Selling is a people’s business. Period!
In order to sell effectively, you need to be extremely good at people’s skill. The very first step in increasing your skill in dealing with people is to properly understand their nature. Understanding them, and other elements of human nature in general means recognising people for what they are. Don’t box them into what you think they are, or what you want them to be.
The most important thing about dealing with people is to remember this: People are primarily interested in themselves, as you are primarily interested in yourself.
Come to think of it, it’s pretty much like gravity. Whether you believe it or not, when you are jumping off the rooftop of a building, you are subject to the law of gravity. If you recognise it and respect it, you will build a mechanism to work around it. Meaning, you will probably reach out to your parachute first to protect yourself before jumping off.
Why is it important to recognise this from the sales perspective?
You can have the best products in the world, with the best value for money proposition to offer, but if you are not interested in the person sitting in front of you, you will not be able to build trust. You will not be liked and respected. They just couldn’t connect with you, and if this happens it’s highly unlikely your sales won’t happen at all.
Our tendency is of self-interested is undeniable. Here is an example of how we are primarily interested in ourselves (even with the best intention):
The conversation mostly revolves around 3 main characters; I, me and myself. Before the other person finishes his sentences, you already mentally prepared your speech. You tend to forget about what the other person is talking about as soon as he finishes talking. Or worst, you simply cut his conversation short by interrupting him altogether.
This is also the very reason why active listening is one of the most challenging aspects of selling. It requires the listener to work against human nature, to temporarily detach from one’s self and focus fully on the speaker. Try role-playing this and you will find how easily you lose interest in the speaker and fall back to your own agenda. It is hard work and takes a lot of practice.
Let me recommend a way that I used to practise on this, and find success in improving my skill with people. Whenever you are with a group of people, friends or colleagues, observe the pattern. This works best when you are with your close friends. When your friend is sharing his story, observes how quickly another person will jump in to add his own experience. Most likely you find yourself tempted to cut in to tell your own similar story. That, my friend, is human nature at work. This is because your stories are always the more ‘interesting’ one.
Now try to resist yourself from doing that next time. Instead, ask questions to encourage the speaker to share more, by giving more details.
Over time, you will get used to this new habit. You will find that you become a likeable and respected person. You will slowly develop a positive persona whenever you are surrounded by people and friends. You are slowly becoming a human being.
And when this happens, your skill with people has greatly improved and this will directly correlate with your sales numbers. Congratulations!