Richard Branson and Calvin Coolidge are probably on opposite ends of the spectrum for most issues and life experiences. But one thing both “great men” agreed upon was the skill of being a good listener. Branson once said, “Lead by listening. To be a good leader you have to be a great listener.” Coolidge said it first but with slightly different wording. “It takes a great man to be a good listener.” It appears then that the art of mastering the sale is not so much different than being a great team leader.
We know listening is important, but what else? How can you learn how to be more persuasive in winning new clients and keeping your VIP clients happy? Here are a few points to keep in mind.
Great leaders do more than just hear. They make it a point to understand what other people say and more importantly, what their needs are.
If you want to convince customers of your USP, without trying too hard, make sure you understand where they are coming from. Once you listen to them, do you make it a point to think like they do?
Once you learn what their market needs actually are you can then show them how your product or service aligns with their own goals.
In effect, you’re not selling them your vision of anything. You’re showing them how you can complete their vision.
The truth is sales scripts are phony. And clients can tell when someone is just following a script or writing their own sales script, simply because selling something doesn’t sound like natural conversation.
Even web marketing can appear too “loud” or salesy, as we discussed in a previous article, “Are Your Marketing Efforts Scaring Customers Away.”
The best way to “sell” is to market yourself as a good friend who happens to sell what people need. You can improve client relations by using personal names and more conversational sentences.
Take the time you speak to the person, and do not just push the sale at a certain time. Ask clients how they’ve been doing and keep the personal touch going in the conversation for days, weeks, and months on end if necessary.
Once you say goodbye, take notes and try to remember what personal details the client revealed the last time you spoke.
Notice we didn’t necessarily say “better”, because you can’t always pick your products, especially if you work for a large company. But focusing on why your products are different from the competition’s products is essential.
You have to show your customers why and how your products are different, and then illustrate why different is better in this case.
This requires researching the competition thoroughly and identifying the differences and similarities in your product vs. everyone else.
Using high enthusiasm to convince someone of the logic of a decision is wasted energy. It’s far more effective to use high enthusiasm in emotional persuasion.
Positive emotional experiences are what sell and what keeps customers coming back.
In fact, customers who experience an emotional connection with a brand are 306% more likely to stay loyal for a lifetime and give referrals at a rate of 71%. Focusing too much on the logic of your product may make an impression, but it won’t push anyone to actually make a sale.
Good experiences and associations are what moves people to make decisions. People will forget long chunks of data and logical scenarios. But they will never forget how you make them feel!
But it’s equally important to connect with your customers emotionally before giving them a roller coaster of feelings.
Emotion sells, logic backs up and persuades. Rather than researching volumes of information about hard facts that no one asked for, take the reverse approach.
Start with an emotional appeal and then provide evidence that persuades the person to accept what you’re saying.
That’s the whole basis of social proof. Social proof is the evidence compiled that proves the authenticity and trustworthiness of a brand.
The emotional call to action precedes a line of evidence that proves your points.
The sales pitch comes first and then you use evidence, in the way of links or citations, that build on the emotional connection you’ve already established. You don’t have to spend hours researching evidence. Just use a handy online app like this citation generator tool.
Finally, it might help you to tailor your presentation according to the classic marketing funnel format: Awareness, Interest, Decision, and Action. The funnel theory was discussed in a previous article and it may help you to redirect a customer’s attention to where it needs to be.
It’s safe to say that the harder you try to sell, the more suspect you will appear to clients who are on guard against the sales mentality.
When you work smarter, you focus your energy on attracting interest. You reverse the process - now clients are interested in you, because of your ability to listen, as well as the positive emotional experiences that you can give them.
Try these tips when working on your own presentation and see if you notice a positive change.