Several months ago I finally bought myself a new car.
It was the most miserable experience of my life.
Admittedly, this may be a slight embellishment, as driving a brand new car off the lot is great, but I can assure you that the process of buying the car was agonizing.
No one listened to me. I was lied to, several times.
I found myself fully engaged in a ridiculous game of chicken that resulted in me walking out of one dealership, resulting in the salesmen calling me three times as I was on my way to another.
Fortunately, not all industries are still operating with complete disregard for the evolution in the way people buy and consume products. Many industries are operating in a manner that’s customer first, as let’s be honest, they’re the ones with the controlling stake in the relationship.
They’ve done their research. They’ve read reviews. They know the specs. All they need is your help. Here’s how the most likable salespeople operate.
1. They’re great listeners
During the midst of trying to buy my car, the salesman persisted in asking if I’d rather lease. Obviously this is more profitable for the dealership, but I made it clear I was looking to own.
"Are you sure?”
Of course I was sure. This didn’t stop the salesman asking two more times if I would rather lease. As you could guess, this is the dealership I ended up walking out of. If they had simply listened to me, there was a chance they could have ended up with my business.
The modern salesperson understands that the buyer is in control. They’re armed with the information and are looking for the most sensible solution that fits their needs. The funny thing about needs is, you can’t fully understand them unless you listen.
Only then can a salesperson adequately provide a solution.
2. They provide context
Technology has enabled salespeople to know just as much about you as you know about their product or service.
No matter how that sounds on the surface, this is a positive development in the customer/salesperson relationship. It means less time spent coaxing you into leasing your car when you’d rather buy. Imagine if the salesmen had known this about me beforehand. Chances are it would’ve been a much more productive conversation.
Successful salespeople use the intelligence they have on a specific prospect in order to offer a solution they’re likely to identify with. They know which pages you’ve viewed and how many times. They know how you found their website and what piece of content brought you there.
Most importantly, they use this type of intelligence to provide you an experience customized to your specific interests and needs.
3. They’re transparent
Great salespeople eliminate the fine print. By this I don’t mean they give things away and override company policies. Instead, they make everything perfectly clear up front so there are no surprises when it comes time to "talk turkey."
For example, on the day I bought my car, the first dealership had a $4,000 discrepancy between the sticker price and what showed up on the bottom line of the purchase order.
As a result, the salesman made three desperate attempts to get me to turn around once I was already headed to a rival dealership. Why couldn’t he have made his best offer known up front?
The other dealership did. As a result, I bought my car from them.
Great salespeople are honest, if only because they know people make much more informed purchasing decisions. This means it’s entirely possible that the consumer knows as much – or more – about your product than the salesman.
Again, this all goes back to helping people find solutions. The modern salesperson knows they’re competing for mindshare with far more platforms than ever before.
So how do they respond? By getting to the value, and doing so quickly.
4. They’re accessible
Sales is no longer a one way street. It’s much more relationship driven, as is business as a whole. This is in large part due to the importance of social media in relation to business success. If you’re to maintain a presence worth anyone’s time, it’d better be personal.
The modern salesperson is plugged in socially, not only monitoring prospects behavior in an effort to provide further context, but also to remain accessible and engaging should there be any questions on the part of the prospect.
5. They’re ambiverted
“You can get a good look at a T-Bone by sticking your head up a bull’s ass, but wouldn’t you rather take the butchers word for it?” - Tom Callahan Sr., Tommy Boy
In most situations, this type of sharp-elbowed selling is no longer effective. (Was it ever?)
Going back to being great listeners, the modern salesperson is the perfect blend between extroverted and introverted. They’re not pushing for the sale, but rather working with you to find a solution that makes sense given your unique needs and challenges.
It’s really the only option. Anyone fighting for mindshare in our device-enabled era is well-served to have a more selfless approach.
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