The sales conversation can be an overwhelming, manipulative experience, or the conversation can be a sacred moment that fills your heart, your client’s need, and gives you a healthy profit. You can be imperfect in the sales conversation and still be effective.
I used to work as a sales executive selling TV advertising space for Adelphia Media many moons ago. My job was to go to local businesses within my region of Johnstown, Ebensburg, Somerset, and Altoona PA and offer them ad space. If he liked the ad package and price, then we would shoot a 30 minute commercial and place that spot on networks and time slots that matched his target audience.
I don’t know why I ever took that job. I hated selling. I felt like a fish out of water floundering around not knowing how to sell. I think the reason why I became a salesperson was because deep down inside I wanted to become an entrepreneur. And I heard that if you wanted success as an entrepreneur, you needed to learn how to sell.
The problem I had were sales conversations. Every time I entered one the conversation felt “pushy” and manipulative. I didn’t care about their business, nor did I give a hoot about the product I sold. I only wanted money and the experience of selling.
Since selling felt pushy, manipulative, and cold, I backed off. I gave the prospect enough written information to have a look at Adelphia’s services and left my business card with a note saying, “If you’d like to discuss more and move forward, give me a call.”
Guess what? No one ever called me. A few times out in the field I made a sale on the spot because the biz owner was desperate to get TV exposure, but I consistently had well qualified clients slip through my fingers.
My income didn’t do too well, as you would imagine. I mean, I was a salesman who made his salary from commission and I didn’t do any selling. Sometimes I wonder how I managed to put food on my plate in those days?
I didn’t understand selling. I had poor skills in the sales conversation. The way Adelphia taught it was to push their information upon the client and keep calling them until you get a yes; and if you get a “no,” give them a week and call them back. Yuck! Why don’t I put them in a headlock while I’m at and ask for their credit card?
I only lasted a year in that job. I was too broke to support myself. And I was tired of selling my heart and soul to make a buck. Bye Bye corporate selling. Hello small business owner.
Most Sales Conversations are Missing Connection
When I owned my own Real Estate business, a successful sales conversation was more important than ever. If I couldn’t make a sale, I would be quickly out of business.
But this time around something was different. I cared about my service. I cared about the people I interacted with through my business. I was also more spiritually mature.
I still didn’t know how to sell, but I was intimate and present in the sales conversation. I focused my heart and attention on the client and their needs. I asked many questions and facilitated clarity for where they were at and where they wanted to go.
My business thrived, and during that time I had no idea why. I thought it was because I provided excellent value and word got around. But the truth to why I made a decent income, and felt good about it too, was because of connection.
Why Connection Trumps Sales Pitching
If you have any sales training, you are taught to pitch your prospects a strong offer. You do need a strong offer that produces outcomes, but you can save that arm Hulio and take a seat on the bench. Your clients are not wearing a catcher’s mitt. They are standing there bare-handed, and if you throw a fastball it will knock them out.
Instead of standing sixty feet away ready to throw a pitch, meet them at homeplate and give them a hug. Ahhhh…isn’t that nice. Connection. Much more friendly, loving, and intimate, wouldn’t you say?
Okay, you’re probably not going to hug your client during the sales conversation, but a hug is a great metaphor for what connection is like. You see, your clients do not want you to back down when selling. They need you and want more of you. They want to fulfill their desires and solve their problems. And they see you as that person who can help.
What your clients really want is your presence.
The turn off happens when you pitch your services because it becomes all about you: “I can do this, I can do that, this is how xyz can help…” The same is true in baseball. If you’re pitching, your goal is to get the batter out. It’s about you and your team winning. You’re not pitching hoping that the batter hits a home run. That’s silly. But you need to get silly. Forget baseball. You’re not pitching.
When you connect with your clients and focus on their needs and heart, they feel seen and safe. Yes you eventually talk about your services, but not until the client feels seen for where they are and where they want to go. An established, intimate relationship comes first. Depending on your connection, this can happen fast.
I often receive emails out of the blue that pitch their services or product to me. Some of these emails are obvious spam, but a majority of the emails come from legit business owners.
The emails usually go like this: “Hi Nick, I want to introduce myself and the services we provide. I’m so and so from xyz company and provide this service and this product out of this state for x number of years. We offer many options and support for this and that. I would love the opportunity to meet and see if my services are a fit for you.”
