Learn to talk
If I say I’m fairly good at sales and managing people, you may accuse me of a bloated ego. But to be honest, I believe in my ability to communicate effectively and win over even adversaries. Most of my friends say that I’m a keen observer of people and places, and pick up practical lessons of life all the time.
I believe in learning all the time, which I feel is a must to lead a successful life. If one thinks that he knows everything, it is time for him to exit from the world. One hard lesson I have learned is about the need to carefully prepare in advance when going out to see people for doing business.
It was one of my admirers who instilled in me a valuable lesson. He told me that one should gather all resources and information before taking up a sales mission and making a commitment to a client. I have been following this in all seriousness. The anecdote my friend shared with me about vacuum cleaner salesman is still fresh in my memory.
Under pressure to attain the monthly target, the sales guy went around knocking at doors. After an exhaustive and tiring round, he finally reached a house and rang the bell. He desperately wanted to hit the target and thought he would use all his persuasive skills to win an order.
A woman opened the door. He brushed her aside, rushed into the living room and emptied a whole bag of cow-dung on the carpet. As the woman looked aghast, he said that in the next three minutes he would tidy up the place using his powerful vacuum cleaner, and if he fails, he would eat the whole mess.
The woman asked him what would he prefer lace it up with to eat the whole mess – chilly or tomato sauce?! The salesman was intrigued, He gave her a puzzled look. “Why Madam?” he asked. The woman said: “Because there’s no electricity in the house…!”
This anecdote has had such an impact on me that I would prepare for all emergencies, including verbal and physical assault, when on sales call. I can assure you that closing a deal can become a pleasant experience, if one carefully prepares in advance for the client meeting.
Sales talks are all about persuasion, about which researchers have done in-depth studies. There is a branch of science called sociolinguistics and neurolinguistics under which scholars study language use and look at brain structures that process language.
To be successful as a salesperson one has to master the art of sales linguistics. It is actually no big deal. A little bit of practice and training can help you learn the intricacies of communication that turns talks into sales.
The first lesson is never be a slave to authorised company sales pitch. Remember no one speaks your own precise language, which is actually shaped by a host of environmental reasons such as family ground, where you grew up, the influences on you etc. This, therefore, varies from people to people.
For developing powerful sales tactics, you have to understand the use of persuasive language that would convince the customer by talking about them, their values, their problems, their plans and their desires. Don’t impose on the potential customer your views on your products. In other words speak the customers’ language to build rapport.
These include conveying of information verbally, nonverbally, consciously, and subconsciously. For successful sales, the marketing guy should make conscious efforts to adapt the mental wiring and language of the customer. He should aim to use emotions to reach out to the deeper subconscious of the customer by understanding what to say and, equally important, how to say it.
What I learned from practical life is to master the art of sales linguistics. It will help the sales person to understand how one can turn sceptics into believers and persuade prospective customers to buy your product and services.
By actively listening and observation you can create a connect with the customer without being pushy like the vacuum cleaner salesman. He should have prepared for a casual conversation to find a baseline, and then clinch the deal. I don’t know whether he cleared the cow-dung or ate it.