Why We Need Better People Skills
People Reading in Sales Will Help You Reach Your Sales Potential
Discover practical, real world sales applications Learn how to identify the proper manner to Meet/Greet each client immediately Determine the nature of the Questions to use to best uncover client needs Present the optimum Solutions to specifically solve the problems of each client Select the right way to gain Commitment
Chapter One: People Reading in Sales
People Reading in Sales is about leading edge selling. It is a compendium of my 20 years in selling translated into a systematic, practical method of interacting with other people. People Reading is a process that helps identify the right way to interact with each prospect, customer, and client.
People Reading shows sales professionals and selling organizations how to keep pace with the dynamic changes in their markets. That is that buyers want to acquire products and services differently each day. Technology and speed! Buyers want it faster, better, and personal.
It's a business revolution.
We're right in the middle of it and we can't stop it. It's like a runaway freight train. The most significant changes lie just over the horizon. Short of a cosmic catastrophe, change fast change is definitely here to stay.
People Reading is a learning system that demonstrates how to individualize every presentation. In our ever-changing world, salespeople need to focus on individuals and their distinct patterns of action and inaction. Our markets dictate it. We need to learn an adaptive and practical way to evaluate the potential behavior of others...instantly. No other assessment method can do what People Reading does.
Making accurate, unbiased distinctions between people and identifying behavioral differences gives us a clearer understanding of individual buying motives, feelings, and decisions. In other words, what we see is what we get immediately.
People Reading helps salespeople fine-tune their communication skills. We can use it to deal with buyers in a manner more comfortable for them. We improve our effectiveness and increase our income potential while we create more satisfied, long-term clients.
People Reading compliments other selling methods. Developing sales skills in prospecting, product knowledge, presentation, handling objections, and closing techniques remains very important. At the same time, People Reading dramatically augments those necessary tools.
The sales arena is fertile ground for People Reading. Selling is the face-to-face communications Super Bowl and People Reading may become your most valuable selling skill.
Why Do We Need Better People Reading Skills?
Our world is changing rapidly. Technological developments will continue to alter the way we live in every conceivable way. Nothing seems very permanent. We will be looking at our surroundings with a new mindset virtually every waking hour.
These changes will continue to affect the way we conduct our business, our family relationships, and other aspects of our personal lives. And the evidence is everywhere.
Why and how are cultural revolutions affecting the relationship between buyers and suppliers? There are three important motivating factors influencing the evolution of selling.
We are out of time. We are more instantly "in touch" than we ever imagined we could be. We can buy a hand-held computer that lets us check our email or log on to the internet. On his way to work, Bill Gates listens to his email on his car radio. Somebody, somewhere is working on a device to replace the microwave oven because it is too slow. The time between when we want it and when we get it shrinks on a daily basis. People all around the globe think they are out of time. We cannot do it over. It costs too much. Time, resources, and money are scarce. Everyone and everything competes for a client's share of mind. Three hundred thousand advertising images bombard us everyday. First impressions, corporate statures, and customer goodwill are fragile items. One unfortunate incident can ruin years of effort and waste millions of advertising dollars. Bigness is no protection either. Today's customers expect more from a product or service. They are not satisfied with "very good" quality or 98% defect-free products or services. Everything is personal. Today, we do not have to settle for mass solutions. We want personal solutions. PriceLine is an online service where people name the price they want to pay for an airline ticket and the airlines battle to accommodate them! Differentiation, fragmentation, and individualization are everywhere. The number of specialized magazines and periodicals increases each year. Everyone can become an "expert" on virtually anything via the internet in a few short hours. We know we have different tastes and expectations from other people. "That idea (one size fits all) may be OK for someone else, but I want what I want." In Regis McKenna' s book Real Time, he writes, "Right here. Right now. Tailored for me. Served up the way I like it. If the new consumer's expectations were spelled out on a billboard, that is how they would read."
In his book The Future of Work: The Promise of the New Digital Work Society, author Charlie Grantham makes several important assumptions about technology and its effect on the workplace and beyond:
· Development of technology tends to increase the scope and rate of human interaction. We get more connected every day, and there is always more information coming at us.
· Clear, concise conversations, based on mutual non-judgmental respect, provide a clear pathway for people to transcend narrow, self-serving behavior.
How Do Our Clients Want to Buy?
These dynamic circumstances are having a tremendous impact on the selling arena. Buyers want quick, inexpensive (or cost-conscious), individual solutions. They still have lofty expectations about class of treatment because they expect suppliers to address their individual tastes and preferences.
After all, they know those options are available. Amazon.com and thousands of other companies continue to accelerate and personalize the way we do business.
Buyers have more choices than they used to--even 20 years ago. How many different colors can we get on new cars? How many different packages and options are available? How many were available on the average brand in 1960?
