Why You Can’t Sell

When you are selling something, anything, the most important principle of all is that you believe you genuinely have a valuable proposition for your customer or client. If you don’t believe in the product you are selling, then why on earth would anyone else?

However, in this post I am going to answer a question which many salespeople and managers ask themselves on a daily basis; why on earth aren’t anyone biting on my pitch?

The Issue of a Perceived Sale

If you read my previous blog post from earlier this year where I go through how perception is everything you’ll know how I’ve just scratched the surface of why it’s more important how someone perceives something you say or do, rather than what you actually try to say or do. This is the short lesson of today’s post as well; no matter how you pitch your proposition to a cold customer, as long as their perception is telling you they are being sold to, chances are you’ll lose the sale.

So What if Someone Realizes I’m Selling?

Good question! Think of it this way, as I’ve said before in my introduction to selling anything to anyone, the art of selling is making a certain impression. To create the sense of value you need to close a sale, you need to convey a certain impression to your customer. Because each customer is different, you will essentially need to manipulate in order to sell efficiently. Though a harsh reality, it’s something which is important and helpful to be aware of when you are selling.

What happens when someone is aware you are selling to them is they feel as though you are trying to manipulate them and their guard comes up. Closing a sale requires trust, and more often than not that requires you to take other routes than the script your manager has put in front of you.

How Someone Perceives you are Selling to Them

The idea is simple; if someone’s perception of what constitutes a sale is aligned with your process of selling something, then they will experience your method as selling. However, if your sales process steers clear of your target’s idea of what “selling” is, then your chances of building trust, offering something of value and closing a sale skyrocket!

This requires a different way of selling to different kinds of people. Yet another reason why sales scripts are a bad idea. Write the main points down which you want to get across in a call or a meeting, and then feel out your customer and figure out the best way for each particular target to realize the value of what it is you are selling, and what good it would do them.

If you have any questions or topics you would like me to write about, please do let me know from the Contact Us page or in the comment section below.

 

Answering Questions vs Being Questioned

We’ve all been there. Found ourselves in a moment of complete distrust, when you realize someone is not asking questions to learn, they’re asking questions to prove you don’t know what you’re talking about. More often than not, someone who’s an expert in their field will be able to get out of this corner at which they’ve been forcefully pushed into. However, you’ll never have the same respect for whoever put you there again. This is why, if you’re a consultant of any kind, you should not accept someone putting you there, and if you plan to ever hire a consultant in the future, you need to avoid putting anyone in that corner. I’ll gladly tell you why.

To you as an expert

You are a proclaimed (whether through yourself or others) expert in your field. Your input is what helps companies progress and grow as an entity, whether it’s their social media strategy or where to manufacture their hardware. They’ve reached out to you, because they have acknowledged that some advice is needed in order to best help some part of their business.

You’ve agreed to help them and they pay the charge necessary in order to acquire your services. As you set to work, you’ll undoubtedly have the manager of whichever department requested outside help hanging over to make sure the expense for hiring you is justified. This is when you start getting questions and get into the key of this post. You need to quickly determine whether the questions are educational or simply destructive.

If someone starts questioning your abilities with no reason for doing so, I see it as a direct insult. The moment you start questioning my abilities, maybe even before I get to work, you are either trying to tell me you’re better off doing it yourself (which makes no sense having just hired me), or that you off the bat think I’m no good for the job ahead. Here are some signs you are having your abilities questioned:

Your manager is not the one who hired you

Alright, this might sound a bit far-fetched, but just imagine this. You are the social media manager of a company. During a quarterly meeting the CMO decides he wants better results on the social media front and decides you need outside help. As I am sure you can imagine, there are certainly some out there who would take it as an insult, rather than an opportunity to learn and improve. Thus, when the consultant comes in, many in the social media manager’s position tend to start questioning them with the sole purpose of trying to come out on top (which just about never happens by the way, so don’t embarrass yourself in front of your company).

Questions are not focused around a relevant topic

This is one to look out for. You’ll notice this if someone starts asking questions, they look for the first question which receives an “uhm…” The moment they hear this, they’ll dig deeper into whatever that question revolved around, which may not have anything to do with the topic you’re actually discussing, as again, the purpose is to boost someone’s ego, rather than staying productive and on schedule.

