by Maro Tsichla, Cluster Group Sales Manager | Hotel Grande Bretange & King George
Selling success tends to be measured in numbers. Our companies set financial goals and they expect us to reach them in order to meet the annual budget and earn our bonuses. In other words, to make profit for our organization and ourselves.
Sales is “people’s business”.
Sales is “people’s business”, no matter what the product is, the recipient is always a person. In the travel industry the product is about going to a place where you meet with people for business or leisure. A hotel, a restaurant, a lovely terrace with a breathtaking view, these are moments to be shared.
So does the selling process. Even the use of the word “process” suggests something that takes time. As in everything that matters in life, we need to invest time to connect with our customers, learn and understand more about their needs.
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We tend to assess sales efficiency just in terms of walking away with the deal and we barely allow time for the sale to move forward. An easy win is not a valuable deal in the long run. So why do we urge our sales people just to close the deal?
Aggressive sales techniques…last year!
Aggressive sales techniques are rather obsolete as they seem to be very negatively connected with sales success. In this consuming world we live in, the majority of stimuli we receive on a daily basis consists of products that we “need” to buy. Direct or indirect selling of various things, what an overwhelming experience for all of us.
But what if we could convert the selling process into a funny and pleasant experience for both sides. What if we took the time to spend a moment with the customers and really listen to what they have to say? This is the least costly investment but yet difficult to find since very few people are ready to spend their energy on active listening. Especially sales people who are eager on closing the business and skip steps, this can be detrimental to the final outcome. No human being likes to feel forced in making a decision, or not to be heard, not respected and above all not understood.
Every word counts!
The choice of words we make each time we discuss with somebody is of paramount importance. A person’s vocabulary comes from their own mindset and of course their good and in depth knowledge of the language. How we say it is sometimes more important than what we say. Here are some words and phrases that trigger negative response to the brain of the listener:
Even if there is a real problem to solve it is better to name it “challenge”. This is a more neutral word that refers to the current difficulty but also suggests a positive spirit and eagerness to find a solution.
Do you understand?
In other words, “are you clever enough to follow me”? Customers often feel as if their intelligence is questioned, how bad that can be. It is much better to make use of the phrase: “do I make myself clear?”
There is a wide variety of so many other words to describe a product that fits the customer’s budget. Because even with a limited budget no one wants to purchase “low quality” and this word is often related with something valueless.
I instead of we
The salesperson represents an organization and a team and this should be reflected in the used language. A team player will always collaborate with the customer to build something together whereas an individualist will always regard others (and the customer) as inferior. No connection and real communication will ever take place with such a person.
Worries and problems belong to the family of negativity. “Rest assured”, is much better when we want to promise that what they expect will be delivered.
Talking bad about the competition
What makes your product stand out of the crowd is the fact that it is very good or excellent, definitely among the best of the same category. Competitors who do it wrong should not even be referred to since they are not part of your business universe.
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Call me anytime about anything
Being willing, professional and available does not mean that you give up on the rest aspects of your life. Showing balance between work and personal life creates a feeling of safety and harmony and this leads to trust.
Overuse of the words “fantastic”, “unique”, “amazing“
Our sales language has become full of exaggerations and repeating patterns like these words that we barely even register their presence. The overuse of these words make them meaningless.
Not showing pride of your product and the company you work for
The true engagement to what gets us out of the bed every day shows in the way we interact with our clients. A content worker is a proof that the company “does it well” and we all want to support organizations who show respect to their employees. If the company takes care of their associates they will definitely take care of their customers as well.
When we have to make use of this word, let’s make sure that our phrase contains also an alternative. This will make our negation more comforting and less disappointing.
This is not my job
It is our job to provide service and solutions to the customer who cannot (and should not) be aware of how we operate and what the job description of each associate is. Make sure you take the request and direct it to the correct department without further conversations about who is doing what, this is really frustrating for the client.
I am doing this job for ( x years ) and never heard that
This is a very negative approach to whatever is said. Our professionalism and credibility is definitely not measured by our seniority in a profession. There is always something new to learn and our own customers can be a precious source of information of the market trends. A statement or question that sounds bizarre at the beginning can unfold knowledge about something we have not thought of.
Sales & interpersonal relationships during COVID – 19
Understanding comes when time is spent on a relationship. We take empathy for granted – everyone speaks about it – and same prevails in these even more challenging times where COVID – 19 is our global enemy. A really important gain that this outbreak has let us with is to cherish more our time.
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Regardless of how well we are trained on presentation skills or knowledge of our product the sales profession is all about the art of listening. Listening will help us go from the old fashioned aggressive selling to a more adaptive one that focuses on thinking more about giving a solution and dealing more effectively with the customer’s objections.
Selling the value and not the product is what makes the difference but people “shop” where they feel safe and comfortable. This can be a strong selling tool regardless of the fact that a better product of the same gender may be found.
In a world that is changing so rapidly, where from one day to another our lives and jobs are in jeopardy, we need to “open” our ears and hearts. After all, this pandemic has taught us among others that maybe we should start “listening” to what nature has to say.