First and foremost, the very first thing you need to develop in sales and negotiations is your confidence.
But be aware of the fools sense of confidence which plagues most salesmen, and that is the confidence which is based totally on bravado.
Let me explain!
Say you are a physically confident person. You would most likely tell yourself that you could cruise through life and be in total control of any aggressive situation, but when you’re put into a situation where you’re confronted by someone who’s a lot more intellectual than you are, (and I’ve seen this happen to people), all of a sudden your confidence is taken away. It has nothing to do with your strengths, it has to do with your weaknesses, and all of a sudden your confidence isn’t there anymore. When people have a weakness, and someone exposes that weakness, you lose total confidence.
Confidence isn’t something that you can just label based on a few things. Developing total confidence is a fairly complex subject, and it covers all areas of your life, not just simply the one or two areas that you are already convinced that you do have confidence in. It’s all about developing the confidence you need in the areas you are weakest and the areas in which you intend to apply yourself in.
Imagine a boxer who was getting hit a lot because he kept dropping his hands. Straight away his coach would say he needs to keep his hands up and that will stop him getting hit so much. He does this, it works, and now he has more confidence. But what if he had no one to tell him. What do you think would happen to his confidence? Either he will become tougher so that he can take more hits or quit all together, both are a losing situation to be in. So you need a mentor or coach to make sure you develop your confidence the right way.
So what are the right confidences? There are a few, but today I will be discussing technical confidence.
First of all you need to stay in one particular industry and learn as much about that particular industry as possible, so that you can build your technical confidence. Some people think that sales is about going out and faking your way through it with good looks and tricks. What I advise is that you get into a sales career in an industry that you can see a future in, and something that you will love and enjoy talking to clients or potential customers about, and, stick to it. Put in the time to develop your technical confidence.
Developing confidence in sales at the top level is going to be done over a couple of years. This is not just a fly by night sort of thing that you should be doing to fill in time. Success is something that has to be developed.
So get into an industry that you have a passion for.
Remember you are going to have to sit down one on one with a client and no matter what they ask you, you are going to have to be able to clearly and precisely answer their questions and do it fluently and without hesitation. As the saying goes, “he who hesitates is lost”, is very true when applied to sales. People pick up on hesitation and see it as being a weakness, and this is where you find you will lose most of your sales. You need to make sure that you have the knowledge to answer somebody’s questions or fulfill their needs and actually give them all the right information in a very controlled and confident manner so that they can make an informed decision.
So you’ve got to be totally fluent in your knowledge and language of the industry that you are in, and you’ve got to know your industry extremely well.
If you’re selling a particular product such as a motor vehicle, then you better know everything, not just about that vehicle, but also about the oppositions vehicles in the same price range that offer the same type of things. You’ve got to know the strengths and weaknesses of your opposition’s products. That’s one step towards gaining technical confidence.
Your mission for this week is to go out and start learning as much about your particular field as possible. Learn the terminology, the slang, the technology and the results of that technology and this will dramatically improve your technical confidence and this will show in your sales performance.
But remember, there are no short cuts, and what you have learned here today is only the first small step of many to becoming a successful salesperson.