By Goke Ilesanmi
Selling is basically about persuasion. That is, the art of getting people to go along with your points of view, to see everything your own way. Persuasion is the ability to induce beliefs and values in other people by influencing their thoughts and actions through specific strategies. The ability to influence the behaviour of another person or group has been a necessary element in human culture since the beginning of time. In short, the greatest changes in the course of humanity have all been guided by individuals with mastery in the persuasion process.
The fact remains that whether or not you have had training in persuasive speaking, you are familiar with it and your happiness in your business engagements and success may largely depend on your persuasive skills. Paul Nelson and Judy Pearson, co-authors of “Confidence in Public Speaking” say whether you are selling a product, soliciting votes, marketing services, canvassing for donations, seeking a job or simply attempting to convince someone to believe as you do, you are engaging in persuasive communication.
The difference between an impotent conversationalist and the motivating communicator is the ability to persuade people to participate in win-win relationships. According to Dr. Kevin Hogan, author of “The Psychology of Persuasion”, the ability to communicate persuasively is a skill that can be used in all aspects of our personal or business life. As a salesperson, your sales will dramatically increase if you can master this art.
One of the very important factors in persuasion is outcome-based thinking. Your state of mind is a very important thing to consider in the persuasion process. It is also very important to know the other person’s desired state of mind. When you determine this, you can persuade the person by showing him or her how to get there.
Whether you want to become a master persuader or simply a better communicator, it is important to take on the thinking process of a master persuader. Outcome-based thinking is simply about the ability to visualise the exact outcome of a process before beginning that process. It is like vision in goal-setting. It is the ability to set goals and keep them in mind all through the persuasion process.
Obviously, outcome-based thinking can apply to much more than the persuasion process. It is very important because it is said that you must first succeed inside to be able to succeed outside or in real life.
To succeed as a salesperson, one important attribute you need to have is enthusiasm about your product. Every serious salesperson stresses enthusiasm as the most important asset in sales persuasion. You cannot be a top salesperson unless you genuinely believe in the value of your product or service and can enthusiastically convey that to your prospective buyers. Beyond this, you need motivation.
As Barry Farber, author of “Superstar Sales Secrets” puts it, “Nobody ever said selling was easy. It takes hard work and persistence to do it well and achieve success. Rejection and adversity are daily occurrences in this profession. That’s why motivation is the most important factor in sales success.”
Terry Beck, author of “High Performance Selling” corroborates this assertion by saying what he looks for when he interviews potential salespeople is people who have gone out and done something, without waiting to be told what to do. Beck adds that these are the kind of people who are going to be successful because they are driven to succeed.
To become a successful salesperson, you also need to be good at analysis of customer needs. Farber educates that inexperienced salespeople often think that the way to control sales is to keep going through their presentation point by point. But the reality of the whole issue is that a presentation can only be effective if you know what your (prospective) customer’s interest is beforehand, and accurately addresses it.
This is where analysis of customer needs is very critical. Once you know what a customer needs, it will be easy for you to determine how your product or service can satisfy those needs. To effectively analyse the needs of your customers, you need to do research, ask questions and listen attentively.
Effective time management is another key issue in selling. Effective time management is a critical skill for sales success. You need to know how to plan your time and maximise it. There are many sales calls to make, many letters, proposals, reports to write, but very little time. Research shows that every salesperson faces the challenge of productive time management. To address the challenges, just concentrate on your main goal of generating sales, while organising and prioritising your time well.
The most important step you can take in the field of selling is to commit yourself to personal excellence, to become one of the best in your field. This means, you need to divorce mediocrity. If you want to see if you can really do something great, do not impede your drive with insufficient target. You can do more than you think you can. Therefore resolve today to join the league of top salespeople in terms of sales and earnings and you will achieve success in selling.
Just like any journalist reporting can be called a “reporter” in some instances, irrespective of his or her official designation as an editor or otherwise, so can anybody that does one form of business or another be referred to as a “seller”. So even if your job description is not officially that of a salesperson in your organisation, you are indirectly a salesperson and need to learn the fundamentals of selling.
PS: For those making inquiries about our CV/Profile Writing and Speech Writing Services; Political Persuasion and Presentation Course; General Public Speaking and Business Presentation Course; Professional Writing Course, etc., please visit the website indicated on this page for details.
GOKE ILESANMI (FIIM, FIMC, CMC), CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is an International Platinum Columnist, Professional Public Speaker, Career Mgt Coach and Certified Mgt Consultant. He is also a Book Reviewer, Biographer and Editorial Consultant. Tel: 08056030424; 08055068773; 08187499425