Now how would you feel receiving this email? Would you respond? Keep in mind that I have no relationship or affiliation with this person. These “Email Beggars” know nothing about me, my challenges, or my goals. As soon as the email starts with about their services and how they can help, I don’t even read it. Trash.
What’s missing? Connection. You cannot bore people into doing business with you.When the entire email reads all about you and your services, that’s boring and disconnected. Imagine going on a date and all your date does is talk about herself. She doesn’t ask any questions about you. She doesn’t care to know you. It’s all about her. Does that sound like a good time?
Ditch the pitch and genuinely connect. Be curious about the person. Ask questions to help him receive clarity on his present situation. Almost the entire conversation is about his needs and knowing him on a deep level. At some point, you’ll feel a shift. The client wants to explore the possibility of working with you. This is the pivot. Now it’s time to talk about your services.
But how do you create authentic connection? Glad I asked what you were thinking.
Side note: This pivot will never happen in the first email 🙂
How to Connect with Your Client
Connection is a subtle shift away from your neediness, into your heart, and then focusing on the client while maintaining your presence. It sounds complicated, but it’s really not. What’s complicated is the hungry and needy Self trying to get the client to fulfill the Self’s neediness with a sale. Too many problems arise from that perspective.
Your client cannot handle your neediness. He’s already vulnerable and in need of help–that’s why you’re having the sales conversation. If you come to the table needing your needs met, such as making an income, then connection is lost.
The key to connection is filling yourself before you receive fill. In other words, you need to quench your thirst before you drink the glass filled with water. But how do you drink an empty glass of water and have your thirst quenched?
Interesting, I know. This is what a spiritual practice can do for you–that is, quench the thirst before drinking water.
I want to show you connection on the fly. It’s incredibly simple. Here it is: Before you get into a sales conversation, ask yourself, “What is it that I truly desire from this conversation?”
You may come up with all kinds of answers, but the most common one is money. If the answers you receive are material or part of the physical senses, ask, “Why do I really want the money? Or, Why do I really want (insert the thing)?” What you’re doing is peeling back the layers of the world and getting to the essence of what you truly desire from making the sale. You’re looking for the unseen quality of what you truly desire. That quality or qualities may be safety, love, intimacy, peace, sovereignty, and on and on.
Once you know what you truly desire from the sales conversation and making the sale, ask to receive and bask in that quality. Allow it to fill you up. That’s how you quench your thirst before drinking the water.
- Imagine a previous sales conversation you had with a client that didn’t go so well. Now think about how you felt before the conversation and what your needy Self desires. Were you trying to get money? Score a client so you can buy something? It’s important to feel that anxiety and neediness. Got it?
- Next, ask, “What is it that I truly desire?” If you get money or a material thing or sensory perception, ask to be shown that deeper layer: “Why do I want the money?” Is it because you want safety? Security? Peace? Abundance?
- When you receive the qualities that you truly desire, ask to receive and be filled with those qualities. For example, “May I receive and have safety?” Then be present and allow yourself to have safety. Feel the aliveness of your body. Fill yourself with safety.
This is connection. You are filled and do not need your client to support you. Your Unique and Genuine Self is able to come forward in the conversation because your needs are met. There’s an ancient saying that goes, “As within, so without.” This means when you have safety, for example, coming from your heart, you will be provided with external safety (in some cases money).
Now it’s your job to remember this connection during the sales conversation. Remain present and be intimate with your client. Get curious about his needs and who this person is. Check in every once and awhile with the aliveness of your body. Even though you may not have much structure to the conversation, you can be imperfect and still be effective…so long as you have connection.
The Sales Knight starts June 10th at NYA Studios in Dover, NH. It’s eight sessions over eight weeks group class that shows you how to be confident and comfortable in the sales conversation so more people are saying, “Yes, I am ready to pay.”
For anyone who registers before Friday at Midnight, I’m offer an early bird discount. I want to reward those who are taking bold action to make a difference in their business. The early bird sign-ups also give me safety knowing that we will have enough participants to run the course. Visit the link, check out the details, and register: Sales Knight Details.
No Cost Sales Knight Conference Call
I’m hosting a 60-minute conference call on June 6th, at 10:30am via the phone. The conference call is part teaching and part Q & A about the sales conversation and joining The Sales Knight. This call is the place to see if the Sales Knight is right for you. You’ll receive a great teaching and you can ask your questions. Please register for free here: No Cost Training