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- Should A Real Estate Investor Get An Agent’s License?
- 5 Big Factors That Affect The Costs Of Renovating Your Home
- SIBOR Hike – What You Can Do With Your Current Loan
- 6 Basic Don’ts Of Real Estate Negotiation Tactics
- Will New Condo Relaunches Trigger The Great Property Sale We Have All Been Waiting For?
- 10 Proximity Amenities That Add Value To Real Estate
- How To Get Personal Loans More Easily With Good Credit
6 Ways To Position Yourself As Not Just A Salesperson
When I first started my career in sales, I felt somewhat uncomfortable in calling myself a salesperson.
The reason is that whenever the invisible “sales” label is stamped on your forehead, people tend to form certain types of perception about you. And they can’t stop themselves from doing so.
Because while most people spend their time in the office surfing the internet and collect a hefty pay check, salespeople are out there doing the unglamorous “hard labor”. And they don’t get paid that well for all that hustling when they get average results.
And when you go to social gatherings, saying that you are in “sales” does not imply that you are doing well for yourself against something like a lawyer or architect.
In all likelihood, your friends are going to assume that you have just started out to be in such a “low level”.
After all, 8% of salespeople generate up to 90% of total sales in a company. Your friends would think that the odds of you belonging in that elite category are slim at best.
But enough about them 😀
This perception of being a regular salesman disguised as a real estate agent can greatly affect your success rate in closing. This is especially so when you are selling big ticket items.
If we take B2B sales for example, how much leverage are you going to get when the business owner or decision maker sees you as just another sales guy trying to make a buck out of them?
Unlike low priced expendable and consumable products that consumers are able to make an instant buying decision, big ticket sales tend to take time to convince, cajole and close.
This extended time allows the buyer to know you a little. And how you position yourself can be the difference between how receptive and unreceptive they are to your products and services.
Ideally, you want to position yourself as more than just a salesperson.
Many words have been thrown around in sales circles as to where to position yourself.
Some of the common ones include:
But that’s not kid yourself. Any of those above are fine… as long as you are not tagged as a salesperson.
I have tried everything. Want to know where I position myself? I will reveal it at the end of this article. It’s not in the list above.
The thing is… what a prospect sees you as depends on how he defines each word. And as long as you scramble his perception enough to avoid landing on the dreaded “sales” bracket, you could land on any of the above in the list.
So the obvious question now is how to be not just a salesperson?
1) Have an opinion
I literally tear my hair out whenever a salesperson answers simple questions like a politician.
I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. If not, just drop in with the mortgage brokers and ask if it’s a good time to take up a home equity loan even though you have no use for the cash.
The answer would be obvious. But sit back and watch how this question will be tackled like an accomplished politician in action.
The sad part is that most salespeople are so fixated in pushing towards their individual quotas, they have little problem avoiding the obvious (that jeopardizes the sale) and attempt to stand on neutral ground.
The underlying fear is that any opinion they might share could turn a sale one way or another. And since there is no certainty of where a prospect might turn, they shift into neutral gear.
This is a total turn off. At least for me.
And it’s a clear sign that that someone is just a salesman with no personal opinion.
You can easily avoid this dealbreaker by stating what you think.
Your opinion seldom determines the outcome of a buying decision unless you truly have an inside scoop only meant for Top Secret access.
Buyers are just fishing for more information so as to make a more informed decision. By failing to provide any personal inputs, you don’t add value at all to the relationship.
2) Advise prospects not to buy
This probably goes against the grain of everything you were taught in selling school.
But this is undoubtedly the easiest way to build trust. And greatly enhances your chances of securing a sale later down the pipeline.
If we are talking about methods to short circuit a prospect’s perception of you, this can be absolutely shocking to him.
Because it’s the last thing a buyer expects from a salesperson.
Firstly, this technique instantly earns respect with a heavy dose of professionalism.
Secondly, it implies to prospects that you are closing so many deals that you have no qualms with losing 1 sale. You are not desperate to sell and must be one of the top guys in the agency or sales team.
It’s the psychology of selling in action. Personified.
In fact, this is maybe the best response you can conjure when you find that you have absolutely no chance of closing because the prospect:
- Has no immediate need to buy a home until a much later date
- Knows about your hateful competitor who is not only cheaper but better as well
- Is negotiating for a price that is impossible to meet
- Will not benefit from the purchase and will clearly be worst off
Home buyers are consumers and they are not stupid.
Very often, people act like they don’t know anything so as to learn about a product with an open mind. But with this guilelessness they present, shrewd salespeople can make the grave mistake of underestimating their prospects.
And with the internet these days, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to find information that exposes the lies a salesman tell.
When a sale cannot be close in the short term, the next best option is to keep it in the pipeline.
