Why is mindset so crucial to your Sales Success in 2022 ?
In the last article on sales mindsets, I talked lot about the structure and strategy of selling as a service . And the emphasis was on the step by step process from lead generation to appointments for presentations and closing then follow-up.
Now I want to go back to mindset and language in these next few articles on sales in 2022. It is time to take another perspective and update or modernize ourselves for the times. So with that being said… time to make a change !
Now I know …for most of us…normally if we try to change our behavior without first shifting our thinking, we’ll eventually slip back into our old habits. That is a huge statement…if I only could be more aware of this aspect when I starting a work from online business…
This is exactly what I was facing starting a work from home business without a real plan or any organizational framework plus a lack of computer skills. Wow ! Not a good idea.
Since I was relatively new , I had to use a script that was pre -determined so it was difficult to discover the truth of my potential client’s situation when I sounded a little canned or stiff in normal conversations.
Potential clients sense immediately that you’re not 100 per cent focused on their world, and your inattention triggers the suspicion that you are reading from a script.
What I try to do is imagine both of us together determining, as a team … whether it makes sense to continue any further discussions, or whether you should just conclude your conversation comfortably, knowing that you’ve made a new connection and that you can contact that person again sometime in the future with other offers that fit.
Since discovering a better trust based method of selling …I have set new goals for Cold -Sales Calls and Gatekeepers. I try to focus on simply opening the conversation rather than trying to control it. This way prospects will feel comfortable telling you the truth about their situation.
My new phone manner is to say , in a very relaxed, casual tone of voice, ‘Hi… My name is…Ron. Now I know that we’ve never met… but I was hoping you could maybe help me out for a moment?’
‘Maybe you can help me out?’ I use this phrase. It works well to start the conversation and you can use it with anyone you meet and deal with – gatekeepers, assistants, and even decision makers as well.
Next focus on one compelling, specific problem.
Your mission with this sales mindset is to get to the truth of your potential client’s situation. When objections surface… instead of trying to overcome objections, you need to diffuse them.
Objections are a defensive mechanism that potential clients use to protect themselves from people who are operating from the older traditional sales mindset of focusing solely on making a sale.
The old concept of selling – the negative “sales” stereotype – is still so widespread, that the responsibility is on you to help your potential clients overcome their suspicion.
I try to diffuse any tension that may be hidden beneath the surface, so I need to be sensitive to any defensiveness that this potential client may be feeling.’ When someone has an objection that I already know is solvable…, I like to say …
“That’s not a problem.”
Wait ?! What?!-That’s not a problem…? ….is probably the last thing potential clients would expect you to say, based on their experience with the traditional sales trained professional. They’re probably expecting you to respond by trying to overcome their objection.
Normally they will be surprised because you’re not following the traditional sales behaviors. They may also feel surprised because you’ve not even tried to defend their objection. But both you and the prospect will feel a sense of relief … because you haven’t had to “handle” or “confront” the objection.
“Confrontation often makes trust evaporate and dissipates any relationship that you might have begun to establish.“
You see I have the sales mindset that is always trying to get to the truth – in this case, the truth of the objection – so that the two of us can come to a mutual conclusion about whether we’re a match.
Some potential clients may think that “That’s not a problem” is yet another artificial script, canned phrase, or sales tactic designed to meet a hidden agenda of moving them in the direction of a “close.” For that reason, it’s crucial that you understand the psychology and reasons behind this simple phrase. “That’s not a problem” is really a bridge. It gives you and your potential client a connection that lets you continue the dialogue. It makes it less likely that your conversation will come to a halt. Then by diffusing pressure during the conversation you have opened the door by asking for help… and then segued into their core issue, the person might then say…
‘Who is this?’ or ‘What’s this about?’ Notice that you’ve gotten rid of the usual initial pressure that starts with “the first words out of your mouth when you automatically start to defend an objection.” Instead, the two of you are embarking on a more open dialogue.