More information is available (magazines, TV, radio, Internet, etc.) than ever before. Many people find the item they want on their own and then look for the best price (Internet, Costco, Office Depot, Sam's Club, etc.). Look at the "hot" stocks on Wall Street that are being propelled by the newest form of individualized selection day-traders. The unspoken tenet: Who needs an expert to help me buy and sell stock and build my persona portfolio?
Today buyers expect quality. Thirty years ago, most of us just settled for problems. Problems were part of our purchase. Inferior product performance or customer service was the rule (or acceptable) until higher quality products and service began to appear. Additionally, follow-up calls are more frequent today. "Was your problem solved to your satisfaction, Mrs. Smith?" "This call may be monitored in an effort to improve customer service." People now count on top-quality products and services, regardless of price.
Buyers' expectations will continue to evolve. Salespeople will need to adjust their method of selling and learn additional skills to meet the challenges brought on by these conditions. This alone is an enormous and difficult task.
Fast, better, personal? Contradictions? Not possible? In reality, we are simply speeding up the way we make decisions. Same decision process---it is just compressed.
As salespeople, we really do not have a choice. If we do not pass the keeping-pace test, we face obsolescence. Adapt or disappear. Why? Today, buyers set the rules of play.
How Do Our Clients View Our Relationship?
There are two distinct methods of selling--event and relationship. The ongoing lifestyle and conceptual changes will no doubt affect both methods. However, the dynamics are quite different, one to the other. Have your answers ready for the fourteen questions as you read the balance of this chapter.
We spend a great deal of our training time on product knowledge or the nuts-and-bolts of selling. Some experts say that 95% of all sales training is on technical or product knowledge in spite of the fact that it accounts for only 15% of the reasons sales are made. Fundamental product knowledge alone does not spell "s-u-c-c-e-s-s" in our changing marketplace. Product knowledge is essential but we need more than that.
We must expand our skills repertoire. In golf, professionals contour their game to the course they are playing. They prepare differently for each tournament, depending on the course's terrain, length, green conditions, and the level of competition. They select their clubs, shoes, and attire accordingly. NASCAR drivers and their crews do it much the same way. They have to prepare for a short track one weekend and a larger, super-speedway the next (different tires, weight distribution, etc.). We need to recognize the need to transition to the best method to interact with each client or customer and discard our preconceived, in-the-box selling style.
Most traditional sales thinking and processes view a sale as an event. In event selling, buyers see value in the product or service; they view it as a commodity. Buyers rely on salespeople to provide the necessary product information and the details of the sale-to create worth.
When buyers and sellers view the interaction as an event, they focus on price or method of delivery. They do not analyze needs or offer solutions per se.
Buyers that want to buy this way may believe they already have all the information they need to make a decision. They want salespeople to tell them about the cost or value of their product or service. Buyers predetermine their needs and decide to buy based on price or the ease of acquiring the product or service.
Event customers prefer a fast buying cycle. "Don't waste my time. What is your best price? Can you do this or not?" The salesperson simply provides the information the buyer is looking for and waits for the order.
We can view this mindset in another way. In many industries, manufacturers tell retailers what to tell buyers about their needs. "Here are all the reasons you should buy. So, what do you think?" In other words, build it and they will come. "Lotsa people have something similar to your product/service," buyers might say.
Salespeople still need specific, fundamental selling skills in event selling. They need to tell buyers about a product or service effectively. To perform well in event selling, salespeople need a lot of product knowledge, listening skills, a keen sense for negotiation, and a bunch of closing techniques.
Salespeople get very little training on "people" or "soft" skills. Selling with traditional sales skills is fine provided a particular buyer favors an event buying process.
How Can We Determine the Best Way to Interact with Each Client?
Let's take a quick peek inside the head of our next buyer. They will be thinking: "That's right. Go ahead. Try to figure me out. What do I need? How do I make decisions to buy? What factors influence me? Go ahead. Guess. Guess who I am."
Here's the good news: People Reading works in both selling methods!
People Reading concentrates on getting to know the buyer quickly, personally, and accurately. People Reading makes it easier to identify the potential behavior of every buyer. Event selling produces fast, close interactions where salespeople need to immediately find out how much "price" is a part of the client's decision. Since relationship selling looks at the individual needs, People Reading helps salespeople swiftly establish a relationship with their clients.
Professional salespeople today focus on these important elements of the selling process.
· The buyer determines the rules of selling.
· There is no average person. Every buyer is different.
· We need to make every buyer feel special. We must instantly predict the feelings, reactions, and thinking style of each buyer.
· Regardless of the type of selling required, establishing rapport and building trust are essential.
