We are all salespeople so sell smarter!Aug 14, 2023
Today I have the opportunity to share one of my favorite discoveries. Creating a winning mindset when selling to others.
When do we sell?
I wish I had a dollar for every time someone said to me, "I am NOT a salesperson!" The fact is, we are all sales people whether we call ourselves that or not. When are we salespeople?
- Obviously when we sell something to another person.
- When we lead others. Leadership is selling ideas, direction, vision to get "buy in" from others. This results in our level of influence.
- Conflict resolution has an element of sales and negotiation.
- Relationship building is selling. We are selling someone on why they should have a relationship with us.
- Helping or serving others. Someone has to receive our help for our help to be of service to them. That means we have to sell the idea of why they should allow us to help them.
- Raising children or grandchildren. Selling them on why they should behave in a certain way.
- Education. Selling the value of the learning and educational process.
- Selling ourselves to do the things that will help us in our lives and work.
So yes, we are all salespeople. It is how we look at sales that makes a difference. When people tell me they are not a salesperson, it is because they have a specific and mostly negative view of an experience they have had with someone trying to sell them something. From this, they have created a context of never wanting to be like that. Great! Don't be like that. But you still need to understand something very important...how to influence others, including yourself.
Think influence, not selling
The societal picture of selling is based on a perception of someone using specific sales techniques to influence others to buy. Everyone has had an experience with a salesperson who is trying to sell to them based on a technique only approach. Most of us did not enjoy that experience very much. Why? Because there was no real connection or trust involved in that experience. We may have felt pushed or pressured into buying and maybe even regretted it later.
Let me suggest a better way forward. When done right, selling is enjoyable for everyone. How can that be? Because there is a specific process to sell that makes it enjoyable.
For the rest of this article, I want you to replace the word "sales" or "selling" with influence. There is a very simple but powerful concept on how to build influence with another person. I call it the "Investment Model". If you want to influence someone else, then deposits of connection and trust are needed. It does not matter whether the "sales cycle" is short or long. This is a proven path to success.
This is where many people in sales might argue, "That is relationship selling and relationship selling is dead!" No. No. No. Wrong on all accounts. This is a model based in neuropsychology. If you want to learn more about that, here is a link to a free eBook: Hot Cognition in Sales
Notice that the model is in a specific sequence. First comes connecting with someone. Then comes trust building. Out of these come increased influence. Think of it as an "influence bank account." The more deposits of connection and trust you make, the greater amount of influence you will have to spend. THAT is when you can use certain techniques to influence (sell) others. Here is what that might look like:
What position would you like to have in the mind of people "buying" from you? For me, I want to be the trusted advisor. That is a place people reach out to you when they have a need, even when they know that may not be something you can provide.
Mindset before technique
I have been through more than a dozen sales training courses from a variety of sales training organizations. I have read dozens of books on sales by the world's leading sales trainers and experts. They are all helpful. But there has always been something missing for me. Then I discovered what that something was...mindset! OK, I know that is very general. Let me get specific. Yes, some of those authors talk about mindset and even some psychology. What is lacking in most of these trainings and books is a deep dive into how emotional intelligence plays a massive role in the sales/influence process. Here is what that looks like:
Consider how many times emotions (neurotransmitters generated by what we experience) impact the decisions we make and the actions we take. I had a salesperson I was coaching tell me how she could not make cold calls. It just "was not in her", in her words. When we finally got down to the real reason, it was fear of being rejected. If you know sales, that is not a surprise. The vast majority of sales people have cold call reluctance. But that is not the end of the story. Working together, she was able to enhance key success factors to better navigate her emotions. From that point, she became one of the top salespeople in her organization.
Something similar happened to a senior leader I know. He was struggling in leading his team. When we explored why he was struggling it came down to something very simple. He was not a good listener. Listening is more than just hearing someone, it is being fully present for them, understanding their perspective and feelings, and then practicing empathy in a way that cultivates influence. He was shocked to learn that leading was more about influence than about managing or telling people what to do. This may be something you already know but it was a revelation to him. It changed his entire approach to leadership.
All of this is great...except, how do we measure influence? This was always my challenge with all of the sales assessments on the market. Most use personality to try to predict sales success. Others focus on sales knowledge of specific competencies or techniques. Leadership assessments do the same thing. So I finally created my own assessment called the EQFIT® Sales Profile, and an entire course to teach the EQFIT® Smart Selling approach. The assessment measures how people are currently applying 8 critical success factors to influence others.
To my knowledge, there is no other assessment on the market that measures influence like this...and it does it in real time. So the assessment can be used pre-hire, onboarding, training and development, and then tracking progress to achieve the sales style most effective for people.
If you knew how you are "showing up" to influence others, would that be helpful? You can have all the skills in the world, but if your mindset is not right, it will be a struggle to achieve your best possible efforts.
The world is changing. Change is constant. There is no way a fixed approach to selling or leading is going to be enough to keep pace with the speed of change. That is why mindset is so critical to success. There is a phrase I use to describe this:
Agility is the ability to take advantage of opportunity with speed and efficiency.
Agile is an over used word today but when we think of developing an agile mindset, that has value. Selling smarter means being smarter. Not just logically or rationally smarter, but emotionally smarter, conversationally smarter, and smarter with relationships. That goes for leadership as well.
We are all salespeople in certain circumstances. If you are still struggling with that thought, then think of yourself as a person of influence. How much influence you have depends on you. If you want to influence others more effectively, then follow a simple process to gain insight and understanding; Assess - Equip - Align to reach the success you desire.
For more, check out our other resources:
Copyright © 2023 EQFIT® - Author: Steven Goodner. All rights reserved. No portion of this material may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher, except as permitted by U.S. copyright law. For permissions contact: [email protected].
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