ARE you passive, aggressive, or assertive? Only one way wins.
The answer is ‘assertive’; it’s the best strategy for engaging, establishing control, proving value, creating a buying atmosphere, and forging a relationship.
I define assertiveness as a state of mind and a state of preparation before implementation in a sales call.
Following on from last week’s column (http://www.gitomer.com/articles/ View.html?id=16277), the two remaining parts of assertiveness are the sales presentation itself, and the follow-up to the sales call.
Interesting that the sales call, the actual presentation, does not require the same amount of assertiveness as the sales follow-up. It’s way more difficult to re-engage a prospect and chase down a decision.
However, if you’re a great salesperson, an assertive salesperson, follow-up may not be necessary because you have asserted your way to the sale during the presentation.
The presentation: When you get in front of a prospective customer, it is imperative that you look impressive and sound impressive. You must start in a positive position in order to create a positive outcome. Assertiveness begins with your eye contact, smile, and handshake. These actions establish you in the mind of the prospect as a person who is both self-assured and happy.
You take a relaxed seat. You accept anything that is offered to you in the way of water or coffee. You put yourself in the lean-forward position.
Any tools or equipment you need to make your presentation are in front of you and ready to go. And you immediately begin by discussing anything other than your business and their business.
You begin the business of making friends. You begin the business of creating mutual smiles. You begin talking about them in a way that lets them know you’ve done your preparation and your homework. At any moment you can begin to discuss their needs.
The segue from rapport building to business discussion requires an assertive thought process; there’s no formula, but there is a feeling. The salesperson’s responsibility is to feel when it’s right to move forward, and then have the assertive courage to do it.
Assertive presentations start with questions, offer unchallengeable proof in the middle, and end with a customer commitment that you have earned.
Beware and be aware: Whomever you’re calling on wants to know what’s new and what the trends are in their business. If you are able to deliver those during your presentation, I guarantee you’ll develop a value-based relationship, and have the full attention of the buyer.
Harnessing the power of ‘assertive’ in a sales presentation
The assertive presentation challenges you, the salesperson, to bring forth a combination of your knowledge as it relates to their needs as well as a durability to connect both verbally and nonverbally with the person or the group you’re addressing.
You’ll know your assertive strategy is working when the customer or the prospective customer begins asking questions to get a deeper understanding about your product or service. This changes monologue to dialogue but also creates the power of engagement - or should I say assertive engagement.
At some point you have to complete the transaction. This means either asking for the sale (an okay part of the assertive process), or using some secondary means to confirm the sale (like scheduling delivery or installation).
Commitment to the order is where the rubber meets the road. If you get the order, it means you’ve done an assertively great job. If you don’t get it, it means you have to lapse into assertive follow-up mode.
Here, ask permission-based questions that tell you where you are in the relationship. If you get a mobile phone number and you’re permitted to send an occasional text, it means your relationship has reached a solid position.
The ultimate goal beyond a sale is a trusted relationship with your customer. The path to secure that relationship begins with mastering the principles of assertiveness and then putting them into practice.
The by-product is more sales.
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 email@example.com © 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.