· We need to improve our selling attitudes and strategies in this age of the "never-satisfied" customer.
· First impressions (and image) are very, very important.
· Developing a flexible, adaptive selling style will increase our effectiveness.
· When we ask questions that focus on specific needs, buyers respond better throughout the selling process. They are less likely to divulge important information or act friendly to an old-style presentation. When buyers detect a genuine, helping/solving emphasis, they give information freely.
· When the selling process offers the buyer a Win/Win solution, they are more likely to give referrals. Referrals are an essential ingredient in building future sales success for many businesses. People are just more likely to believe others as opposed to a salesperson.
How to Use This Book
As we begin to fine-tune our assessment of each trait, ranking individuals will become easier.
Since traits do not operate in a vacuum, the trait discussions assume that all other traits are equal. When neither trait polarity is apparent, the trait's outward expression diminishes.
When evaluating trait landmarks, we need to determine where the person would compare to a group of 100 people.
Trust first impressions. Look for extremes. If the polarity of the trait does not jump out, discount it and move on. Rely on good judgment and an innate feel for the situation.
Remember that the name of the trait and the words in the descriptions are specific to People Reading. Normal, every day, real world definitions for these same words are quite different. Concentrate on the exact interpretations and resist mixing common explanations for similar behavior.
· Study a trait a week.
· Look for trait polarities.
· Watch for matching behavior patterns.
· When comfortable with a trait identification and interpretation, try it out on friends or family.
· After confirmation, interact appropriately with a customer.
· Then, learn another trait.
· Eventually, customers with confidence and accuracy.
· Almost overnight, effectiveness and sales results increase. Others begin to respond more favorably to recommendations and suggestions.
There are over 16 traits in People Reading in Sales. Each one has its place in a selling interaction. The example below is for a trait that has significance in the way people evaluate what they see or draws their attention. Therefore, it would be most important to look for it during the selling phase where a client is being asked to make a decision.
Critical or Forgiving Trait Area: Feeling/Emotion
What It Means: The extent a person quickly notices flaws and opportunities
How to Tell It: The downward slant of the eyes from the inner corners to the outer corners
General: The downward angle or slant of the eyes from the inside to the outside indicates the degree of criticalness. People with a downward slant are more critically perceptive. People with a more upward the slant are less critical, or more forgiving.
Trait language is very important. We need to remember that, for this trait, forgiving simply means the opposite of critical. Forgiving people are less likely to find fault.
This trait has a great deal to do with how people judge the merits and qualities of a situation. Remember there is no "good" or "bad" trait; it is only what we do with them that counts. This ability is a gift provided critical people use it in a positive way. Their criticism, most of the time, is positive and helpful. If they express it poorly, chances are others will resent it.
Critical people skillfully spot mistakes and imperfections. If something is out of place, they see it right away and act to correct it. They automatically differentiate between right and wrong. Since these people quickly notice openings and opportunities, their critical ability is an asset when their input is positive, suitable, and accurate.
· Notices flaws and moves quickly to correct them
· Skillful in judging the merits and qualities of situations
· Be accurate; eliminate errors and stay on track
Key Points: They know the problem before we arrive. Therefore, make sure they address their problems/needs up front. Find ways to support their position. Show how the product/service will specifically meet their needs. Respond quickly to a complaint and make corrections immediately. Double check any items that have a risk of being misunderstood or misinterpreted (add the numbers twice, check punctuation and spelling, make sure the margins are right, etc.). Ask them to take a closer look if the proposal can stand it. Encourage them to try to find something wrong. Be prepared to answer. In fact, be extra-prepared.
If you are critical and the client is forgiving:
· Be careful when voicing any criticism, it is OK if properly done.
· Balance criticism with respect and appreciation.
· Ask harmless, penetrating questions; do not judge their decisions.
· Offer help and support.
Forgiving people tend to be more receptive of their surroundings and will go along with the presentation. They overlook what may be out of line. They are a comfort to have around because they spend less time offering suggestions or finding fault. Other people must bring problems to their attention. These people will offer less when discussing their problems/needs. They overlook inconsistencies and are not likely to interrupt if they arise.
· Doesn't notice flaws as quickly or as often
· Waits to offer suggestions
· Comfort to have around
· Prepare just the same; show detail in the proposal
Key Points: Their forgiving attitude is not a sure sign of acceptance. Act as if they will check it over anyway but do not encourage it. Go ahead and mention a few of the more important details along the way. Be more creative during the presentation. Ask frequent questions to determine their reaction to the information. Offer choices and pay close attention to the response.
If you are forgiving and the client is critical:
· Listen carefully to comments and questions; the information will be very important.
· Acknowledge any errors or flaws immediately.
· Be super-prepared and accurate.
· Ask for their opinion frequently.
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