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Under the influence: five key behaviors for sales advancement

You can make people do better with persuasion than with power. Think about those people in your life who have attracted you and impressed you. Perhaps they have convinced you to act without appearing aggressive or panicky, simply emphasizing the need and benefit of what they wanted you to do. Or maybe they convinced you through their empathy, seeming to really understand your point of view.

Consciously or unconsciously, those who have a powerful effect on us use a set of key influencing behaviors. And you can have the same effect on customers when you learn to leverage effective sales influence.

Influence is more motivation than manipulation. In this form of inclusive communication, you get others to do something or give something while maintaining or enhancing the relationship and creating a sense of shared commitment with your clients.

When you develop and use your influence, you create a win-win situation. Try these five influencing behaviors in your sales work and watch your sales skyrocket as you improve the quality of your relationships with your customers.

Behavior n. # 1: Know what you want, then order it!

Nobody likes to feel like they are dealing with someone who has ulterior motives. Everyone loves a straight dealer, so be honest and straightforward about what you are trying to achieve. But to clearly express what you want, you must first know what you want from your customer. What is the purpose of your meeting? What do you hope to achieve? Are you trying to develop a relationship with your client, for example, to prepare him for his next meeting? Or do you want to make an immediate sale?

When you know exactly what you want, you can better express your position and get your point across to your clients. When your clients know exactly what you want, they will feel your influence, experiencing a sense of clarity and purpose. They will appreciate your direct approach, even if you don’t make the sale right now.

Behavior n. # 2: create win / win suggestions

You can influence your clients to help you get what you want by providing them with specific, concrete ideas that will ultimately benefit both of you. For this to happen, preparation is critical, so you need to know your customers. For example, if you want to make a sale to a young couple who, based on their questions or research, have revealed that they have moderate incomes, show them how they can benefit in the long run from paying in monthly installments instead of paying the entire amount up front. When you know your customers’ needs, you can adjust your approach accordingly. Then ask, “Are you open to some ideas that may help your situation?” or propose “Here’s a suggestion that might help both of us.”

Behavior n. # 3: Build Confidence By Clarifying What You Hear

In a sales situation, show your customers that you heard what they had to say by clearing up any issues they raised. For example, when a customer tells you, “I am interested in the product or service you offer, but I cannot do it financially right now,” make sure you have a clear understanding. Paraphrase and summarize the key points. Pause to ask if you have understood correctly. When you show that you have listened and understood the client’s position, you will find that it creates a shared commitment between you. Your client will feel like you share common ground, instead of feeling defensive and sold.

Behavior n. # 4: ask big, open questions

Engage your customer by asking a combination of open-ended questions and focused questions, then actively listen to the answers. Questions will help you establish a relationship with the client and lead to openness, understanding, and commitment, so don’t rush this behavior. Taking the time now to listen to customer concerns will allow you to go faster in the future.

Avoid closed questions, those that only require a “Yes” or “No” answer, and focus instead on open-ended questions that begin with “What”, “How” and “Where”. These will help you gather information and find out what your customer thinks. When looking for a broad answer, let your client choose the direction of the conversation: “What would be an ideal outcome for you?” or “How have you addressed these issues in your business in the past?”

Focused questions help you dig deeper and get disinterested customers to focus on alternatives. When you’ve been actively listening, you should be able to focus on specific incidents, concerns, or objections that the customer has raised. For example, ask, “Can you tell me a bit more about (that relevant topic you mentioned earlier)?” or “Could you tell me more about (your last experience with disappointing results)?”

Behavior n. 5: Give something, get something!

Your customers want to see clearly why they should give you your business, so motivate them with a solid reasoning that ties your solution to the concerns you know they may have. Make it easier or more attractive for your clients to do what you ask by telling them what you will be happy to do for them if they accept your solution. For example, try offering something requested that costs you nothing but offers them a great benefit: “If you can give me an answer today, I will make an immediate appointment with our IT group and that will put you first.”

Show that you are willing to modify your initial proposal to better suit your needs. This will help you further promote agreement and commitment. Ask: “How can I make this decision easier for you?” or “What would make this offer more attractive to you?” You are inducing the customer to buy, giving them an incentive that makes your product or service more interesting.

You do not want to offer a discount; In all likelihood, a lower price is probably not a primary need, anyway, and you obviously don’t want to take a discount on your commission. Show added value and make your offer more attractive in some way, perhaps by changing the payment schedule, or demonstrating success with referral interviews. Give them something right away and you increase your chances of getting what you want.

Meet your needs and achieve your goals

The ability to influence is a skill that anyone can acquire and directly correlates with your success in the sales profession. Using influencing skills will help you meet customer needs and improve sales. When you follow these five behaviors, you will see revolutionary results in your commissions as you build more meaningful relationships with your clients.

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