This is why during such instances, you should…
3) Stop selling
A funny thing happens when you stop selling entirely.
No more stealthy sales pitches hidden behind hypothetical case studies, no more maneuvering from passive to assertive, and no more pretending to listen and offering your product as a solution.
When you make the decision to stop selling and treat your encounter as an interaction, you start to:
- actually listen to what the prospect has to say
- be more informal in communication
- put less emphasis on the outcome
- eliminate awkward tongue twisting moments while trying to close
The energy you give off when getting into these interactions creates the magic that makes prospects view you differently… leading to them responding to you differently…
Suddenly, you become more of a friendly adviser instead of a salesperson.
The beauty is that if you truly have a great product that the prospect needs, half the time, he will close himself if you just stop selling.
4) Follow up with updates
It used to be such a hassle to follow up with prospects. But with the technology available these days, not following up is no longer an excuse for salespeople.
People seldom buy on the first meeting for services costing hundreds to thousands of dollars. For purchases of significant value such as property, consumers usually spend some time researching the market before purchase.
This means that on the first meet up with you, the prospect could still be in a research phase. This is when you have to follow up on a consistent basis to your yourself in the mind of the prospect.
At the same time, asking him to buy all the time can make you a really annoying salesperson.
To avoid falling into this stereo type, use your follow ups as a chance to update the customer on what is happening in the particular market.
This keeps you in their minds, and provides more information for their research.
It positions you as an expert who is up-to-date with the latest happenings in the industry. It also makes you look like someone who is passionate about what you do.
This simple strategy of following up have kept customers on my side for years while churning out repetitive sales continuously. And with referrals to boost!
The investment market for example is a great market to use this method.
People are always seeking share price updates, keen to learn about new products like ETF and binary trades, receptive to information about industries they have invested in, etc. You can easily send out follow ups to a mass audience on a weekly basis.
Look into technologies like:
- Email marketing
- SMS marketing
- Mobile applications
- Social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc
- And even the classic phone calls if you like
5) Know your competition
One of the strongest ways to display yourself as a specialist in a niche market is to know exactly what your competitors are offering.
I’m unable to count the number of times customers praised me for knowing their options or what they are currently using to the exact detail.
Seeing how effective this is in positioning, I often bait prospects to reveal information whereby I would get a chance to showcase my competitor knowledge.
For example, if you are an insurance salesman, just ask what insurance the prospect is currently on. And when he reveals it, cut in and say how much premium he is probably paying based on his age.
Prospects will often be astounded by how knowledgeable you are… making you an instant veteran in the market. Of course… you will have to really know the market to execute this technique.
Anyway, even if you are wrong, no harm will be done to your reputation. But when you are right, you will make an instant impact on a prospect’s perception of you.
It takes just 2 seconds to apply this technique.
6) Warn them sternly about mistakes
I learned this from an encounter years ago.
A customer was deep into the legal process of a deal I was brokering. And he started giving the process less respect than it deserved.
Documents for submission were missing, deadlines were not met, and to make it even worst, the stakeholders were finding him difficult to reach.
I knew he wanted to deal. I knew he would reap the rewards for closing. And I knew his behavior can send everything down the drain.
So I promptly called him and asked what was going on. He admitted that he had his eyes off the ball.
My passion must have gotten over me. Because I proceeded to warn him sternly about the repercussions he might face if he screwed up the legal side of things on the deal. Immediately after I gave my warning, I realized how authoritative I sounded. It was as if I was the discipline master in school.
No longer was I just a salesperson. I am now the sergeant guiding new recruits down the obstacle course.
The client “woke up” immediately and went to work on correcting his mistakes.
The response I got was unexpected. You’d instinctively think that client would look at you and think “Who do you think you are”. But what I got was near complete compliance.
Here’s a stern warning to you on using this technique: Only use it when your client have truly made a big mistake.
Using it too many times on a same customer will invoke the feeling of you crying wolf and defeat the purpose of it.
What does all these mean?
Militaries don’t send stealth aircrafts into enemy territories just so they can test their equipment. There is always a mission objective.
Your prospects are not your enemies. But while you go under the radar to build relationships with your prospects, don’t forget that you objective is to make not just 1, but repetitive sales from them. And referrals too.
These come from building real relationships with the very people helping you to meet those pesky sales quotas your managers have set for you.
I have found my sweet spot as being positioned as a “Person”.
This positioning to skew the perception of who you really are requires 2 factors.
- What you want to be
- Your ability to play that role
This means that where you position yourself and what works best for you have to be determined by yourself.
By positioning yourself as more than just a salesperson, you are already ahead of 90% of other salespeople who are your competitors, including the colleagues sharing the same office as you.
And as we all know, your fiercest competitors are often the very people you see each day at the workplace.