About a year ago my 11 year old daughter (at that time 10) asked me “why am I a salesman?” I told her “because when you are a salesperson, you control the money you make!” She looked confused so I rephrased it. “If you want to make more money you just have to work harder.” You determine how much money you make, not your boss or employer. She then asked the tough question as most kids do: “What do you need to be a salesman?” So of course I wanted to answer her question accurately but in a more understandable manner. I thought for a second... what one word could I use to describe a trait that all salespeople need in order to be a successful? I told her you need: Confidence.
In my opinion this is the one trait that separates the good from the great! Confidence can be displayed during many phases of the sale cycle as you will see below.
It all starts with appearance. How do you look? How do you feel? I always tell my kids “if you look good you feel good and if you feel good you perform good.” So now you have to ask yourself...what about your appearance makes you feel confident? Is it a hair style? Perfectly polished shoes? A correctly matched pocket square? Matching shoes and purse? A new suit? This is the first act of the play so you have to make it count. Your appearance is not just a state of mind -- it can convey a seriousness to your customer and propel your game to the next level.
One of the most challenging tasks in the sale cycle is prospecting using one of the original forms of communication...the telephone. This first thing that makes it so challenging of a process is that 70% of the time there is someone on the other end who's job is to play defense on whatever you're selling. You could be offering eternal life and he or she would still be unavailable. The other 20% of the time you are going straight to voicemail. And finally for the remaining 10% you actually get someone who says “how can I help you? I'm really busy.”
Your challenge now is to take the next 10 seconds to buy another 30. There are many different answers on how to do it, but it is confidence that will guide you through the process. When you speak to that gatekeeper, that confidence is perceived through the phone and makes that person feel as if he or she or she has to transfer the call without asking “what is this regarding?” It's confidence that allows one to leave a valuable and compelling voice mail and it's confidence that buys not just 30 seconds but that 1st appointment to qualify them for your product or services.
Practice makes perfect. We hear that in sports and in music, but shouldn't that apply in sales also? When it comes to making your presentation, you should practice and be aware of not only your products and the value they bring. You should also be familiar with the objections that your customer will raise because you've heard them all before. When you offer your solution, it will be the confidence that the customer hears that will make them feel good about the decision to do business with you.
It's the confidence that you have in your products or services that will make them feel at ease.
I hear a lot of salespeople say you have to have confidence when you close. When you ask for the order, you have to be stern and not accept no for an answer. This is the one time that I believe confidence is not needed. When it’s time to close the deal it should just be a formality. You have displayed confidence in getting that first appointment. You qualified the customer and identified their issues. You asked the customer “if we can help you with this issue, is there any reason you will not be able to do business with us?” You then solved their issue with your product or service. You confidently answered their questions and addressed any concerns. After all of that, signing the document is just a formality.
As you confidently show them where to sign, you confidently inform them that this is just the beginning and boldly ask them if there is anybody they know that you can also speak to regarding your product or services.
Do you have any examples of where confidence helped you close a deal? Please tell us about them in the comments below!