Are you surprised that one out of every two person you sell to thinks you or your reps are pushy? I’m not surprised you’re surprised because only 17% of reps themselves see themselves as pushy. Wow. Here’s another doozy..only 3% of buyers trust a sales person. Doctors and Firefighters get that coveted top trust spot (which explains all the TV shows about them!).
In all the research it looks like the biggest missing ingredient in the buying experience is trust. So what’s a company who wants to sell to do?
How To Stop Pushing
The only reason sales reps appear to be pushy is that their classic sales training is to set up a call, appointment or interaction for the sole purpose of talking about their products and services. For example, a promotional product company I’m working with has the sales process of sending in a product sample and price sheet immediately as the next step to an interest signal from a prospect. Instead, I’ve been teaching them to schedule a consultative meeting about the problem that the product solves and to ask for permission to show a presentation where they tell stories of others in the same industry that these products have helped overcome. It’s such a huge shift in mentality that most reps have admitted to having trouble even getting their minds around it let alone implementing it. Sadly, as Dale Carnegie says “the most beautiful word in any language is a person’s own name”. So the more you talk about the prospect’s problem and less about you, the more likely you are to stop being seen as pushy.
Co-Creation Isn’t Pushy
Part of my coach training through Coach U was to learn to involve the client in the solution to the problem. The prospect you’re meeting with isn’t dumb. Nor is it their first rodeo. They’ve most likely tried other solutions to the problem you or your product is trying to solve. Why not use that knowledge and couple it with your expertise to co-create a solution they will buy off on easier because they created it? How can they claim you’re pushy when they came up with part of the solution?
Listening Isn’t Pushy
One of the biggest disconnects in the negative buyer experience research is listening, understanding buyer’s needs and researching them. See a thread here? It’s all about them them them. In the 5 step selling conversation that I teach my clients, the entire steps consist of asking questions. If you don’t ask and listen deeply to the answers, you won’t be able to truly understand where you can be positioned to help. Better yet, is to do your homework to do the research about their problems by looking at the market place, talking to their customers or vendors to find out their true pain. Ask, don’t tell and you won’t seem pushy.
Shifting what you’re doing from being a mindless order taker who is dead set on pinning buyers to hear you talking about your company and products to being a consultative thought leader on their most costly and persistent business problem is not easy. But it will stop you and your sales staff from being seen as ‘pushy’ and ‘untrustworthy’ and accelerate your results.
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