Selling savvy is knowing how to make people sit up and take notice when you speak. Such positioning is not something you can achieve quickly or once for all time. It’s a continuous process of discovering new ways to take charge of the way your customers and prospects see you. Here are five crucial factors to consider as you think through your own positioning strategies and tactics. Let’s look closely at each one.
Factor #1: Position yourself first in your own mind.
The way you see yourself will shape the way others see you. The way you think about yourself determines how you do everything. It affects the way you prospect, the way you interview, the way you present, the way you close, the way you manage your time. Ask yourself these questions: Are you proud of your profession? Do you see yourself as a highly skilled, competent professional person? Do you look upon yourself as a valuable resource for your customers or clients?
Savvy salespeople truly believe that their profession is one of the most honorable and worthy careers they could ever pursue. They know that all the factories and service organizations they represent would soon go out of business if all their salespeople quit selling.
What’s more, all their customers would be left without the information they need to make intelligent buying decisions. It is no exaggeration to say that the whole private enterprise system would never have come into being if it were not for the salespeople who support all the other functions of business.
We can hold our heads up high, because, as salespeople, we provide services that are absolutely essential to our society.
Factor #2: Position yourself with your attitude toward your customers.
Our attitudes toward our customers and prospects will always show up in the way we treat people. And, more than any other single factor, the way we treat others will determine the way they respond to us.
If, for example, we make ourselves the center of attention in a sales interview, our prospects will resist all our efforts to move forward with the selling process. But, if we make the prospect the center of attention, the barriers will come down and the prospect will move right along with us.
The real pros in this business think of themselves as valuable resource persons who help their customers get whatever they want and need out of life.
Don’t be fooled into believing that you can fake a healthy attitude toward prospects. Your customers and prospects can sense the way you feel about them. Your attitude will show up in everything you do. So, if you really want to position yourself for success, cultivate the right professional attitude toward every prospect you call on.
Factor #3: Position yourself with your appearance.
First impressions get set in stone very quickly. And, like it or not, the way you look is the most important factor in shaping those first and lasting impressions.
The key is to always dress well enough to fit in with the top people you’re calling on, yet never to blend in with the wallpaper. Think of your clothes as the way you package yourself. Always dress in a way that creates the maximum positive impact on the people you want most to impress – your customers.
Factor #4: Position yourself with your actions.
Your prospects determine by your actions how important you are to their interests: your intentions, your reliability – and many other critical factors – go into their impressions of you.
Think about it for a minute. Suppose you pop in unannounced for a long visit with an extremely busy person. What message does that convey to that person? It’s like wearing a sign that says, “pest.”
Walking in with a bulging sales kit under each arm and handing out advertising gimmicks to everyone you meet is like boasting that you are a peddler. Always think through everything you do and the way you do it to make sure it creates precisely the impression you want to make.
Factor #5: Position yourself with your words.
Every word you say positions you either as a person to be considered important or as an intruder to be dismissed as quickly as possible.
Choose your words wisely, but always listen before you speak. Respond to the verbal and nonverbal clues your prospect or customer gives you before saying what’s on your mind or discussing matters that don’t pertain to the business at hand. Use words that will help your prospect solve problems or see solutions. Choose help words over imperatives and always give the customer the chance to speak his mind.
Use these five positioning tips to make your prospects notice your best qualities and you’ll have invested in a lasting sales success story.