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Here at the-Coaching Blog-run by Gerard O’Donovan, our aim is to constantly bring value to those seeking to improve their lives. Therefore we have a policy of publishing articles and materials by guest authors whom we value and appreciate. Today’s guest author is Guy Anastaze (Switzerland).
As the true raw material of successful business, customers are the raison d’être of all companies. The need to take care of customers over the long term is a fundamental reason why selling should be considered as a process of coaching your clients.
Customers know in their heart what they want, even when their preferences are not fully conscious, or are not clearly expressed or even clearly felt. The readiness of customers in identifying what they don’t want can often reveal interesting avenues for exploring what they do want. Your role as a sales professional is – at every level – to help make customers aware of their needs, their desires, of what they love. Ultimately the goal is to make clear all available options, laying out realistic final choices and assisting customers in making a choice which will benefit them in the long term.
People are naturally resistant to change, and any purchase represents an act of change. As a salesperson, your second role should be to accompany your client through this change while measuring their ability to tame this fear of change, ultimately becoming fully and consciously happy with their final decision.
Setting out the choices for your clients and assisting them in accepting their final decision are the two central elements are central to the attitude which defines a successful seller.
What essential characteristics, then, might a seller draw from a professional coach to improve their capacity to develop strong long-term customer relationships?
These two elements of setting out the choices for your clients and ultimately helping them to accept their final decision – and the relationship between the two – are at the heart of the attitude which defines a successful seller.
So what essential characteristics can a seller draw from a professional coach in order to enhance their ability to develop strong customer relationships over the long term?
There is a popular saying in the US: “people buy from people they like.” Far from being untrue, this adage is inaccurate in an important way, failing to identify the deeper cause of the willingness to buy. I suggest that the more accurate phrasing would be: “people buy from people they trust.” You can be a wonderful person, creating a strong positive impression on clients, and still, fail to close deals. It is the level of trust in your relationship with your clients which will ultimately dictate their willingness to buy.
And this is one of the main reasons the sales profession is sometimes viewed unfavourably; too many people having placed their trust in someone only to be disappointed. It will make no difference – in these situations – whether the client could most accurately be said to have let themselves be taken advantage of. Developing a well-deserved position of trust, built upon the repetition of small day-to-day actions to reinforce this trust, is crucial to any salesperson.
Trust may take months to build and only seconds to destroy. All too often this simple and obvious truth is either disregarded or allowed to inform behavior in counter-productive ways. Beginners to the field of sales, for example, often avoid saying things which they believe might be disturbing to their clients. This reluctance to risk damaging the trust which they have developed so far is counter-productive and limiting. Instead of making proper use of the freedom afforded to them by the trust they have already established, these salespeople limit the strength of their sincerity, ultimately reducing the level of actual trust in their relationship with their client. In a true atmosphere of trust, one can say almost anything.
Trust is founded on three main components: sincerity, respect, and empathy.
Sincerity allows the client to have confidence in you, knowing that they can count on you, to tell the truth, even when they don’t agree with you. This creates an open, honest and enriching dialogue which will allow you and your clients to build together on a sound basis.
Respect creates a protected interpersonal space within which your client is encouraged to reveal themselves. In this atmosphere of respect, confidentiality can be established.
Empathy reinforces and deepens this sense of respect and trust, generating a compassionate communication environment. Empathy is intrinsic to all humans, even if some don’t use it as often or as powerfully as they could. Empathy can be developed and strengthened by employing a variety of methodologies, for example, Marshall Rosenberg’s Non-Violent Communication approach.
These are some of the essential characteristics which will distinguish a salesperson as a valued interlocutor, sought after by clients and considered among the best in their profession. We explore more of the fundamentals and intricacies of the sales profession in Authentic Selling: How to boost your sales performance by being yourself. What is the key to true long-term success in sales? Is selling an art, or a science? Why has selling become an unpopular profession? How can its nobility be restored? Above all, we explore why selling starts when the customer says no. Authentic Selling will equip you to unlock these secrets and more.
About Guy Anastaze
Guy Anastaze is the founder and CEO of Anastaze Business Coaching Sàrl. Combining 30 years of sales management experience at IBM with his passion for people, he coaches senior executives in their managerial practice, decision-making, and career management. He is the author of Authentic Selling.
He also supports sales teams in developing long-term business strategies, effective management of their commercial relations and increasing their sales performance.
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