Hidden Sales Pressure:
7 Ways To Make It Go Away
By Ari Galper, Founder, Unlock The Game™
Everyday, people from all over the world send me their selling challenges.
This one just came in from Julie in Atlanta, Georgia:
"Ari, I'm not a typical salesperson. I'm easy-going, I focus on client needs, and I do my best not to exert any sales pressure. But I still end up getting stuck in the cat-and-mouse sales game, and I don't understand why. I call a prospect, and, if they don't say 'no' right away, we have a pleasant conversation. They lead me to believe that they're interested in my service, but the next thing I know I find myself back in the 'chasing' game. Please help!"
Julie is echoing the hundreds of conversations that I have every week with people who tell me that they don't believe in old-style selling but still get "stuck" in the same negative cycle of sales frustration that thousands of people experience every day.
The answer lies in a hidden and quiet enemy called "sales pressure"-- not the typical, overt "salesperson" type of pressure, but subtle, beneath-the-surface, built-in sales pressure that can arise in our relationships with potential clients without us even realizing it.
This subtle type of sales pressure is triggered whenever you focus on the goal of getting an appointment or making a sale, coupled with communication that clearly says to potential clients, "I'm taking you through my sales process."
These two factors are red flags that make potential clients feel mistrustful because they feel that you're going to try to "sell them," and they respond by evading, withdrawing, and concealing the truth of their situation.
How can you eliminate this subtle form of sales pressure?
Here are 7 solutions:
*Stop carrying the burden of driving the sales process forward. Try to engage potential clients based on the problems they're facing rather than on the solution that you're trying to sell, no matter how much you believe in it. And, instead of asking questions intended to "extract" information that you can then use to move the sales process forward, listen for cues that tell you where potential clients want to take the conversation, so they feel understood. If you can let your conversation evolve to that point, they will move the sales process forward.
*Watch out for "sales"-type language. Statements like "When shall I follow up?," "Can I come by and show you what I have?" and "Do you still want to move forward?" are all examples of language that inevitably triggers sales pressure. Try to imagine that your potential client is a friend. How would your language change? I would bet that you'd communicate with spontaneous words and phrases that would spring out of you naturally and allow a trusting connection to emerge, in contrast to "me" language designed to make the sale.
*Become aware of your inner voice and what it's saying. So many thoughts run through our mind before we pick up the phone to call a potential client.: "I better have all the answers," "I'd better prepare myself for potential rejection," "I really hope I can get an appointment." These thoughts stem from traditional sales conditioning, which taught us that we always have to be prepared for disappointment and frustration. How about changing that inner voice to a more positive one that will not only make it easier for you to engage in conversations but will decrease your stress level as well? See how you feel when you tell yourself instead:
"I'm not going to make any assumptions that my product or service is a fit until we both determine that there's a problem to solve."
"Not being 'perfect' with a potential client isn't a sign of weakness but an indication that I'm human too."
"I don't need to fear rejection because I'll use an approach that won't trigger it."
* Don't look at sales as a "game" but as a mission to help those in need. If you shift the way you think about selling, you'll begin to experience the relief that comes with shedding the burden of the negative sales stereotype.
*Find new role models. Look around you for successful people who sell but don't exhibit traditional sales behavior and thinking. You can learn from their positive example. Pay attention to how they build trust, dialogue with potential clients the same way they would with friends, and always, always, keep their own agendas in check, so that potential clients feel that their own needs --not the salesperson's commission at the end of the sale -- are priority number one.
* Be open to a new approach. You may even still hit your sales goals if you stick with traditional sales thinking, but what toll will this take on your self-esteem? And you will never know what opportunities you lost along the way because you exerted subtle sales pressure on potential clients.
*Find new ways to build trust. You know how to build trust. You do it all the time in your personal life. So why is it so hard in selling? Because traditional sales thinking only shows you how to outsmart your potential clients--and that kind of approach is totally incompatible with building trust.
If you're skeptical about being able to eliminate subtle sales pressure, you're holding yourself
back from making a breakthrough in your sales life.
To Your Success,