This is the point that it’s perfectly fine and very appropriate to describe what your business focuses on and how working together we can solve that problem and objection. Quickly relate why your business is unique. However, you must keep it brief. Also relate it back, as soon as you can, to the problems that you can help them solve. What you don’t want to do is shift back into traditional selling mode and give a mini-presentation about what you have to offer. You simply say who you are and where you’re from, and then you go back to the other person’s world and focus again on the original issues or concerns they have. Also, I see if I can isolate the objection by asking … “ is that the only concern you have ? is there anything else stopping you from getting started ?
“DO NOT USETHE WORD OBJECTION …USE CONCERN.”
Ask if they’re open minded as far as looking at some new ideas around how to solve that issue or problem.
People will either start to relax and will enter into a further dialogue with you, or they’ll raise an objection because they may still feel that you’re trying to sell them something. Keep in mind that, with this sales mindset, you don’t even know whether you can help potential clients until you’ve determined together that the problem you’ve brought up is a problem that they want to solve.
If the prospect says…”We already have help with that,” it could be a signal that the person you’re speaking with is feeling some kind of sales pressure and is using the objection as a defense-mechanism response.
If that’s the case, then I say that ” I apologize if I gave you the impression that I’m trying to have you commit to anything. I’m not. In fact, I really don’t know if I can even help you.
So, It just depends if the issue is something that you and your organization deem as a priority in the business, or if it’s something you’d have an open mind about looking at the issue from a different perspective?’”
See by apologizing, you’re taking the first step to diffuse any tension that your potential client might be feeling, because most people have received so many calls from salespeople who use the traditional sales mindset that they’re conditioned to responding in a defensive manner. The message you want to convey again is, ‘I’m not trying to persuade you, but I would like to know if you’d be open to looking at this from a new perspective.’
Your goal is always to diffuse any sales tension. You deal directly and immediately with the pressure your potential clients are obviously starting to feel. So energy stays positive since your not defending.
Help them to understand that your thoughts and goals are not focused on selling them anything at all.
Now at this point…since meeting with the prospect…I have stated the problem twice and asked if they’d be “open” twice. This is certainly enough opportunity for your potential client to start feeling that I am not associated with the negative “salesperson” stereotype.
What I am really doing is clearly conveying that I am a problem solver. The two of us may then continue our conversation along the lines of a mutual exchange of information that explores whether there’s a possibility that the two of us might work together.
I am also going beyond it… to suggest more conversation about their situation that may spark a connection between the two of us.
You can circle back to the objection to determine whether the objection is authentic so you can then decide whether it makes sense to continue your conversation.
That way you can politely disengage from potential clients who aren’t willing to have a relaxed, respectful conversation.
So applying a more relaxed sales mindset helps you to end the game of chasing people who don’t intend to buy from you anyway. So you’re free to build trusting relationships with other potential clients who do have problems they would like you to solve.
Most of the time at the end of a good initial conversation, you might provide some room for the conversation to go its natural way by simply asking, in a very open-ended, unpressured way, How do you feel about the possibilities ?
Can you see yourself doing this ? If it is positive and good then I ask…‘Where do you think we should go from here?’
That is one of my best questions…that many times leads to the prospect asking ” How do I get started ??
Then I lead by saying…” if it makes sense to you then let’s get you enrolled . I can walk you through if you would like ?
Make it simple and easy.
Trust-based language diffuses any inherent pressure and gives the other person the message that your thoughts are totally laser focused on an objective of solving their problem. At this point… you’re simply asking how they’re feeling so far and where they want to go next. Their response will tell you whether the two of you have really created trust.
Instead of moving a potential client toward a “yes” or a “no,” you’re simply talking about the possibility of doing, or not doing, something together.
Problem-solving versus providing solutions… instead of putting ourselves 100 per cent in the world of our potential clients, we try to build a bridge to their world by describing benefits and solutions. We can’t help it.
It’s second nature for a people in sales. The problem arises when you offer your solutions “before potential clients feel comfortable” …enough to share their true issues with you… which triggers the negative “salesperson stereotype.
