Sales is a tough sales job – but I found a way to make it easier, and more fun!
Allow me to share with you my mini-breakthrough; it was an average day, with average weather outside and average conditions inside. The girls were complaining the office was too cold and the boys…too hot. It was midweek and so even the stress levels were average.
It was on this unremarkable day that I realised I was terribly bored. More bored than usual. I was looking for new clients and was expected to hammer the phones. My calls were being logged and my phone time recorded. I needed to do more.
It was around that most lethargic time of day – post lunch – when I’d had enough of defending myself against the prevailing low opinion of cold callers, that I made a decision; for the rest of the day I’d simply agree and even join in with the negative opinions, as bluntly expressed by the recipients of my joyless canvass calls. Just for fun you understand. But two quite unexpected things happened: -
- I generated more rapport with my prospects, more quickly;
- I started enjoying myself.
But how, and why?
By agreeing with them, I was circumventing their defences and instead of relying on rebuttals, I deployed empathy. This proved to be the perfect segue, allowing me to reveal to them why such problems existed in my industry. My prospects became intrigued with me, and the conversations – with barriers removed – flowed more freely.
We had rapport – that all-important commonality that encourages people to want to help each other.
It still amuses me that to increase my commissions by 130% in the year that followed, I’d had to break away from the scripted rebuttals that were demanded of me when I started my sales career.
Please note that I said this was “my mini-breakthrough”. In reality, you could pull apart this story and realise that it’s pretty standard stuff in the ‘how to sell’ paradigm. But here’s my point: Indifference is the enemy. It is actually better – from a pure sales perspective – to provoke your prospects than to leave them so underwhelmed that they forget about you ten seconds after they put the phone down.
Now I don’t advocate provoking people deliberately but I would urge you to find your voice; find the method that works for you and don’t blindly follow your sales training, even if the boss is hovering over you with a big stick. After all, you might be a better sales person than he or she.
By Richard Pimm, member of Toastmasters International and founder of PimmCo. Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organisation that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of meeting locations. Headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, the organisation’s membership exceeds 313,000 in more than 14,650 clubs in 126 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people of all backgrounds become more confident in front of an audience. There are nearly 300 clubs in the UK and Ireland with over 7000 members. Find your local club. Follow on Twitter.