said, “Talk to a man about himself, and he shall listen for hours.”
You want your prospect to be open to what you are saying. You want them to be open to accepting your offer. The only viable way to do this is not to talk about yourself. Yes, I know your company is awesome and that you’re incredibly brilliant. But your prospect doesn’t care.
Your prospect only cares about what your company can do for them. Think about it. Would you drink Red Bull if you hated the taste and it didn’t give you energy? Would you be so in love with the company that you would buy its product even though you don’t like or need it?
Of course not. And your prospect feels the same way.
Talk to them about their problems and what you can do to solve them. Show them that you understand their situation and that you want to provide a solution. That’s what they want to hear about.
7. Keep The Outcome In Mind
Understanding your customer’s problems is only a piece of the puzzle. When you start pitching your product, you must begin with the end in mind.
What is your prospect trying to achieve? What is keeping them from getting there? How can your company help?
What you want to do is paint a picture of where your product will take them. The ultimate outcome should be your prospect having their problem solved.
Remember, you need to sell solutions, not products. Tell them the end result that your product will provide for them. Then you can tell them how the product will get them there. Start with the end in mind and your customer will pay attention to what you’re saying.
8. Use Humor
Humor is a wonderful way to make your prospects feel comfortable and get people to relax and lower their guard. Humor is a powerfully disarming technique that will make your sales interaction much more pleasant.
When you get your prospect to laugh, it puts them in a better mood. This is what you want. When you are the source of their heightened mood, they will have a more favorable impression of you.
Also, humor can diffuse any tension that is present in the conversation. It’s a great way to break the ice.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “I’m not funny!”
It doesn’t matter. You don’t need to be Jim Gaffigan to make your prospect laugh. There are plenty of ways to learn how to be funny.
One way to make your prospect laugh is to make fun of yourself. Everyone loves self-deprecating humor. Find things about yourself that are funny. Poke fun at your weaknesses.
Tell a funny story about something that happened earlier in your week. You don’t have to overthink this. You don’t need them rolling on the floor laughing. If you can get them to chuckle or crack a smile, you’re doing well.
9. Be Vulnerable
Do you want a sure-fire way to completely turn off your prospect? Act as if you know everything. Pretend like your company can solve every problem a prospect has.
If you want to get your prospect to lower your guard, however, you can’t do this. It’s okay to admit you don’t know everything. Your prospect doesn’t expect you to have all the answers and you probably don’t need to have all the answers to solve their problems.
It’s okay to say “we may not be able to help you with this problem, but we can help you with the other issue you mentioned.” As long as there’s a way you can provide a distinct benefit for your prospect, you will be able to get them to listen to you.
10. Use Their Name
Want to get your prospect’s attention? Say their name. Often.
One of the most pleasant sounds a person can hear is their own name. Using your prospect’s name when you’re speaking to them will get them to focus on what you are saying.
This is especially effective if you feel like you’re losing them. If you think that your prospect’s mind is starting to wander, bring them back to the conversation by saying their name.
11. Remind Them That They Have The Power
This technique is counterintuitive, but it works. One of the most persuasive things you can do during a sales interaction is to remind your prospect that they can say “no.”
Reminding them that they have the power to walk away will actually make them more likely to buy from you.
Because people instantly become more relaxed when they realize they are in control of the situation. If you want your prospect to lower their guard, show them that you understand that they don’t have to buy from you. Doing this makes them more open to listening to what you have to say.
It actually makes sense if you think about it. If someone is trying to sell you something, and they begin by reminding you that you have the power to choose, wouldn’t that make you feel more relaxed about the interaction?
If you have the power to pass on the offer, then what’s the harm in hearing the other person out? If you listen to their pitch and decide it’s not for you, it’s not going to be difficult to say no, right? Exactly.
If you want your prospect to lower their guard, remind them that they are the ones with the power to choose. Then convince them to say “yes.”
12. Act As A Guide, Not A Salesperson
Remember when I talked about being too pushy earlier? If you’re worried about coming on too strong, this technique will help you prevent that.
When speaking with your prospect, you should be looking for opportunities to add value beyond your product or service. Many times, entrepreneurs get tunnel vision when dealing with their prospect. They only look for opportunities to sell their product.
What you should be looking for are opportunities to make your prospect’s life easier.
If you’re building a business, chances are you have a lot of industry knowledge that you can use to make your prospect smarter. This is immensely important.
Because using your expertise to benefit your prospect will enable you to position yourself as a credible resource in their minds. This is exactly what you want.
When you position yourself as a resource, you differentiate yourself from your competition. You build trust with your prospect. Your prospect will appreciate the fact that you are there to help them without having an agenda.
Instead of pressuring them to buy from you, you’re showing them that you actually care about their success. This is the message you want to send if your goal is to get them to lower their guard.
13. Have A Coherent Message That Benefits The Prospect
Whenever you’re dealing with a prospect, you should have an overall message that you want to convey to them. This is where branding comes in.
Having a strong brand will help you get your client to lower their defenses. It helps you stand out from your competition.
An important component of building a strong brand is purpose. Instead of focusing on your unique brand perspective, you should focus on your unique brand perspective.
This means you must define what your brand believes and what it stands for. What is the change you’re trying to create with your business? What is the real impact you want to make?
Your brand’s purpose needs to come through in your sales interactions. Don’t just tell your prospect about what you sell. Explain to them why you sell it. Let them see your human side.
People want to be able to relate to brands. They want to feel like they are participating in something larger than themselves. Before telling your customer what you sell, tell them what you stand for.
Getting a prospect to become a customer is the ultimate objective of your sales interactions. It’s the reason you’re talking to them in the first place. However, it’s extremely important to remember that your prospect is a person, not a paycheck.
Your prospect is a person who has fears, goals, and a personality. Ignoring this fact will kill your efforts at persuasion.
Since most people are leery about being sold, you need to make your prospects feel comfortable. It means you have to show them that you’re different from your competition. You have to show them that you’re not just there to sell them a product or service, you’re there to help them succeed and reach their goals.
If you want to be a better influencer, learn how to get past your prospect’s defenses. Once you do this, you will earn more clients.
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