I believe salesmanship is influencing others to make the best choice for themselves while serving them with integrity and keeping their best interest in mind. It’s not about making people buy your product or service by manipulating them. Salesmanship is building relationships of trust and serving. Often a decision to decline a product or service is the best choice. When salespeople learn to encourage prospects to not buy in a sincere manner, they are building trust. Closing deals with aggression doesn’t build trust nor will it build long term client relationships. Be a servant first.
A good client relationship is built on long term trust where many transactions occur with you serving as their trusted advisor. You earned this status because your credibility built it. You advised them and you defined yourself as trusted advisor. They don’t perceive you as a salesperson. They see you as they do a doctor who they can trust and count on. You not only make the sale but you deliver the product or service many times. They count on you to do what you say you are going to do.
Sales are easy when you have a good relationship with a client. You simply allow them to make the purchase while keeping their best interest in mind, not your commission. Those who focus on the relationship will have more transactions over time.
Truth penetrates and goes deep. People trust you when you are honest with them. Be honest in every conversation and you will build trust. It takes courage to be honest. People like honesty and it builds strong bonds of rapport. In short, you build the relationship with honesty.
Proverbs 24:26 – “An honest answer can be like a kiss on the lips.”
Proverbs 16:13 – “Kings take pleasure in honest lips, they value the one who speaks what is right.”
I am a very effective cold caller. I can call people I don’t know and get them to listen and set appointments. One day I arrived at an appointment and the prospect was late. I waited because his secretary said he was on his way. He arrived about thirty minutes late in a bad mood. He was a very big man who played football for the Alabama Crimson Tide. He hurriedly shuffled down the hall and told me to follow. He sat down in the chair behind his desk, leaned over aggressively and said, “Show me what you have.”
I said, “I’ve got nothing.”
To which he replied in a loud, angry voice, “YOU’VE GOT NOTHING? WHAT ARE YOU DOING WASTING MY TIME?”
I said, “I apologize. I probably shouldn’t be here. I’m a very effective cold caller. I don’t remember exactly what we talked about but it was my understanding that we would have a conversation about your business and my business and see if there is anything that we can do to work together. I’m sorry that I don’t have a presentation for you and I probably should not have set this appointment. It’s my fault.”
I was completely honest with him, stood my ground and he relaxed. A presentation wouldn’t help because rapport was not yet established. It was a tense situation with an angry prospect, but he appreciated my integrity and willingness to leave. I projected an honest attitude that respected both him and myself. I gave him a choice to connect and he chose it. We talked and he discovered some issues with his son and communicated them to me. I built trust and credibility by asking the right questions.
The truth is powerful and honest lips give pleasure to big ex-football players too. I can make cold calls and say that it’s a sales call and prospects will listen to me if I use the right tonality and some mild humor in my voice. Speak truthfully to prospects but use common sense and wisdom. Pick your fights carefully because some things are better left unspoken.
It takes courage to be honest. Courage is the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty or danger and act anyway. Courage is executing when you feel fear. It is not a state of mind without fear. It’s performing in the mist of fear. I was afraid when this 275 pound lineman for the Crimson Tide screamed at me, but I accomplished my goal of creating rapport. I trusted in the principle that I learned about honesty. I implore you to relate to others with integrity and honesty. My dad taught me a great lesson. He told me to be honest and I wouldn’t need to rely on my memory.