Be Yourself while Selling

(This is from the YourSalesSuccess eZine article No14)

I was in New Zealand last week
doing some business and took the time to catch up with some old business colleagues.

The previous business I was in involved the importing, sales and distribution of chemicals used in the paint, plastics and other industries.

Being involved in importing offers unique opportunities to view other sales people in action.
We often hosted overseas technical experts or sales / marketing people to help us sell their products locally.




My old friend Mike and I were reminiscing about the overseas visitors that had a positive impact on the business and those that did not.

The first thing we agreed on was the difference between the good ones and the average ones was dramatic.

When you are in the position of making appointments for people coming from overseas you pretty quickly get to know who customers want to see and who they would rather avoid.

In our discussions two people were mentioned as particularly well received. Tom and Bob. 
Thinking about it later I would add a third name to the list, Alfred.




What was it about these people?

Well it wasn't nationality.
Tom was originally from Hong Kong but would probably have called himself Singaporean.
Bob was from Jersey in the USA.
Alfred was from Germany.

All three of them certainly had exceptional product knowledge.
However, they would not have been the only OS people we hosted that had such expertise.

In discussions with Mike we kept coming back to their quiet manner and the fact that they were characters, i.e. they were unique.




They were not afraid to be who they were.
There were no pretensions with any of them.
They didn't have to prove how much they knew.
They just quietly listened to the problem and offered suggestions peppered with questions about how things were done in this country (in case it was different to their home market).

In contrast, I remember one visitor we had from the USA.
He virtually questioned the intelligence of the management team at our customer because they were using a competitor's product that was plainly inferior and, after all, his company was the biggest supplier in the world. Think about it.
The customer's attitude would be "who cares who else you supply to and how much you sell, we only know that this product works for us". 
This OS visitor aggravated this client so much that they refused to ever have him on site again.

The three excellent OS salespeople were very different characters. 
One was a real professor type, unashamedly so, and the customers admired his dedication and belief in what he was doing. 
One was a bit of a rogue with a really dry sense of humour and the customers adored his cheekiness.
One was a go-getter, sharp as a tack, quick witted but polite and clients were happy to help him get ahead.




Where is all this leading ?

Well I touched on it last week.
Joe Girard (regarded by many as the best salesperson ever) says,
"You sell yourself first". 
To sell yourself you have to be prepared to be yourself.

That means having enough knowledge to be confident and then making a conscious decision not to pretend to be someone else who you think your customers want to buy from.

I can give you all the techniques under the sun and help you modify your attitude and improve your belief in yourself and you still may not be a successful salesperson.




The magic ingredient is you.
There are ways to close sales and handle objections but the ones that will work for you are YOUR WAYS !Why would you follow someone else's formula ? 
If everyone did that Fosby would never have flopped and we never would have seen Bjorn Borg's famous two-handed backhand.

How many of you ever thought the running style of the famous 400 meters runner Michael Johnson was weird ?
I wonder how many coaches tried to correct his style ?
I wonder how many of his competitors wished those coaches had been successful as they ate his dust coming down the home straight ?

So, go out there and read books or work with a sales coach like me and try everything you can.

Then settle on what you like to do and what works for you 
(funny how they are often the same thing)
and go sell up a storm.

It may even take some sales coaching for you to be prepared to be yourself.

Here's to YourSalesSuccess.