I was reading a blog article from Emyth tonight. The article really resonated with me because I have never believed in or pursued being a “hard salesman”. What I mean by “hard sales” is putting pressure on your clients to make a decision immediately, coercing them, or thinking of only what you get out of it whether or not it is in their best interest. Obviously, my definition is very subjective :-). Here’s part of the article.
Consider this rarely-appreciated notion: Sales is not about closing.
Closing is an old-school idea that may work for those hard-core salespeople, but it leaves everyone else feeling like everything that just happened was wrong.
Sales is about opening. It’s about facilitating prospects with care in opening up about what they really want and need. It’s about giving them room to feel what they’re really feeling. Of course, prospects want things like product knowledge, insight and solutions from the people they buy from. But, if you want your sales process to feel both meaningful and fun, and also maximize your lead to sale conversions, you have to learn how to give your prospects an opening experience.
My philosophy has always been that you don’t need to pressure people into working with you. If you make sure that you present yourself well, then it is up to them as to whether they want to work with you or not. What happens if you do pressure them into a sale when they weren’t ready or didn’t want to work with you? They will always, at least unconsciously, feel ill-used and mistrusting of you. They will also always be looking for ways to terminate the relationship and nit-pick everything that you do.
The alternative is a much more rosy picture – one that I would prefer any day of the week. What happens if someone is really excited to work with you and don’t feel pressured? They are excited and they see your relationship as a partnership. They trust your input, your expertise and your integrity. If they ever have an issue with you, they are more likely to discuss it with you in a level-headed manner and giving you the benefit of the doubt.
Here’s another way to look at it.
What if you built all of your clientele in a high-pressure, hard sell manner? You would always wonder when they are going to drop you and when they are going to realize how you took advantage of them. The emotional strain of doing business that way is not worth it, in my opinion. You’re always fighting and convincing and pressuring.
Now, what if you built all of your clientele by “opening” the relationship? You work as hard as you can making sure your presentation, elevator speech or whatever it is that you are using is top notch and genuine. You leave it up to them to decide. If they don’t decide, then you were probably not a good fit and you may not have had a good working relationship with them. If they do decide, you are starting on the right foot with positivity, trust and an actual relationship. Your new client understands that they are not just another number and immediately that gives them a sense of loyalty to you.
I don’t know about you but that is how I want to build my business.
When you’re just starting out or you’re struggling to get new clients, it is hard to turn down clients. But take it from me, getting more clients, who aren’t the right client, can actually harm your business rather than help it grow. Read my article on Red, Yellow and Green clients to learn more.
Let’s talk about one more thing before we end this discussion. What happens if “most” of your prospective clients don’t turn into real, paying customers? Then the problem is probably in your presentation, marketing or your business structure. We can help you with the first two, the second, I would recommend reading EMyth: Revisited. It is a great all-around book on making sure your business is at top-form. Let us know what you think once you’ve read it!