There are several facets to confidence, which we are covering in this month’s newsletter and blog posts, and which are fully covered in SELLability training.
One component of confidence is being able to look at a person, talk to them a little bit, and be able to make an educated guess as to where they are at emotionally. It is very important in sales to approach a prospect and speak to them with the appropriate emotion.
For example, you wouldn’t come upon a prospect that looked as if they were about to cry, and give them a big enthusiastic “Hi there! Isn’t life grand?” If you did, they would probably burst into tears and do everything possible to get away from you. No, you’d have to be a bit more appropriate, and show them some empathy. And even then, it might be a good idea to re-set your appointment and allow your prospect to pull themselves together.
Similarly, if someone seemed to be pretty cheerful, you wouldn’t want to approach them with a very bored, “How ya doin’?” They’d probably wonder what was wrong with you—or worse, what was wrong with them that would make you act that way. Either way, you’re not likely to make a sale.
The idea is to approach and speak with an appropriate emotion.
As an example, I have a colleague who has been a freelance writer for many years. At one point, he had grown his hair very long, and his attitude was generally very artistic and somewhat “out there.” He even had pictures of himself with this long hair on his web site.
One day he got a lead for a writing job and was to meet with the extremely conservative CEO of a medical research institute. Fortunately, the person who had given him the lead warned him that the CEO was very conservative. My friend was smart, and went and got a haircut. He came into the meeting with this new haircut, dressed conservatively to match, and took on a very businesslike attitude with this CEO.
Not only was the CEO very impressed with my friend’s attitude and appearance, which was emotionally appropriate for meeting with him, but he was also further impressed with my friend’s written works. He got that job, and several more besides from the same client. But chances are, if my friend had come in with his normal “crazy” appearance and attitude, he wouldn’t even have even been considered for the job, regardless of how good a writer he was.
This doesn’t mean that you should stray way out of your comfort zone to act like or appear just like the person you’re meeting with. It’s actually more important that you are yourself, and are honest about it. A former school of sales training actually taught “agreement” with everything a prospect said or did as a way of selling. But this is just being phony, and a prospect is going to have an even worse reaction than to someone very different from them.
So there is a balance. Be yourself—but be emotionally appropriate to your prospect. Come somewhere close to where they are when you speak to them. Be real.
As a note, you can learn much more about emotions in sales by signing up with SELLability. I highly recommend you do so!
Yours in Sales,
Lisa Terrenzi