Copyright (c) 2006 Mark Silver Heart Of Business http://www.heartofbusiness.com/
I remember two sales conversations I had with prospects, both of them several years ago. One was "successful" and one was "unsuccessful," meaning one person hired me, and the other person didn't. But, ultimately both were unsuccessful. How can a sale be unsuccessful?
When you make a sale to a new customer, whether it's for a $2000 service, or for a $15 product, you are beginning a new, and deeper, relationship with the one who buys. And, successful long-term relationships, which happen to be both the most satisfying and the most profitable, can only happen between equals.
My "unsuccessful" sale was easy to diagnose. I was in a needy place- I "needed" them to buy because my eye was on the bottom line- to put it frankly, I needed the money. And, obviously, they ran far away.
First lesson: don't bring your neediness to your prospects. But, when you are needy, how do you keep from doing that? Keep reading.
Now, with my "successful" sale, I did everything right. I said the right things, they liked what I said, we moved forward. Then the fun began.
As we began working together, this client wasn't following through with their commitments from our sessions. They had trouble making decisions for themselves. They wanted my advice on everything. It was not only exhausting for me, but as much as I wanted to, I just couldn't deliver all of what they wanted.
Although I got paid, I felt depleted, and they felt unsatisfied. What happened?
When I sat with the whole situation in my heart, I realized that the roots went back to the sales conversation. I had positioned myself as the "expert" who would take care of everything. And, that's what happened....
In both situations, an unequal relationship had been set up- either I was one up or one down, the prospect was either one down or one up.
A sale is an agreement. And a healthy, sustainable, functioning agreement can only happen between equals.
In order to reach a successful sale, where you and the person you are selling to feel taken care of and happy, you must be equals.
On the face of it, this doesn't seem to make sense- your prospect has a problem, and you have the solution. But, that's only half the story. For anyone in business, it's really obvious that you have a problem, too: Your business needs customers in order to thrive. So, in any sale, you have two people with needs, and two people with solutions to those needs. A meeting of equals.
Now, hold on, we're going to get even a little bit more subtle here. If you just see yourself as two people with needs serving each other, it's very easy to get attached to any particular prospect as the answer to your need. This is a common trap for business owners. It's a little more rare for a customer to get attached to a particular business as the solution to their need- they just look elsewhere.
So, how do you acknowledge the need you have, stay confident in offering your solution, and yet not get attached? Lots of people talk about not being needy on your prospects, but when you are needy, what then?
To be an equal, you need to acknowledge your own neediness, but without making your prospect the source of your help. They are only one possible channel. You also need to stand in your confidence, but not by making the prospect smaller than you. merely by acknowledging yourself as a potential channel for delivering help.
The only way I've found to consistently catch this balance is to find true humility. True humility is to bow to your prospect, both in the strength of being of service to them, and in the vulnerability of your need.
True humility is found in your heart. It is an incredibly powerful place to stand, it is incredibly effective for your sales process, and it feels great.
Actually, it feels more than great. It feels sacred.
Practical keys to How to be a Humble Equal... And Make the Sale
* The very first step is to acknowledge your own neediness. If your business needs more sales in order to thrive, acknowledge it. Drop the 'fake it 'til you make it' approach, and instead be gentle and compassionate with your heart as you allow yourself to feel needy for more money and more sales.
It probably feels terrible- that's okay, it's normal for it to feel terrible. It helps to breathe into your heart and remember that there is more available than you can see. Take the need out of the hands of your prospective customer, and place it into the hands of the Divine.
* The second step is to acknowledge what it's like to really know your stuff. Whatever your product or service, you are probably really good at it, despite any self-doubt you might have. Using the Remembrance, or other heart-centering practice, ask your heart to show you the reality of your expertise. My experience is that when my heart shows me my expertise, it doesn't inflate my ego, but brings me into an incredibly powerful feeling of humility. Try it, you'll like it.
* The third step is to use your heart to see your prospective customer as they really are, even before you have a conversation with them. With your attention resting in your heart, ask to be shown the truth of who your prospect is, of their heart, and what they really need. Let yourself be willing to be surprised.
These simple steps may take some practice, but if you allow yourself to slow down and go through them before your sales conversations, you will find yourself in a space of just wanting to serve, and, in the process, closing more sales.
My very best to you and your business,
Mark Silver is the author of Unveiling the Heart of Your Business: How Money, Marketing and Sales can Deepen Your Heart, Heal the World, and Still Add to Your Bottom Line. He has helped hundreds of small business owners around the globe succeed in business without losing their hearts. Get three free chapters of the book online: http://www.heartofbusiness.com
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