Foundations Of A Sale: The Importance Of Energy, Belief, Like, And Trust
Many people are intimidated by the thought of learning about sales. Don’t be. It’s not that complicated. In fact, the basics can be boiled down to the understanding and application of two simple concepts. First, selling is primarily a transfer of energy and belief. Second, customers buy from those they like and trust. That’s it. These are the first building blocks. After grasping these, your foundation will be set.
The Importance Of Persuasion
Let’s back up a moment. Would it benefit you to be better at sales? Would you like to hire more effective salespeople? Maybe these are questions you have dismissed or not even considered until now. Maybe times are changing.
Why spend precious time, energy, and effort learning about sales? Simple. Time spent learning how to sell more effectively and recruit those who do the same provides an incredible return on investment (ROI). It is one of the few allocations of resources that has the potential to predictably, consistently, and even exponentially pay for itself in both business and life. Sales is the lifeblood of most companies, and those who do it better tend to go further and faster than their competitors.
In truth, nearly everything is a sale. Looking for a job? Sell yourself. Need to move more product this quarter? Better figure out how to sell it. Want your children to eat their vegetables? Another sale (maybe the toughest of all). Looking to roll out a new policy to the team at work? The more effectively it is sold, the more likely it is to be followed.
See my point? Persuasion is a key component of nearly every interaction and therefore also one of the most critical skills for effective leaders. Selling situations can’t be avoided, thus the best strategy is to become skilled enough to turn those opportunities into assets.
Hearing this, some seek to become experts. After all, if some knowledge is good, more knowledge must be better, right? This is a fine and understandable goal. Keep in mind, however, that mastering the art of sales, as with gaining true expertise in any subject, takes time, discipline, and a consistent focus on skill development. Put another way, the rewards are great, but the price is steep.
Most people, however, aren’t looking to attain mastery, but rather to learn enough to give themselves an edge. They are looking for the key understandings and quick tips that will provide the most value in the shortest time. They are looking to keep it simple.
The Simple Side Of Sales
Thankfully, as I mentioned before, the essence of sales is not nearly as complicated as most people think. It also need not be dirty or underhanded like many movies on the subject would lead us believe it is. In fact, the most effective and consistently successful salespeople I’ve worked with over the years have been some of the most honest as well. They have no need to rely on tricks and arm-twisting because they truly understand people and instead focus on building relationships to close deals. They also understand the value of keeping things simple.
The good news is that those who learn even the basics of sales theory and then mix it with a bit of understanding and some practice can make significant performance improvements in a rapid fashion. I find business leaders are also often able to leverage this same information to efficiently hire far more effectively.
Sales Is A Transference Of Energy And Belief
The study of persuasion begins with recognition that effective selling involves more than a simple transfer of goods and services. Sales is, in fact, a transfer of energy and belief. Zig Ziglar, one of my role models in the selling profession, reinforced this concept when he said, “Sales is essentially a transfer of feelings.” That’s right – feelings, not products.
In any conversation, one person’s feelings tend to transfer to the other and, as a result, both parties have a shared experience. Someone ‘bought’ what the other was ‘selling’. Intentional or not, it happens. One way or another, a sale is being made.
Consider this common example from the workplace:
Jerry, a long-term employee at Negative Energy Corp., had a good weekend and arrives at work in a decent mood. He innocently stops by the front desk, smiles, and asks the attendant, Beth, “How’s it going?” Beth shakes her head and says, “It’s Monday,” in a grumbly and defeated tone. Jerry’s shoulders visibly drop, his tone lowers, and he responds, “Yeah, it is,” as he walks slowly to his desk. Sale made.
Jerry’s friend Joan is a long-term employee at Positive Energy Corp., one of Negative Energy Corp.’s competitors. She had a tough weekend and comes into work feeling stressed. She also stops at the front desk, tries her best to smile, and asks Bob, their attendant, how it’s going. Bob gives a welcoming smile and, speaking in an upbeat tone, says, “The sun is shining and I’m doing great! We’re going to have a great day!” Joan’s shoulders lift, she smiles, and heads to her cubicle in a better mood. Sale made!
Does this sound familiar? Who do you think will be more productive today – Jerry or Joan? What about Beth and Bob? As you can imagine, it doesn’t take very many of these ‘sales’ to impact your business in one direction or the other.
A number of key insights regarding the power of energy and belief can be drawn from examples such as these.
- Energy and belief are different, but connected.
Energy is often thought of as the ‘vibe’ of a person. It can be high or low, positive or negative. It can draw people in or drive them away.
Passion and excitement are the outpourings of belief. When we truly believe in something, we tend to get very excited and want to share it with others. It does not stay hidden. When we aren’t enthused about something, it will often come across to others as bland and boring.
All of these responses have a huge effect on those around us and on our overall performance.
Successfully persuading others is strongly correlated to passionately representing yourself and your product and consistently interacting with a high level of positive energy. Effective leaders and strong sellers both do this.
- Nearly every interaction results in a transfer of energy, whether good or bad.
We tend to feel differently after we’ve interacted with other people than we did beforehand. Maybe a little better, maybe a little worse, but rarely the same. The reason is simple: someone was persuaded and energy was transferred. In other words, however subtly, somebody was sold.
