Anyone who’s read a sales blog knows that a great salesperson listens more, talks less.
When you talk, where is your focus – on you or the prospect?
Most humans like to talk about their good points, awards, strengths, and successes. That’s referred to as a “healthy ego.”
But how the ego effects sales is worth exploration.
Having good self-worth is important to confidence, but too much of a good thing can crush relationships between friends, family, colleagues, and prospects; it gets in the way of making a connection – and sales are made when the customer is the center of attention, not you.
After all, prospects want solutions for their business; it’s about what you can do for them, not the other way around.
Check your ego at the door
If you leave your inflated self-worth at the office, prospects and customers will feel more comfortable. They’ll feel valued and in tune with you, they will listen closely to what you say. After all, it’s all about them, not you.
When your approach is customer-centric you’re in a better position to offer solutions. Customers and prospects need help, but a good salesperson gets the customer to help the sales process along.
Expert vs. ego
Prospects relay on your expertise but tread lightly around the buyer’s ego. No, they don’t know as much as you, but their opinions are valid, and no one wants to feel uninformed, naïve or less than.
Resist the urge to show off, which tends to belittle the listener.
Egos are fragile. When a prospect feels inadequate, it damages the sales relationship.
Avoid telling the prospect how you can fix what’s wrong with the buyer’s department or company. Let them tell you instead.
If not, you risk offending the buyer, especially if s/he’s the one in charge; it’s likely to be a reflection on him/her.
Treat your prospect like a loved one, someone who you wouldn’t think of hurting. Once feelings are bruised, it’s hard to recapture a relationship.
Reality and balance
Reality is one thing. Ego is another.
Know your buyer. Are they a “macho man” who may be offended if you know more about sports or cars?
Most of us, except maybe sociopaths, know when we’ve overstepped or hurt someone else’s feelings.
When or if that happens with a buyer, take responsibility and apologize for any inadvertent damage you’ve done to the prospect’s ego.
So, how do you accomplish the fragile balance between your prospect’s ego and your own?
Check your ego and watch for defensive reactions. If a prospect rejects your sales pitch, don’t take it personally. That buyer isn’t trying to hurt you – it’s simply a business decision.
If you’re hurt, most likely you’re not focused enough on the prospect, but your own bottom line. That doesn’t make sales.
Name the pain
Find your prospect’s pain – the problem that needs to be fixed.
To stroke the buyer’s ego while finding what pains them is delicate.
Start by complimenting a prospect with something positive and true.
Encourage the prospect to talk about the opportunity to solve their issue. Let them talk, explain and target a weakness within the department or company. After all, why do they need you if nothing is wrong? The prospect will feel listened to and their ego will stay intact.
If you’re there when the prospect realizes this central truth, the buyer is more likely to ask you to help.
Ask them to quantify the pain. If sales are down, ask them by how much, or if sales are up but not by very much, again, ask how much.
Depending on the answer, you’ve found the pain.
Now you can start to alleviate that pain by asking, not telling, the buyer where to go from here. After the prospect explains what needs to happen, you can offer to give it to him/her. You’re the solution.
Begin by stroking the buyer’s ego, acknowledge positives, and ask carefully about painful reality.
If you just can’t seem to park your ego, here are some ways to get out of your own head:
- Empathy – walk in your prospect’s shoes, figurately
- Gratitude – feel gratitude for what you do have, not what you don’t
- Inspiration – tune into your creative side
A sales career is challenging. Don’t make it hardened than it has to be.
Dampen your ego, inflate your prospect’s self-worth and help them move forward. You’ll get the sale and the new customer will find a solution.
|Tamera Shaw is a freelance writer for Insured Solutions based in Louisville, Kentucky. She writes fiction and enjoys amateur photography. She happily shares her life with husband Ron, daughter Cate and sage cat, Sophie, who grudgingly shares her home with the newest member of our family – Nieko, our new kitten.|