Debbie Barrow, Managing Director of Virada Training believes that selling to today’s customers draws parallel’s with top performers in the world of sports.
Tiger Woods never said that he knew everything about golf after reaching the number one position in the world rankings and Andy Murray didn’t stop having coaching despite winning the Wimbledon title. Any top performing sports personality has constant coaching to keep them at the top of their game.
Top sports people focus continually on things such as: shifting the angle just a tad, changing the position of the foot, the hand, changing a mindset a little. This focus on the small things is what helps to keep any top performing sports person at the top.
So how does this philosophy work in the word of sales? Well let’s think about the changing customer landscape. Customers today have more access to information, greater choice, more confidence to challenge the price, more pressure, less time and high expectations.
Customers today judge quickly. Research suggests that this is anytime from a nano-second to thirty seconds, but the most often quoted research is ‘four seconds’. Research also shows that once a negative judgement is made it’s hard to change it due to the effort and attention needed to change it. Today’s customers don’t always have the time to do that.
Many sales people are in the complacency trap when it comes to their first impression. They overlook aspects of personal grooming such as: the haircut, the shoes, their clothing and their nails.
Faces are interesting. Only a third of people have naturally smiley faces, yet an authentic smile is a huge factor within the first impression. How physical resources are used also has an influence. For example, the quality of a case, note pad, pen; how business cards are given or accepted and how presentation slides are used.
Body language has a greater impact than most people imagine. 100% focus needs to be given when listening to customers. However, when sales people are given feedback about shifting feet, fidgeting with a pen, or using eye contact ineffectively, most are unaware of that behaviour as it’s subconscious most of the time.
Use of voice is extremely important as there are six elements to consider: tone, pace, pitch, intonation, emphasis and volume. Adjusting just one has an impact on how the message is perceived.
And then there are the words that are used, what items are given to or sent to the customer, the effectiveness of materials given, the quality of the follow up and more.
There is no ‘one big thing’ that makes the difference in selling; no quick formula, ‘technique’ or clever phrase; it’s about thousands of small things that all count.
Tiger Woods and Andy Murray know this and like many in the world of sports, the coach helps them to focus on the small things in order to stay on top of their game.