Since these exchanges are constantly happening, it behooves us to make them as positive as possible. To do that, it helps to understand that the majority of people in broad terms could be classified as either energy drainers or energy givers.
The differences between the two are fairly easy to recognize and I’ve found them to be surprisingly predictive of broader behavior. Energy drainers seem to carry a magnetic cloud of drama, negativity, and excuses around with them. In contrast, energy givers build relationships, push companies forward, and find ways to win. All of the best salespeople I know are energy givers.
- Energy and belief are decisions, not skills.
To many of those I teach, this is one of the most difficult points to accept. It does not take training to be passionate about something, nor do we have to learn how to be energized and excited. These are choices. They are yes/no decisions.
If you want to test this, ask a sports fan about their favorite team, a kid about their favorite video game, or a cinephile about their favorite movie, and watch what happens. The most introverted person will become animated and their eyes will light up as they speak. This tells you energy can be triggered. We must simply choose to activate it. Actors, comedians, musical artists, speakers, poets, and more do it all the time.
Want more revenue? Make sure you and your team keep the passion and energy switches flipped to ‘on’ whenever you’re ‘on stage.’
People Buy From People They Like And Trust
Just as selling is about more than goods and services, buying is about more than just price and calculated value. Of course, these things play a role, but, contrary to popular opinion, they are not what comes first. Rarely will a customer buy something, even when it’s a great deal, from someone they can’t stand or don’t feel comfortable with. Why? Because, first and foremost, customers buy from those they like and trust.
I encountered a clear example of this while shopping for a computer recently. I completed my initial research, narrowed my search, and decided to visit two stores to ask a few questions before making a final decision. In both cases, I arrived at the store, walked over to the computers, and was approached by an employee. That is where the similarities ended.
At the first store, the employee asked a total of one question, told me which computer he believed I should buy, and shared that he was the manager and that he could get me the best deal. When I asked my questions, he told me he wasn’t sure and that information wasn’t a big deal anyway. The entire time we spoke, I felt condescended to and like I was inconveniencing him.
After that experience, I was nervous heading into the second store. Thankfully this experience couldn’t have been more different. The associate asked me several qualifying questions to determine my needs, took me to the unit I was interested in, offered a number of informed options, and competently answered my questions. Interestingly, he did so in about the same amount of time I spent with the associate at the first store. While speaking with the second associate, I had confidence that he knew his stuff and that he had my best interest in mind.
As a result of my experiences, I purchased the computer from the second store, even though it actually cost a bit more to do so. Why? Because the salesperson worked hard to build a relationship with me in a short period of time, I liked him and trusted that he was making sure I got what I needed, and I felt comfortable that I had support for any future questions or issues.
Have you had a similar experience? Which associate do you believe was more likely to meet their sales goals that month? It quickly becomes clear that the attitude and knowledge a salesperson holds will make a huge difference in their results.
The lessons learned while considering the impact of building like and trust are surprisingly similar to those related to the power of energy and belief.
- Like and trust are different, but connected.
Zig Ziglar said, “If people like you, they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you.” Like nearly always precedes trust. Those who sincerely engage, and demonstrate they care, gain the time they need to ask questions, share information, and earn the trust needed to make a sale.
- Caring about others makes a difference in most situations.
The best salespeople build relationships, and they do so very quickly. They accomplish this by being sincere, engaging with their customer, and sharing pertinent knowledge at the right moments.
- Developing like and trust is a skill that can be learned.
I frequently encounter those who assume that someone is either a ‘people person’ or they’re not. While my experience shows that some have more of a natural inclination towards relationship building than others, it also shows that nearly anyone can become more effective, and in fact excel, in these areas with training. Several top performers I know added the ‘personality piece’, as we called it, well after they started selling.
Putting The Building Blocks To Use
Energy. Belief. Like. Trust. With an understanding of these four words as our foundation, where do we go from here? How do we keep it simple, but make it work for us?
- Turn on your ENERGY: Be conscious every time you interact that you are on stage, and decide to ‘flip the switch’. People are drawn to those with higher energy and positive attitudes. Seek out energy givers and associate with them.
- Find your BELIEF: Uncover the passion in whatever you do. There is some part of what you do that you like. Find it, focus on it, and use it to fuel your excitement when you talk to people. Maybe your passion isn’t about a product, but is actually about helping others. Use that.
- Discover what you LIKE: One easy way to help others connect with you is to find something you like about them. The easiest way to do this is to ask questions, so learn to ask great ones.
- Gain knowledge to build TRUST: Having the right knowledge and being able to share it with clients at the right moment will allow you to solve problems they aren’t yet aware they have.
Simple doesn’t mean easy, but you got this! Keep a close eye on these four items and I’m confident you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results. Let me know how it goes!
What’s that? You have more questions?
Perfect! Discussion is what we’re all about. Ask your questions in the comments, send them via email, use a blanket and send smoke signals (no guarantees our translators will interpret those
Ask your questions in the comments, send them via email, use a blanket and send smoke signals (no guarantees our translators will interpret those properly though. Is there an app for that? New startup idea!), engage with the community, etc.
We want to hear from you. Who knows, you may even see your question as the topic of a future post!
Subscribe to the LML Insider
Subscribe to the Leaders Must Lead Insider to get our latest updates.
2033 Medford Rd. Ste. 294 Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Copyright © 2016 Leaders Must Lead