The key is to begin viewing yourself as someone who solves problems instead of someone who’s selling a service. If you start from that frame of reference, you’ll find it easy to let go of relying on your offering as a way of entering into a dialogue with potential clients.
What the person sees is you shift your focus away from the solutions that you have to offer and toward the world of the people you’re speaking with. So they’ll feel more connected to you, and you to them, plus this will allow trust to develop. Offering your solution should never become the main focus of discussion until you and your potential clients agree that they have problems that your product or service might help to solve.
The reason why linear-based models can trigger mistrust is that if you begin a relationship with someone by thinking that you must move him or her forward down your linear, step-by-step sales process … part of you will always be distracted and worried that if you don’t follow each step, then you’re not doing your job and you may fail. When you disconnect from your potential client’s world in that way, you subconsciously begin communicating, through your words, your tone of voice, and even your body language, that your hidden agenda is … to make a sale.
So many sales consultants have been trained in structured and linear sales models. Many potential clients are familiar with these approaches. They can tell when someone is trying to guide them down a path they may not be ready for, and they react with immediate suspicion and mistrust. This mistrust can occur in a split second; it occurs the moment their intuition tells them that although you seem on the surface to be interested in their problems and issues, you’re actually leading the discussion toward a close.
This is a very subtle form of manipulation that we engage in because we’re afraid that, if we don’t lead them down the path we create, we might lose the sale. With the new client centered sales mindset, you never feel forced to “pull” someone along or to create the image that you’re truly sincere. If you don’t have any hidden agendas, and if you’re willing to dedicate yourself to really understanding your potential clients’ true core problems, you’ll see that there’s never any need to create artificial forward momentum.
People will trust you enough to create their own path of how they would best like to work with you. At that point, you can begin to work in partnership.
Never assume that you have all the answers or solutions.
It’s important not to assume that you are a fit to work together until you have actually had a deep conversation and you understand the truth of the situation.
Talking fast or speaking quickly is what I did in the beginning… and many consultants still unconsciously speak quickly ,out of nervousness and an attempt to create a false sense of familiarity with potential prospects.
“It is extremely important to be low-key, calm, and deliberate when conversing with clients.”
Avoid phrases like, ‘How you doing today?’ and saying “you know?” Over and over…sometimes I hear every other phrase or the word” like this…like that … and other slang- not a great idea. Asking how someone is doing is one thing if it is someone you know or if it is your friend talking to you. But it is an entirely different thing when it is a salesperson on the phone who’s not friends with you personally. This false familiarity is a major trigger that causes people to put you in the salesperson stereo-type category immediately.
Humanizing the sales process and adopting a low-key, humble approach, you will find that people respond to you differently, and begin to trust you earlier in the relationship.
Totally embrace the fact that when you are speaking to a potential client, you are only there to get to the truth of their situation and not to try to move the client down to the next step in a linear sales path. Remember, if you do or say something that causes sales pressure, you won’t get to the truth. And you may lose a potential client.
For example, many business owners assume that if they get an inbound call, email, or website inquiry, that the person contacting them is a serious buyer. However, if you have no previous relationship then…inbound calls are similar to outbound calls. When I receive inbound calls from potential leads…I start with wondering whether it might make sense if we understand the exact issues they’re trying to solve here so we can really help each other determine if we’re a good fit.
Now, I want to be sensitive to your particular issues so that we can decide together whether we can specifically help you.
Remember, your goal is getting to the truth of whether you can help the person or not. That way you can step away from the conversation feeling confident, centered and avoid any possibility of feeling that you are losing the opportunity.
And that’s the way you eliminate rejection – by setting your expectations to a level of humbleness where you acknowledge the reality: ” you don’t yet know whether there will be a next step or not.“
In deciding whether you are a fit or not …in any conversation, it’s important to always begin by focusing on your potential clients’ potential problems.
