Originally posted November 21, 2014 by Trey Warme on LinkedIn
Sales: The Common Thread | I AM TECHNOLOGY blog by Trey Warme, San Diego
As an engineer, the last thing I ever wanted to talk about was sales. In reality, to make a living, we all have to sell our services. As a young entrepreneur venturing out on my first few computer support consulting experiences for myself, I had a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that even though my passion is helping people solve information systems infrastructure problems, a transaction still needed to occur at some point. I did not like the cognitive dissonance I experienced, or my inability to quite pinpoint what was causing me this issue in the first place, and it caused me significant stress, especially in my early years.
That was until I had the fortunate opportunity to be trained by a near and dear friend, veteran sales trainer in the financial services industry, where I learned that sales are actually all about relationships. Needs based sales always; you are problem solving. People are not buying your product; they are buying a relationship with you. Now, relationships are something that I actually do enjoy. I am motivated by connecting with people, finding commonalities between us, empathetically listening to their problems and making people feel their needs come first, which gives me the ability to create and build trust, in order to persuasively articulate valuable suggestions, allowing us to work together to best solve their current problems now, and building a relationship that permits me to confidently follow-up with them afterwards to foster long-term partnerships. A shameless self-plug perhaps of the characteristics of an effective sales person I feel I posses in an article intended to be usefully informational, but hey I am currently available for hire! Eh, I digress.
I am currently for hire!
So, we’ve all heard characteristics of effective sales people, and fortunately we may not need any of it as long as we can connect with a person, establish rapport and build trust. Okay so here’s the best part, once trust has been built, I no longer have to convince the customer that their problem is dire or that my solution is their only option. There is no need to position my solution as better than others or even justify the size of their investment. Price, service, quality, I don’t have to pick two. All I need to be concerned with is being truly present and genuinely attentive to the person I’m with, and articulating to them that I truly care about and understand their problem. That is the common thread in sales of all industries. Not unlike common threads also found in human relations, which I plan to explore more soon in upcoming posts, or even the common thread found in the similarities of a core tenet common to many world religions, the ethic of reciprocity, we know as ‘the golden rule’, lucky for us, the common thread in sales is inclusive of all people, in all industries, of all cultures, all places, and that includes you and whatever your product maybe.
No matter the industry or the product you’re selling, the sale is a relationship between people. Customers are people wanting to connect with people. We’ve all heard, people do not want to be sold, they want to buy. In some sales processes, ‘establishing rapport’ is taught as the first key skill necessary for needs based selling. A key skill I’ve found critical to this process is the ability to first create a connection with a person, and have found this is the key to establishing and building rapport. Rapport is the key to building openness and trust. When you have established openness and trust, all you need to do is to ask about a person’s problems and they will open like a book, allowing you to specifically identify their needs and make the best informed recommendations to their specific needs, as well as granting you the ability to wow them by overcoming any of their objections that may arise with skillful answers solving their exact problem backed by your expert product knowledge combined with your enthusiasm generated by your belief in your product and ability to make the customer feel first. When you maintain your connection with the person in the present, and make them feel heard, the natural progression is for them to want to know how you can help them solve their problems. And at this point, it’s easy to get a person to say yes.
We all know the importance of building rapport and creating trust in order to become more successful at making more sales. So, how do you do it? Perhaps you’ve heard of techniques like mirroring, where you position and gesture the same as them to get in sync with them. If you’ve tried this, you may have found it somewhat mechanical or contrived or possibly even manipulative. The main point to remember is that people want to connect with you. They crave a feeling of genuine connection because it is so rare today. All you need to do is to create a feeling of connection within yourself and people will be eager to connect with you to share that feeling. Whoa hey whoa, sounds like you may want to reread that last sentence. Today’s disconnected society, while sad, actually can work to our advantage when we create connections, and if we stop to think, when we create and share a connection with others, we offer something in limited supply with a growing demand.
The best way to stay present in a connection with someone is to stay in-tune with your feelings in your body. The feeling that you seek is that feeling you have when you are completely connected and on the same wavelength as the person you are with. You know the one, the one where you are so in-tune with each other that you feel like you can say or do no wrong. Adjust the position of your body; use it as a comfort-antenna of sorts to tune into that connected feeling. Adjust your posture, fine-tune your distance from between you and the other person, and even try to notice the depth of your breath until you get that comfortable feeling of connection with them. While no words are necessarily being exchanged yet, much is already being communicated non-verbally. With practice, you will just feel when it’s right and may even notice that they are mirroring you. This is because we humans are social creatures that crave connection and naturally seek rapport.
When we are truly present and tuned into our connection and rapport within ourselves, others will naturally be drawn to connect with it in us. This is the common thread between sales in any industry. Practice and learn to master creating a connection with rapport in your own body and people will get to know, like and trust you more quickly and easily. And naturally, your conversations will progress to sales.
What do you think? Do you have any sales, business or human relations tips to share? Let’s hear it. Thank you for sharing!
My girlfriend gets tired of my theories, so she and I both want to thank you all for this outlet! Stay tuned for more.
Trey Warme is a leading expert information systems infrastructure engineer. He is currently actively seeking new opportunities in technical sales engineering with fast-paced industry leading information systems management and security services providers to complement his advanced systems engineering skills. Trey provides professional information technology consulting services that harnesses the practical leadership abilities of an over 15-year cumulative immersion in progressively accountable direction of information technology infrastructure design and IT systems management. Contact Trey at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him directly @ 858-776-4172 and see his professional profile here at http://treywarme.com.
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