(And how to help people avoid acting like jerks!)
Pay-off: get this right, and you’ll find selling a lot nicer
Investment: 3 minutes
Every day I work with people struggling to sell. Less often I work with people who sell well. Makes sense.
I learn a hell of a lot from both. And from those making the transition between. I share much of this in my free weekly posts here. And there’s something specific I’ve learned worth sharing today…
“It’s not me, it’s you”
It seems to me that the majority of people trying to sell but failing, point their finger at customers or “other people” being the reason for their failures. They rarely admit it’s their approach at fault.
“The client is too [add unflattering label here]”.
Or, a particularly well-thought-out one I hear when things get tough is, “they’re a jerk”.
The majority, when it’s hard, often point and call people names. Nothing like attempting to preserve yourself, hey!
The top 25% club
It’s also worth considering that the majority of people trying to sell aren’t in the top 25% of high performers! (Did he really just say that?)
I’m wary that correlation is not causation. But in this case, I have zero doubt that finger-pointing eliminates personal improvement, firmly cementing the flaws in your approach. You get to carry those blind-spot flaws of yours along with you in everything you do. So have fun with that.
But the top performers, who got there for a reason – doing something the average and lower performers didn’t do – they see things differently.
They don’t point and call people names. They have a more mature and useful outlook…
Fear can make jerks out of people
They understand that buyers lead their thinking from a place of fear.
And fear makes us “jerky”. It can turn people into jerks. The more fear and pressure we feel, the more of a jerk we can become.
Buyers fear making the wrong decision, wasting their time and money, looking stupid or having to explain themselves to their boss. They fear their career decisions and the impact on their lives. They fear being manipulated. And they fear the consequences of their actions or inaction. They want to protect themselves and survive and thrive. And they fear what may threaten that.
You could consider that perhaps anyone in your life who appears to be awkward with you or “a bit of a jerk” is in fact just fearful. They fear something you don’t know about. Something behind the obvious. And this shapes their behaviour.
And the worst is brought out in you when you’re fearful too.
What you could do to remove buying resistance
What if, then, YOU put the effort in to be sensitive to, discover and understand your customers’ fears?
Become familiar with typical fears of your buyers, but also each individual’s unique fears in the current context.
(Want a trigger to remind you? If you think they’re being “too [label here]”, there’s your cue; what fear is driving their behaviour in this instance that you could help alleviate?)
Their mind is currently having that ‘fear’ conversation with itself anyway. It’s a survival thing. We evolved this way because it works for us. We scan the situations we face with the fear-lens on first, swapping for the ‘opportunity lens’ once we’re safe. So you might as well join the fear conversation that their mind is having?
Then, what if you set out to immediately help remove those fears?
I don’t just mean remove their fears of taking on your solution or product. I mean remove their fears of interacting with you too.
You could create the circumstances where they’re not fearful to share their relevant fears! Show you’re there to listen, understand, not judge, and uncover their concerns. Then help them realise that you know these patterns well in your customers. And that they’re normal. And that you know how to help navigate them safely through to a solution.
Go and do that!
(What are you afraid of?? You wouldn’t want them getting the wrong impression of you, would you?)
If you or your team want help to remove your own fears around selling, I can probably help take a weight off your shoulders. You can reach me here, learn more about my work with non-sales teams here, and learn more about how I help individuals here.
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Also published on Medium.