Not your company, not your service, not your experience. Why? Because the process has to be a two-way communication –street… a mutual exploration, carried out in conversation, in which both of you figure out whether you have a fit or not. In that sense, you’re each “qualifying” each other.
I prefer to talk about “determining a fit” or “seeing if we’re a match for each other” because this simple wording emphasizes the connection between us, whereas the very term “qualifying” has a mechanical, impersonal feel to it.
What we try to do is share a relaxed conversation rather than ask a pressure-filled series of probing questions. You don’t start out assuming that the person you are speaking with is a fit with you. Your only purpose in your conversation is to make clear to them that you aren’t sure you have a match, yet.
Instead of peppering the conversation with a series of needs-based questions, you simply engage them in a conversation about the truth of their situation.
Keep in mind that you can’t determine whether you have a fit or not if potential clients do not tell you the truth of their situation.
So it’s helpful to have some specifics in mind ,that you can focus on ,to help you both decide whether you have a match.
Most of these will come up easily and naturally in the conversation, without any need for you to probe with questions,
You won’t even know whether it’s appropriate for you to help them until you’ve learned their truth about: 5 things.
1. The issue. Do they have a problem or issue that you can solve? Are they open minded to the possibility of solving it, and to new ways of solving it?
2. Their priorities. Is solving the problem one of their top three priorities? Is solving it something they could do or should do – or is it an absolute must?
3. Money. Do they have the budget to move forward?
4. Timeframe. When will they be ready to solve the problem?
5. Decision-making. Does the person you’re talking with have the power to make the decision to solve the problem? Once you’ve identified that they’re facing a problem that you might be able to help them with, you can explore other facets of the issues.
“Until you’re both clear that you can help them – keep excitement on your part under check…it is inappropriate because they’re going to think, based on their past experience with people who sell, that you’re excited about making the sale. And if they sense that, it’s over.”
Let go of that hope. And instead … simply be open to all possibilities. You want to spend your time talking only to the people that you can help … going right to their potential problem or issue – never to your solution first.
So If they don’t have a problem or something they want to solve, then there won’t be a fit.
But…If they say, ‘I’m open to exploring that,’ … then, it makes sense to continue with the conversation.
But if they say, ‘No, I’m not open,’ that’s fine too. Just politely end the conversation.
- You save time and energy. You stop wasting time on leads that will never work out. You find yourself spending almost all your time with potential clients who will be a fit
- You get closure and can move on. When you don’t have a match, you feel free to walk away.
- You have a feeling of enhanced confidence and self-esteem. You feel less needy and desperate because you’re no longer hooked on “ I sure hope they buy”
- Instead, you’re grounded in the truth and you know where you stand.
Countless hours and millions of dollars are spent every year on teaching people how to sell via direct communication on the phone or face-to-face, but little attention has been given to how we communicate with potential clients in writing, primarily using e-mail.
E-mail communication is simply text that we send to someone else, which is void of any real human connection, so that many consultants have adopted it because it means they don’t have to call someone new and try to build a relationship. Of course the reasoning is because they say that they think it is more effective in delivering the message. Ie (better than personally connecting and conveying the message)- I think it’s laziness.
Asking for consulting business from people you don’t know is a kind of one-way electronic cold call. It’s also the ultimate way to avoid potential rejection. People who sell can simply hit “send” and forget about it. Meanwhile, those e-mails go out to potential new clients who receive them, read them, and hit “delete.”
If these emails are written using the traditional sales mindset in a manner that comes across as “pushing a solution” and presumptuous that you can help the recipient, the association is most likely to be even more negative. ( Even if they were interested and you could help) How aware are we of the effects of our e-mails on potential clients ??, and not just initial e-mails designed to trigger a response, but also those we send during the sales process, after we’ve actually met or spoken with potential clients?
You may find yourself reviewing your recent e-mails to potential clients and realizing that they’re heavily weighted toward discussing you and your solution, instead of your clients and their issues or problems.
