Recently, I have found myself answering more and more of the delegates on my sales courses with the same answer.
Regardless of what area of sales is being discussed the response that keeps occurring to me is...
Exactly how you ‘turn up’ to a prospect meeting is one of the few areas that is not so well covered in sales trainings and books.
Advice tends to be relatively basic around preparation, timeliness and demeanour.
However, there are another two dimensions that will have a major impact on how the sales meeting progresses and what results you achieve.
The first is your mindset and the second is your level of self-awareness.
It is well accepted (although not always so well executed) in the field of sales that the mindset of advanced sales practitioners is not to go after the sale, but to focus on helping their clients succeed.
There is an increasing awareness that the client is only going to succeed long term if they are focussed on helping organisations and people grow, rather than on narrow self-interest.
By taking this approach they sell more, largely because they gain a high level of mutual understanding and trust. Let’s take that a little further...
What if you turn up to every sales meeting without judgement or expectation?
Your only goal is to understand your client deeply. To stand where they are and see what they are seeing.
You have no thoughts about what you are selling; instead you set a clear and powerful context for the discussion based on the subject of your prospects interest, demonstrating that you truly understand where they are and why they need to make a purchase.
Try it. In taking this approach alone you will sell more than you have ever sold before.
I use it myself with incredible results. You see, a sales person gains ultimate credibility, not by his company brand, product, service or style, but by demonstrating that he genuinely understands and cares about his or her client and the results they are looking to achieve.
Demonstrating capability, providing evidence, negotiating, and all those other things that great sales people do are no longer part of a sales process, but something that is done more instinctively because it feels like a natural, human thing to do.
How in(side) the conversation are you?
Are you really fully involved, with a mindset to help them and you?
Or are you thinking about your product and how to make them buy?
Most of us bring so much into our conversations; all of our prejudices and judgements that have been hard-wired into ourselves for so long.
But when you are present in a conversation, it becomes more open and meaningful.
This means becoming fully aware of your state of mind and making a decision with conviction combined with a concerted effort to focus beyond listening so that you become part of the environment you have created.
You need to be aware of the big picture or context of the discussion and at the same time, of how the relevant details are going to work.
This means becoming aware when your thoughts drift off into yesterday or tomorrow, re-focusing yourself on the present conversation so that you absorb its meaning in a heightened way.
Now, observe how you ask more powerful questions and respond with a different clarity when you are truly present.
Watch how you compel your client toward you and align with them - so much easier.
Whether I am asked about how to gain the upper hand in a negotiation, how to articulate unique difference, or how to close elegantly, everything starts with how you turn up.