I remember being new to sales and wondering how the experienced sales reps were selling so much. Did they have all the "rich" customers?
Were they selling in a geographical pocket no one else knew about? Maybe they were just smarter, went to a better college, or had a bunch of connections from their parents and relatives.
I soon found out that was not the case. At all.
While there can be an element of truth in some of those scenarios, there are other factors that, most of the time, are the real reason for top sales people's success.
One of those factors is how deeply you believe in what you're selling.
You can have the best plan, be willing to learn and grow, and be doing the right number of presentations with qualified prospects. But if you don't believe in your soul in what you're selling, why you're selling it, and the true value of that product or service, you will never achieve better-than-average results in sales.
To be highly effective selling a product or service, and show consistent year-over-year growth, you must believe, without a shadow of a doubt, in the value of your product or service to the people you're pitching it to.
I don't mean that you think it's a good product. You have to KNOW it deep into your soul.
Your customers can tell your belief in the product. Trust me, they can.
Want to test the theory? Just look to see if people are buying from you or not. If they're not buying, then they aren't being influenced enough to take action and buy from you.
In my years of working with sales and business people, this is one of the key reasons several don't succeed.
On the contrary, when looking at the top performers, their product belief is always second to none.
Here are 5 habits to implement immediately to increase your belief, and the portrayal of that belief, in the product you sell:
When I worked for Vector Marketing selling CUTCO cutlery, reps had to buy a sample kit to get started. When I started, I assumed it was so we would have demonstration samples to show prospects.
That was true.
However, an even more important reason to have samples was for the reps to practice with the knives. Vector Marketing's reps have first-hand experience using the knives, and also know first-hand how they compare with competitors on the market. That allows them to present the product with more knowledge, and with a much higher conviction.
Ever shop at Nordstrom? If you have, you'll know they require all their employees to wear clothing purchased from the store.
It just wouldn't feel right to walk into that store, and have the salesman telling you why you should pay $300 for a pair of jeans, if he were wearing jeans of much lesser quality. There’s a much higher level of subconscious connection between the salesperson and the customer when the salesperson displays ownership of what he or she is selling.
I realize this doesn't work in every industry. Most people selling Ferraris probably don't own one. Medical device sales is the same way. If you own those products, that’s a bad thing.
However, if it works for the industry you're in, you should personally own the product you're selling and speak on that experience during your appointments.
Have your top customers share with you their experience using your product or service. Usually, the customers will use the products more than the sales people actually do.
For example, a salesman at Home Depot may know the differences of all the different drills. However, a general contractor shopping at Home Depot could tell you specific examples as to which ones are best, how they work in your hand, and the specific limitations of each. He can do this because he actually uses them all day, every day.
Get feedback from customers, and really tune in to the stories they tell about using your products and services. Probe to find out what they really like about the products. This will give you more information to share with other prospects you come in contact with.
Here's the harsh truth you don't want to hear: your customers can sell your stuff far better than you can.
Collect testimonials from happy customers. If you can get video testimonials, that's even more compelling.
People want to buy what the people they perceive like them are buying. If prospects of yours can see videos of happy customers, and if those customers are perceived to be just like them, they will be more comfortable buying from you.
No one wants to be the idiot that was duped by a good salesman. Solid testimonials from happy customers of yours are the number one way to minimize this objection.
Have a bad sales call? Get in your car and watch three video testimonials from happy customers of yours. You’ll quickly be reminded how valuable your product is.
Arizona State professor Robert Cialdini wrote a book called Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. In it he discusses the value of social proof, where he states people are more likely to follow certain actions of people they perceive to be like themselves.
In sales, you want to share stories with prospects that portray the image that everyone like them is buying your product, and they will be left in the dust if they don't jump on board too. This is one of the key factors behind the growth of the smartphones. Nowadays, everyone you know has one.
People who don’t own one have been left in the dust.
When selling your product, tell stories of your customers' experience using your products, and prospects will feel more comfortable buying them.
Follow these tips, and I assure you will be more confident, portray a higher level of belief, and see your sales skyrocket!
Are you creating the sales you need to? If not, make sure your customers see the confidence in what you're selling.
Bret Barrie was a Hall-of-Fame and Presidents’ Club-winning sales rep and is a top-producing sales leader in the medical device industry. He is the author of The Selling Edge: How to Reach the Top in any Sales Industry and Promoted: The Proven Path to Career Advancement. A baseball enthusiast and fitness junkie, he is happily married with three children and lives in the greater Sacramento area. For more information, visit bretbarrie.com.