Focusing on the problems that you can help your potential clients with should be the foundation that underlies
everything you write. Since the only reason you’re communicating is to uncover the truth of their situation, so you can jointly identify whether they have problems they want to solve and whether you can help solve them.
Writing that embodies a foregone conclusion – which is a conviction that your solution can help the recipient before you’ve built up any trust is not a great idea because for a potential client to feel comfortable and tell you the truth of their specific situation,… trust has to come first.
Here is a good opener...Dear Ron, Not sure if you can help me, but thought you could possibly point me in the right direction…regarding-xxx
This email gives the reader a chance to either tell the sender that he has reached the right person or to refer him on to someone else. Would you happen to know who in your organization would be responsible for team productivity issues related to improved performance in your company? You see rather than offering solutions, the writer is addressing some very real problems and issues that may exist in the reader’s company. In other words, the e-mail is about the receiver, not the sender.
Then , next sentence -Any help you could provide would be very graciously appreciated.
This statement expresses the warmth of the writer’s gratitude in advance.
Warmest regards, the warmth of this closing humanizes the whole message.
Jack Smith- Managing Director ACME Marketing
How do you think you would react if you received this revised e-mail?… better than average for sure.
Ten Guiding Principles To Trust-based Selling
These ten principles are your guide to trust-based selling.
Adopt them and you will transform your business as well as your personal life.
1) I will shift my mindset away from “making the sale” and towards the truth of whether the sale exists or not. By going for the truth of what my client is thinking and whether we are really a fit or not, shows respect to the other person because I’m not assuming they should do business with me… and that leads to finding the most qualified clients of all.
2) I will build trust with my prospect as my primary goal. Creating genuine trust is the essence of building real relationships and real relationships turn into more sales.
3) I will be a problem solver instead of a “sales pitch” person. By focusing on the problems that your prospects have instead of your solution, you make the conversation about them, and not about you.
4) I will diffuse any pressure that I sense in the sales process. By diffusing the tension and pressure in the sales process between you and your potential client, you bring both of you closer to an honest and truthful conversation.
5) I recognize the sale is lost at the beginning of the sales process and not the end. By being keenly aware of the sensitivity of the first few moments when you first interact with a potential client, you’ll be able to adjust your mindset and behavior so you stay in the present moment rather than constantly thinking of “moving forward.”
6) I will change my language away from “sales speak” to natural language that connects with people. By using phrases such as “would you be open minded about …” instead of “would you be interested,” you immediately set yourself apart as someone who is patient, open-minded and willing to listen.
7) I will do everything possible to stop “chasing” prospects so that I can preserve my dignity. By creating an open “pressure free” environment with your potential clients, you set the tone of equality so that you both respect each other and your prospect can treat you as a human being instead of as a “salesperson”.
8) I will understand my client’s problems so that they feel “understood” by me. A deep understanding of the problems that your prospects experience every day, will make it easier for you to know and care about their true situation.
9) I will focus on my ability to connect with my prospects rather than my speed of qualifying them through the sales process. By focusing on your ability to make a true connection with each prospect you interact with, you’ll get better at staying in the “present moment” so they know they can trust you.
10) I will use the new client centered sales mindset in both my business and personal life because relationships are the same in both worlds. By also applying the principle of this mindset in your personal life, with people you care about, you’ll begin to see a deeper trust being built that can strengthen your relationship.
If you have read this far you are somebody that cares…I commend you….you my friend are one of the few the rare –
10 percenters. The rest only like to read a few bullet points
Until next time – remember to stay focused on being “client centered” and that you make sure that you are not lazy about learning. We are here to serve and help each other ….that’s why I believe that…
” Selling is a Service ” !
If you’re just getting started in business why not find out what your unique entrepreneur type is…
Take the FREE 5 Minute Entrepreneur Type Quiz– Get a Downloadable PDF Report
Get A DEMO and Strategy Session -on the house if you already have a business.
We can show you how to free up your time by using automated marketing software !
Pick any open time here on my calendar.
Let’s talk https://ronhaslam.com/Zoom