SALES reps get a bad rap for trying to sell too hard.
You’ve heard the term ‘pushy salesman’, ‘aggressive salesperson’ or even ‘obnoxious salesman’. How do those phrases make you feel?
In fact, salespeople go to great lengths not to be perceived as pushy, or aggressive, or obnoxious - so they (maybe you) go to the opposite end of the spectrum and try to be or be known as professional.
Beware and be aware: A professional sales call is okay, but boring. Professional meetings typically have no outcome. Or worse, they result in never-ending follow-up, void of sales. Not good.
Your customer must perceive you as a professional person. It’s more of a look on your part, and a perception on the part of the customer. These days, however, professionalism is a given. Your words, actions, and deeds take over from there.
Professionalism is not bad, but professionalism alone will not net sales. Between pushy, aggressive, obnoxious, and professional lies a middle ground - a ground where sales are made. Assertiveness.
Caution: Assertiveness is not a word - it’s a strategy and a style. It’s not just a way in which you conduct yourself. Rather, it’s a full-blown strategy that has elements to master long before assertiveness can begin and be accepted as a style of selling.
Beware and be aware: Assertiveness is a good style of selling as long as you understand, and have mastered, the elements that make ‘assertive’ acceptable on the part of the customer.
Where does assertiveness come from?
• The root of assertiveness is belief. Your belief in what you do, your belief in who you represent, your belief in the products and services that you sell, your belief in yourself, your belief that you can differentiate yourself from your competitor (not compare yourself to), and your firm belief that the customer is better off having purchased from you. Deep belief is the first step in creating an assertive process. Until you believe, mediocrity is the norm.
• An attitude of positive anticipation. In order to be assertive, a positive attitude is not enough. You must possess an ‘attitude of positive anticipation’. This means walking into any sales call with a degree of certainty that the outcome will be in your favour. It means having a spirit about you that is easily contagious - a spirit that your customer can catch, and buy.
• Total preparation is the secret sauce of assertiveness. This must include customer-focused, pre-call planning as well as creating the objective, the proposed outcome, for a sales call. Most salespeople make the fatal mistake of preparing in terms of themselves (product knowledge, literature, business cards). The reality of total preparation means preparing in terms of the customer first; their needs, their desires, and their anticipated positive outcomes - their win. If these elements are not an integral part of your preparation, you will lose to someone who has them.
• The assertive equation must also contain undeniable value in favour of the customer. This is not just part of preparation, this is also part of the relationships you have built with other customers who are willing to testify on your behalf (with video testimonials if possible).
Reality: It’s not about changing your beliefs, it’s about strengthening your beliefs. It’s not about changing your attitude, it’s about building your attitude. It’s not about changing your preparation, it’s about intensifying your preparation. It’s not about adding value, it’s about delivering perceived value.
Bigger reality: When you have mastered belief, attitude, preparation, and value as I have just defined them, then and only then, can assertiveness and assertive selling begin to take place.
Biggest reality: Incremental growth in belief, attitude, preparation, and value offered will lead to assertive sales calls and an increase in sales. Your stature is the glue: Your professional look, your quiet selfconfidence, your surety of knowledge and information, your past history of success, your possession of undeniable proof, and your assertive ability to ask your customers to be responsible to their customers and their employees. It all adds up. When you combine your belief, your attitude, your preparation, your value, and your assertiveness, the outcome is predictable - it’s more sales.
Next week is all about the assertive sales call. Get ready.
Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless Customer Loyalty is Priceless, The Little Red Book of Selling, The Little Red Book of Sales Answers, The Little Black Book of Connections, The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude, The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way, The Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching, The Little Teal Book of Trust, The Little Book of Leadership, and Social BOOM! His website, www.gitomer.com, will lead you to more information about training, seminars, and webinars - or email him personally at firstname.lastname@example.org © 2013 All Rights Reserved. Don't reproduce this document without written permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer. 704/333-1112 www.gitomer.com.