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Don’t try so hard – make more sales

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Here's one thing you can do that will guarantee poor sales performance: try really hard to get the sale. Yes, you heard me right. Try really hard to get the sale and you will decrease your chances of getting the sale.

Let me explain:

When sales people try too hard to get the sale – when they are focused exclusively on making the sale – they tend to make mistakes in the process. The biggest mistake they make is that they rush ahead of where the client is at in their personal buying process. They get greedy and selfish with only one dominating thought: will this person buy or not? They are so keen to make a sale that they skip the truly important parts of the sales process and rush into the presentation almost in a mad dash to get it out of the way so they can get to the payoff or the "close".

And what's the reaction of the typical consumer when a sales person does this? Well, how do you react when a sales person rushes you, or gives you the feeling they are only interested in making the sale, or tries to "close" you before you're ready? Well if you are like most, you probably shut down. You disengage. You send the sales person signals that you won't be buying which further reinforces to them that you are not worth their time, and you both drift further away from doing business together.

So how do you make more sales? Don't try to make the sale. Let go of the end result – don't worry about whether the person buys or not. Buying any product or service is a logical mental and emotional process. The process of selling needs to mirror that buying process. Good sales people are like a tour guide, walking their clients patiently through the buying process. Focusing on the sale makes it all about the sale when, in fact, it should be all about helping your client get to the next stage of their buying process.

Sports psychologists teach this to high performance athletes early on in their careers. Athletes are taught how to focus and to be in the moment; how to block out distractions and concentrate on the task at hand. They are not thinking about winning. They know that the best shot they have at winning will come from being totally focused in the moment and executing on the skills and performance necessary for them to achieve their personal best.

It's the same in selling. Letting go of the end result - the sale - will allow you to do what you need to do which is to focus on the client in front of you and getting to the next step of their buying process. That's why having a strategy to follow like the Buying Cycle is so critical. It allows you to focus on the steps that will lead the client to a decision and not on making the sale. When sales people in financial services or insurance focus on making the sale they tend to rush into a product presentation "just to see" if a client might be interested. The client thinks they are getting pitched a product – getting sold – so they disengage from the sales person.

Lead, Don't Follow

Don't let all this talk about not focusing on the sale give you the impression that we are to sit back and wait for clients to buy. Not so. You are not following the client, you are leading. Your focus should be on successfully completing each step of the sale with the goal being to safely transition to the next step. That's it. Just get to the next step.

So don't focus on making the sale, focus instead on a solid greeting that establishes rapport and lets the client know you are friendly and trust worthy.

Don't focus on making the sale, focus on asking good questions, getting the client talking and acknowledging areas of concern. Don't even start presenting a product until you are confident the client has expressed everything they need to for you to have full information and make and educated product recommendation.

Don't try to make the sale, instead, clearly articulate how your product will solve the problem you and your client just identified. Focus on talking their language, explaining how specifically the product you selected will help, and showing them value in not just the product, but in the company as well.

Don't try to make the sale, just get feedback from the client acknowledging that the product you presented will help.

Now guess where you are? Once they have acknowledged the product will help it's time to ask them to buy. By focusing on getting to the next step in the process you are now in a position where you can feel confident it's time to ask for the sale. More importantly, you can have the confidence to know that your client is ready to buy.

Let go of the end result. Don't try so hard to make the sale but instead focus on getting to the next step in the process. When you do, you will find the journey more enjoyable and the results more favourable.

Success is a journey not a destination. The doing is usually more important than the outcome. Not everyone can be Number 1.
Arthur Ashe

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