Ease the Stress: Tips for Those Who
Hate to Sell
A couple of years ago, I did my
De-Stress for Success session for an audience of CEOs at the American Bankers
Association’s Seminar for Presidents in Florida. Not surprisingly at that point,
the De-Stress session was becoming one of our most requested sessions. And of course
bank CEOs were having a particularly stressful time of it, no matter how great a job
they may have done running their organizations and avoiding the subprime mess.
After any De-Stress session, at the book signing, I get any number of stress
related questions. And this one was no different. But one CEO immediately
focused on a copy of my book, No Lie: Truth Is the Ultimate Sales Tool. He
started paging through it, seemingly engrossed while I signed books and
chatted with others about the particular stresses in their lives.
Then, after the crowd had
he lowered the book and said, “I’ve got the same stress about the financial
crisis that all the others do. But beyond all that, the thing that stresses me
out most may be that I’m a numbers guy in a people business. I know that in
today’s world, we’ve all got to be able to sell, no matter where we are in the
organization. But as the CEO, in many ways I need to be the bank’s salesperson
in chief. What suggestions would you offer a non-salesperson for improving
their sales skills?”
Since this is a question I’ve gotten at
leadership sessions, at
sessions, at communications sessions and now even at a stress management
session, here are my top five suggestions.
1. Customers are interested in businesses
that are interested in them. The questions you ask can be more powerful
than the assertions you make. Good question show concern, uncover hot
buttons and involve the customer in the process.
2. Too frequently businesspeople forget that
customers don't care about how great your business is. They care about what your
great business can do for them. Concentrate on the
What's-In-It-For-Them and the What's-In-It-For-You will usually take care of itself.
3. Never be afraid to sell.
will not kill you. The most successful salespeople are always the
salespeople who hear the most NOs. Start collecting your NOs as soon as
4. When you push against people they push
back. Great salespeople find ways of moving the customer in the
direction they need without pushing against him or her. One of my favorite
ways was probably best described by Mary Kay Ash, who said that the secret
to her success was that she simply treated everyone as if they had an
invisible sign around their necks that said, “Make me feel important.” The
brilliant psychologist, William James, insisted that “the greatest need of
the human soul is the need to feel important.” Yet as customers how
important do most companies make us feel?
5. Enjoy. It's not only the best
stress management tool there is, it’s the best sales tool. Make it fun for
yourself and you can make it fun for your customer. Make it fun for your
customer and you're halfway to where you need to go. If you can't ever have fun doing what you're doing, find something else to do.
None of that is part of De-Stress for Fun &
Profit. None of it is part of any of
our leadership sessions or our communication sessions or our management
sessions. But maybe it should be.
2009, Las Vegas, Nevada; Palm Springs, California
Motivational Speakers Are Less than Sufficient.
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