It’s a well-known fact that buying is buying is not just an intellectual or practical decision, but also an emotional one. People are more likely to buy from sales reps who they genuinely like. When meeting with clients, your reps need to come across as likable, but not fake. You need to seem like an intelligent friend, and not a well-meaning idiot. Here are 5 elements to being friendly and professional without coming across as overly promotional or ‘sales-y’.
You need to be happy and positive. This kind of attitude will rub off on clients, putting them in a good mood and instilling positive connotations associated with your product. One easy way to brighten up their day is to smile, even when on the phone. Be enthusiastic about your product and be excited about having the chance to share it with them. If you are excited about it, your client will be too. On the other hand, if you do not act pleased with your product, the client will question its value.
You don’t want to be that salesperson with the fake smile permanently plastered across their face. This immediately turns people off because it clues them in to the fact that they are being sold to. The moment you are inauthentic, your prospective customers’ defenses will go up and your job gets significantly harder. Be authentic by positioning yourself as an advisor rather than as a salesperson. In meetings, try to sit next to the customer instead of across from them. Advise them on which of your products would suit their needs instead of just trying to sell any product you can. You may be nervous, but be yourself. If you freeze up and use a put-on “sales voice” no one will believe a word you’re saying.
3. Appropriate use of resources
Part of your credibility relies on your expertise with your tools. This can be anything from a PowerPoint slideshow, to a conference call, to an iPad demo. If you can’t use your tools, you will lose your authority. However, your use of materials goes beyond your ability to use them on a technical level; you need to understand their place in your sales pitch. Don’t let your materials upstage you – use them as supplements to support what you are saying. Instead of being dependent on tools to drive your presentation, you should only use them to illustrate what you are saying.
Respect goes both ways. If you respect your client, they will be more likely to respect you as well. One simple way to command respect is to act like you deserve it. Act confident and in charge. If you take control of the situation, your client will be more likely to trust that you know what you’re talking about. Remember that looking like you’re in control is about more than just you attitude. Pay attention to your posture, clothing, and grooming. They make a bigger difference than most would like to admit. Plus they form the first impression that the client gets. Wouldn’t you rather be thought of as careful and polished than sloppy and amateur?
5. Ask questions
While you do want to establish yourself as an expert in control of the situation, you don’t want to completely dominate the presentation. Ask your clients questions. Then let them answer in as much detail as possible. Ask follow up questions if they seem appropriate. This is the only way that you can learn what they need and how to sell to them. Plus, they will be more engaged in the meeting if it is a dialogue, with them doing most of the talking. Your interest in their problems makes you seem focused on fixing their problems, rather than on trying to sell at all costs.
Remember that building a successful sales persona is all about balance. Be friendly, but authentic. Command respect, but let them do most of the talking. Be a likeable person, but show your knowledge and expertise. Enjoy yourself if you can. You will be more relaxed and the presentation will be more pleasant for everyone involved.