They think they’re ahead of you

I know you’ve experienced this one. You’re working on something as the foremost expert and someone says “Well you might want to try this…” They say it boldly, with a bit of a snicker, making sure everyone around heard it. Though in your mind you’re thinking “I was about to get to that.” They knew you were… But now, you can’t say that because it looks like you’re following their advice, and you can’t tell him no, because you have to do it. They’re simply out to boost themselves and get the best of you in the process.

What to do if you’re being questioned

If you notice any of the signs, or just know someone is out to get you, rather than help you with the job you are doing, you need to stop it. If you let it go on, you will get frustrated and execute your job in a worse manner than before, which will prove them right for questioning you, which wouldn’t have happened had they not questioned you, and so on… Yea, it’s a real catch 22!

You can’t blow up or get angry. You need to assert yourself early on. If someone tries to be tough or funny, while talking down to you in the process, cut their lifeline as early as possible. Be firm, let them know who’s the expert and don’t be afraid to let them have it, as long as you remain professional. If the questioning passed to borderline offensive, then you go directly to the person above them and let them know you’re no longer interested in working with them if this keeps up. Trust me, no company will tell you to get out. They will apologize and deal with the problem internally, where chances are, you won’t be bothered again. No one wants the reputation of failing to operate something both internally AND externally through a consultant.

Summary

Alright, maybe I am a little harsh, or a bit biased… but I regret nothing. Having someone ask questions about what you’re doing, how you’re doing it and why can be a great thing. It can be motivating and you’re ability to provide excellent replies will greatly help your reputation. Not to mention, the best way to learn is teaching others. It will build and bring your confidence to a whole new level.

This is why, when someone starts questioning your knowledge with no reason to do so, very often for petty things such as age, background or even gender, it’s nothing but destructive for all parts. You can’t do your job properly and your client is wasting money. Know your place, but make sure your clients know theirs as well.

If you have any questions on this or have a topic you’d like me to write about, don’t be afraid to let me know in the comments.

 

Perception Is Everything

One of the most fundamental necessities Becama helps companies to understand when prospecting, negotiating, selling or in any way communicating with a potential buyer is that everything falls on their perception. Far too many companies out there focus on a pitch or product presentation which looks amazing to the provider, but without ever considering for differences in perception. Different perception can be a result of differences in culture, values, experiences… just about anything, and if you can learn to learn and adjust to your prospect’s perception you’ll be the most dangerous salesperson on the force.

pexels-photo-29594.jpg

So what does it mean, “perception is everything?” Well, from my experience, it simply means that it’s never about what you say or do, but about what your prospect(s) understand. For instance, when Becama helps companies develop their business and improve their lead capturing and conversions, I work with all industries, from tradesmen working with their hands, to financial institutions working with computers and software. As you can imagine, when talking to managers and founders of these companies, their personalities tend to differ greatly from one another. I can assure you, if I attempt to sell Becama’s services and expertise to every single company in the exact same way, I’d be digging a deep hole for myself. I have to take into consideration how each individual will perceive what I am saying or presenting.

Take this image for example. I took this during a vacation. Imagine you are the one lying in the hammock. What do you see? Why are you there? How are you feeling? What time of day is it? Where in the world is it?  Think as much as you can about the circumstances of the image.

Kent In El Salvador

Your perception of this image will dictate how you feel about and interpret it. The image is actually from when I visited a dear friend in El Salvador over spring break, 2014, during my college times. Though you may have seen something completely different. Please do let me know what you saw in the comments below.

When I talk to a tradesman, I talk about physical, simple changes which can be implemented such that you can see the changes made. This could be something as simple as adding a contact form to a website, having a visible phone number, or even just a brief introduction to social media marketing. However, looking at a tech company, all of a sudden technical improvements are much more interesting. This includes adding code for online chat support, email automation to decrease time spent emailing people, newsletter design and social media automation or even as far as their digital structure and search engine optimization.

In conclusion, the subject of perception is massive and I will be writing much more about it, but in short; what someone is willing to spend falls on their perceived value of what you are selling. The more you can influence and increase your prospect’s perceived value, the more you can charge for your product or service. The next time you pitch to someone, make sure to do a bit of research; what industries are they familiar with? What are their background? Do you have any common ground to leverage? Any specific analogies to other companies just like theirs?

If you have any questions or comments on my brief introduction to bending perception, by all means, feel free to leave a comment below. Have any questions you’d like me to elaborate on? Comment or contact me and I’ll be happy to write a blog post explaining my take on what you might be going through.