Can sales professionals remain at the top of their game without practicing conscious body language in their sales training?
Sales professionals are leaders when it comes to human development.
To stay on the leading edge of the sales profession you must constantly adapt to what attracts your customers and constantly adjust what repels them. Never has this principle been as important as now. With the explosion of information available to buyers, gaining the trust of today’s sophisticated customer is the biggest challenge professional salespeople face.
Long gone are the days when a salesman (yes mostly men) could crack a dirty joke, take out their order book (yes, paper) and book a sizable sale with a fat margin. In today’s competitive market your potential customers have access to the same information as you. The distinction between your competitors and you, in their eyes, has disappeared. Even using the most sophisticated CRM system has little effect as something deeper is shifting. The sales pendulum is now swinging back towards the importance of a trusting relationship from almost 30 years of impersonal business transactions. Current trends suggest that people are getting very tired of being treated as sales statistics. They are increasingly voting with their wallets to be treated with corporate social responsibility and as distinct and individual humans. Can you blame them?
All the latest research is pointing in this direction.
From Forrester Research to Harvard Business School, many on the cutting edge are talking about the value of building and nurturing warm and trusting customer relationships. Wise leaders are now taking steps to train their employees to treat each customer as a valued individual. That we now have to teach people how to treat others as humans is also interesting. Yet how can this process can mature without paying closer attention to the importance of body language?
Yes, even body language is becoming more important
This is great news, but what if there is still another threshold to separate elite sales people from the very good ones? That is becoming conscious of and effectively using your body language with feeling. It is one thing to know how to shake hands correctly, when to loan your pen to get a signature and when to open or cross your arms. Yet what if it is a separate and so far overlooked dimension to begin connecting these and many other gestures to the feelings and the atmosphere they generate. The more you can sense and feel what is happening to you and those around you, the more effectively and gracefully you and your customer will be able to dance your way to your next sale, together. Some suggestions to encourage this process and to become more conscious of it, at the body language level are:
– Becoming more present, Salespeople are notorious for unconsciously disappearing into their sales pitch. It still seems easier and somehow safer to forget you are communicating with someone who wants to be seen, heard and understood. The more you can practice balancing being here and now with your need to know where you are in your sales cycle, the better you will succeed and the less returns you will have to accept.
– Listening attentively instead of just waiting to talk. Consciously pause and reflect over what your prospective client has just said before you answer them. If you finish their sentences for them they will justifiably feel like they are talking to a machine than a fellow human. If you allow this to happen you will have defeated the distinction between doing business in person versus ordering your offer on-line. Using all your senses and trusting your intuition more are all requirements to hear your potential customer’s whole story while adding value to your chosen profession.
– Serving your way to your sale, instead of pushing, performing and impressing. Relax, ask questions, listen attentively and respond in a way that your potential customer can feel special. The more they feel special, the more they will treat you specially too. Master your emotional triggers. Train to reflect and respond more while automatically reacting less.
– Becoming a more open and attractive target. The more you consciously adjust your body language to invite your listeners into dialogue, the easier it will be for them to graciously agree to do business with you again and again.
Each one of these points requires a new set of soft skills
New, sensational soft skills are needed to maximize your conscious body language training. These skills can be used to create a more conscious and present interaction where you and your potential customer can relax, then expand your respect and understanding for each other. The result will be a more solid platform of agreement, less cognitive dissonance, a longer, more sustainable and enjoyable business relationship, with fewer returns.
Bulletproof sales arguments and customer capture, Not!
This traditional way to sell is becoming less and less effective as the difference between products, companies and sales tools narrow daily. With the current oversupply of competitors in just about every industry, customers can switch suppliers faster than you can create new sales arguments. Yet with human nature being what it is, life is still easier for everyone when your customers discover you are a trusted supplier. Strive to become someone who is authentically interested in collaborating over the long-term than just making the next sale.
The current trend of building trustworthy and loyal relationships with your customers is how future business looks to be conducted. The more you train to feel what your body is expressing, the more you can then align and adjust your message to respond seamlessly with your customer’s needs, wants and wishes. What if this honest and sensational set of soft skills is quickly becoming the deciding factor when choosing a trusted supplier? Training your corporate and social ability to respond will help you develop your edge in this exciting new trend.