Sales, negotiation and leadership are three heavyweights that when mastered can make you a force in business to be reckoned with. Here are some tips on how to master each of those.
1. Be a story seller, not a product seller
The day of selling your product straight to your customers’ face is nearing its end. Today is the era of permission marketing. You should give, give, give, then you can ask (credit: Gary Vaynerchuk.)
One of the ‘giving’ tactics is storytelling. The idea is to present a situation in which your target market can relate to, with the story’s conclusion acts as your ‘call to action’ – without actually asking your audience to buy anything. “So, how and when should I pitch my sales?” you ask. You see, the sale is in the story. The product is almost secondary. It’s the suggestion of what it allows you to do. That’s, my friend, what makes selling an art.
2. Show genuine interest in the customer
Place the focus on the customer. Make it about them, not your business. Make it about what your product/service can do for them, how it can be of benefit to them, how it’ll make them feel.
Take out the ‘I’ or ‘we’ as much as possible in persuasive language used. Use ‘you’ instead to put the spotlight on them. The sale is important, of course. It’s business after all. But the potential customer is the potential sale so to speak, not the product. The more valued the customer feels, the more likely it’ll be that they’ll buy (into) what’s being sold.
Here’s an example: Gym A boasts of being the best in the health and fitness industry. “We are No. 1. Join us.” it says. Gym B says “2013 is your year”. Gym A is talking about itself and it might very well be the best – who knows? Whilst Gym B is talking to the customer. Which one is more likely to attract customers, to connect with them – the one talking about itself or the one talking about the customer? Which one has imparted value to a passer-by regardless of whether it actually sells a product to that person or not? And by that, which one appears to have more of an interest in the person?
1. Be aware of your market
Study what the rates are for what you want to negotiate, or else you’re walking in blind and potentially giving leverage to the person you’re negotiating with.
2. Consider what your options are
Though you’re there to negotiate, you might not need to reach a deal as much as the other person because of your options.
For instance, if you’re negotiating with a supplier, your options might be that you already have a few other suppliers you’re in talks with and you have quotes from them. (You might also want to mention this to the other person so that they can offer you a better price).
It might be important for you to find out who the supplier’s competitors are (and how many) and how many clients they supply to. This might help you establish what their options are as they come to negotiate with you.
3. Know the most and the very least you’re willing to close a deal on
Establishing that in your mind beforehand means you can go in confidently knowing what to work towards, but also knowing when to call it a day should it come to that.
Talk can be motivating – very much so – and is one of the qualities of a leader. But leadership also involves taking action, execution, follow-through. For example, some politicians talk a good talk, but don’t quite have the action to back it up.
It compromises on trust and can make their colleagues and members of the public start to doubt their ability to do their job well. Implementation of one’s talk into action is what separates a leader from a great leader.
1. Brilliant leadership is about being transparent
Always reliable, inspiring people to do better and want to do better, fostering a sense of trust with people, being able to work well with them towards a common objective, and the whole team feeling empowered to reach it.
2. A leader isn’t beyond learning
Nor does one know absolutely everything there is to know, even with the level of experience he/she may have – neither is he/she incapable of making mistakes. An arrogant leader, a manager for example, is one who doesn’t accept that fact and suffers his/her employees for it.
This can develop into disdain amongst them, stale the working environment and in turn affect productivity. Putting your hands up and accepting that even the best of leaders make mistakes fosters respect.
Now Over to you
What do you think the most important business skill every business person should have? What other skills should each of us acquire to become ‘awesome’ at what we do? Please share your insights with us!
Photo credit: Gustavo Fring / Pexels