A few days ago, I was being pitched on service for my speaking business. It was an intriguing product, and one that I had a genuine interest in. The salesperson (who also happened to be the individual who would deliver the service) was passionate and compelling. I was close to saying yes, and then in a blink of an eye, the deal went south. Here’s why: After giving an almost perfect pitch, the salesperson totally capitulated when I asked a few tough questions about the service. His lack of confidence sent me a “no buy” signal. I am sure it was unintended, but it cost the sale.
Salespeople (and all people) need to know that closing the deal often means having confidence in your product, your pitch, and pricing – and holding your ground. Here are four rules to keep in mind that will garner more sales and more respect.
- Hold your ground. Once you have made the sales pitch – and this could be for anything – a sale or even a job promotion – you can hold your ground. The questions and feedback you will get are not necessarily showstoppers, and backing down should not be your first reaction. If you’ve done your job correctly, then you’ve earned the right to not give way as a response. Listen to what is being asked, and answer clearly and precisely.
- Don’t develop feet of clay. Hearing objections is not synonymous with giving way. Don’t be stubborn, just work through each issue. Holding your ground means listening and being patient while at the same time negotiating in good faith and for the win-win.
- Have confidence. If you are good at what you do, make sure your attitude demonstrates that. People can hear and see a lack of confidence or conviction, no matter how good the proposal is. Here’s an example: A salesperson was proposing a service to do some specific marketing for me, but his hesitation and uncertainty when I asked a question made me doubt that he could deliver what was being offered! The more questions I asked, the weaker and quieter the responses became until I thanked him and mentally moved on. I sensed a complete lack of confidence, and I lost interest. The sad part is that it may not have been intentional.
- Know your facts. Any proposals will generate questions, and you need to have answers. Make sure that you are providing factual answers. Everything in today’s electronic, over-connected, and digital world means that anyone can easily verify anything you have to say.
- Watch your tone. How you answer, and the energy and conviction of your response, says everything about how you will deliver. Any vacillation or uncertainty in your response will be heard and noted – and affect the decision. For example, if you say that writing technical content is your special skill, how you answer questions about it send a strong, clear message. Be careful to send the right message!
In sales – and everyone is in sales – holding your ground is a necessary skill and one that clients respect. Holding your ground means that you believe in what you do, and there is a match between what you provide and what clients need. Buyers look for matches to their needs, and when you have the answer, you must show that in every word and response. Pushback on the buyers’ part does not mean that you have to weaken and cede ground. It doesn’t mean that the client desires a contentious interaction. It does mean that you are being given the golden opportunity to strengthen your relationship and close more business.