“I really struggle to keep the desperation out of my voice”. A salesperson confessed this to me recently, about prospecting and making cold calls.
Like so many other salespeople at the moment, he’s under intense pressure to perform and has struggled recently to hit his target. He desperately needs to hang on to his job, with a family to support during a pandemic, but that only makes matters worse. So, every time he picks up the phone or sends a prospecting email, this burning need to make a sale or land a hot prospect clouds his vision and the desperation seeps out.
Here’s the thing about desperation, it gives prospective customers the Heebie Jeebies. Humans are smart … we can sense fear in a heartbeat, we’re immediately on our guard, like a gazelle sensing a lion hidden in the bushes.
“Something doesn’t feel right here, why is this person pushing so hard, talking so fast, pressuring me?” Our spider senses start to tingle, we put up our invisible defences and the chance of a sale progressing drops to almost zero.
If you’re reading this post thinking … “Yup, that’s pretty much me you’re describing there Cian” I have some advice you might find helpful.
Nobody wants to be sold to but everyone wants to be helped. So, if you really want to make more sales, you need to stop focusing on making sales. Instead, simply focus on earning the right to move to the next step of the process with your prospect. What do I mean?
If it’s a cold call, the next logical step of the process might be to send them some information to review and chat again in a week. Or for them to attend a webinar you’re hosting or schedule a demo.
Your job is no longer to make a sale, simply add enough value, to earn the right to move to the next step of the process.
By taking the pressure off yourself to make a sale, you immediately remove the pressure that you were unintentionally transferring to your prospective customer.
You relax, you’re more natural, you ask better questions, you listen closely, you move from sales mode into consultant mode, you challenge, probe and develop credibility and rapport. Then hopefully, you earn the right to move to the next step.
The opposite of desperation is confidence (not arrogance). You don’t desperately need to make a sale, but you would certainly be keen to work with them. You appear calm, relaxed, knowledgeable, like you’ve done this before, you lead with insights, share relevant stories, are proactive, have a great sales process that aligns to the buyers own process.
It’s super easy for me to type these words in a blog post and another thing entirely when you’re sitting on 3% of your number for the quarter, on a performance improvement plan, one pay-check away from missing your mortgage payments …
But I’ve been there myself, I know how it feels and I know it’s only a temporary state of mind, that can be magically changed by a few good quarters!