Sales 101: Stop talking yourself out of a sale
At high performing agencies, sales functions are not an island inhabited by a select few. Every staff member plays an important role in furthering your brand and selling your organization. While your designated sales staff might be your primary sales ambassadors, your customer service reps are your secret weapon. Good service includes using one's expertise to solve customer problems and anticipate customer needs: in other words, selling.
Many service reps have a natural flair for helping clients, but bristle at the term "sales" as if it implies talking people into things they don't want or need. Nothing could be further from the truth! We sometimes forget - we are experts on a potentially confusing financial area and that is why people turn to us for help. Reframe "sales" as "service" and be confident in your expertise when you talk to current and prospective customers.
One of the key myths about sales that many novices have is that they think selling is about talking, presenting and persuading rather than about listening and asking the right questions. Any veteran producer will tell you - sales rookies talk too much. In Selling Power, sales guru Gerhard Gschwandtner talks about Why Sales Reps Talk Too Much. He offers seven of the most common reasons, ranging from lack of a road map and failure to prepare to stress an ineffective thinking. He shows how most of these can be addressed with recognition and a little planning.
Adam Honig talks about the importance of learning to get comfortable with and embrace silence in his post 5 Reasons Why Salespeople Should Stop Talking Immediately at the Spiro Blog. All his points are good, but we particularly like #4: You’ll stop sounding like a salesperson:
We’ve written about why you should stop sounding like a salesperson before (because it doesn’t work), and learning to listen better will help you get there. The public thinks the stereotypical salesperson is fast-talking, pushy, and only cares about closing deals. The best way to counter that narrative is to do the exact opposite. Listen twice as much as you speak, make the prospect feel important and listened to, and when it comes time to close the deal you will both feel like you’ve arrived at an agreement together.