THE MOST IMPORTANT SALES BOOK YOU WILL EVER READ
Part 1 – Learn this…
This section is about sales broadly, and also contains some communication tips that can multiply your agreements.
“Sales” is defined by Dictionary.com as: the exchange of a commodity for money; the action of selling something.
This definition is deficient and misleading. This definition is the reason why so many people have a poor understanding of sales. By reading this definition you would think that sales is about money, or about commodities. But it is not.
Sales is not about money. Sales is not about products. Sales is about PEOPLE. If you think that sales is about anything other than people, you are setting yourself up for failure.
Sales is about people. Sales skills are people skills, and people skills are sales skills. Sales is about creating relationships, and life is about creating relationships. The art of creating healthy relationships is intimately tied to the art of sales, and vice versa.
Sales skills will help you create relationships, build and strengthen relationships, define relationships, and enjoy relationships, even when you have nothing to gain from those relationships.
The sales process doesn’t start when you pick up the phone or when you meet the potential customer face to face. The sales process starts way before that.
In fact your next sale has already begun, your next sale starts RIGHT NOW! The truth is that every one of us is selling every single day: sales is simply about getting to an agreement.
I want you to start making choices in the present moment that will set you up for more successes and more agreements. And the key word here is authenticity.
Sales is not just about your “pitch” or your script, it is in everything you do. It is your approach, your tone of voice, the tempo with which you speak, your eyes, your smile, your attire, your appearance, your energy. I say this not to make you insecure about all of these things, but I want you to be aware of them. Sales is the energy that you bring to every interaction. People feel your energy before you open your mouth. Your energy introduces you before you say a word.
Your smile is your logo, your personality is your brand, how you leave others feeling after an interaction with you is your trademark.
– Jay Danzie
It is important to know that there is no perfection in any of these things… There is no perfect script that will guarantee a sale, there is no particular outfit, no hairstyle or “perfect close” that you can rely on without fail. The answer is authenticity.
The salesperson who is most comfortable with themselves will usually win.
The sales person who has authentic, confident energy will attract a more authentic and engaging interaction with the customer, and that will attract success.
I know some of you may be thinking about people who are not authentic who have had some success in sales. There are, of course, exceptions to every rule, and this one is no different. Some talented liars can have some success in sales by being inauthentic, but I would argue that their success is limited in scope and time, and from a broader point of view is not success at all.
I have said that sales is about creating relationships and enjoying relationships, and for the highest success this must include the relationship you have with yourself.
True sales skills will help you become more self-aware and more emotionally intelligent. As you learn about communication and learn to observe the subtle messages we normally miss, you will learn to see your own quirks and everything that makes you unique and different, and you will learn to accept it! When you accept yourself and love yourself you can accept everyone and love everyone! When you have a healthy relationship with yourself you can have healthy relationships with everyone around you.
This is an example of how sales skills can help you in EVERY AREA of your life! Instead of judging people and trying to change them, you can accept them as they are, and deal with them strategically and skillfully.
“When you go out into the woods, and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever. And you look at the tree and you allow it… You just allow it. You appreciate the tree. The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. And you are constantly saying ‘You are too this, or I’m too this.’ That judgment mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are.”
– Ram Dass.
Sales is not reserved for the most outgoing, most naturally charismatic among us. I have worked with incredible sales people from all personality types and sizes, from all backgrounds and races and religions, from all ages. None of your immutable traits are an obstacle. Successful salespeople exude an energy that is comfortable, confident and attractive as they are. Their energy is positive and magnetic; their energy draws people in.
Your energy is one of your greatest assets as a salesperson (and a human). Take care of your energy and you will OWN your next sales interaction.
In order to be a successful sales person of the highest caliber you have to be very careful with your energy. Some people do this intuitively and some have to learn this.
Throughout this book I will be encouraging you to look at yourself in new ways, to be honest with yourself, and to identify the habits, thoughts and behaviors that are holding you back from communicating authentically and clearly. Becoming cognizant of your energy will help your sales, and it will also elevate other areas of your life, which will in turn elevate your sales.
This book has some excellent sales tips that can be applied in your approach, your conversation and in your closing. But you will only achieve transcendental success when you see the bigger picture and start making good choices before you are in a closing situation. Positioning yourself for success starts NOW.
One thing this book will show you is that humans are not as logical as we pretend to be, and sales is not a purely logical interaction. Humans are much more emotional than you have been led to believe, yourself included. If you want to improve your sales skills and your life skills, you need to become more aware of the emotional aspect of communication, which is mostly seen on faces and in body language and tonality rather than in the words.
People will forget what you say, but they will never forget how you made them feel.
– Maya Angelou
You cannot communicate simply with numbers and statistics and expect to have success in sales or in life. Perhaps you have noticed this before… You present a logical case with evidence and facts hoping someone will agree with you, and yet they don’t. Perhaps you put yourself on a high horse and tell yourself that you are more logical than they. Perhaps you turn a blind eye to your own emotional investments in the situation. Successful lawyers and successful marketers know that successful communication relies on emotional appeals.
You would have more success treating sales as a purely emotional interaction like a child does.
For the best results, we are going to understand sales as a mix of logic and emotion, with emotion leading the way.
This is because people are not robots. We make choices every day, and they are not always logical. We cannot efficiently and reliably weigh the mathematical probabilities and costs of every option available to us, so we take shortcuts in this process.
People make emotional decisions for logical reasons.
This means that people will look for reasons to justify their emotional reactions, rather than use evidence to guide their emotions. This is a crucial fact of life that you have to understand if you want to be an effective communicator. You have to appeal to the emotions and the energy of your potential customer and support it with some logic.
Increasing your self-awareness and emotional intelligence will give you a boost in sales and in all areas of your life. These sales skills are universally applicable to all of your daily interactions.
From the business perspective: a business with poor sales is not a business, it’s just an expensive hobby. Selling is the heart and soul of the business world. Sales are the lifeblood of any business.
Because sales is about people, we have to understand that taking care of people is a sales function. This is one of the most misunderstood aspects of business. It is much more expensive to look for new customers than it is to take care of existing customers. Retaining customers is many times easier and cheaper than finding new customers—and you retain customers by how you treat them in every interaction, not just on the sales floor. Every interaction between a person and a business is a sales function.
How you treat people in every single interaction is a sales process. Customer service IS a sales function. Preparation and proper training IS a sales function. Employee morale and motivation IS, ultimately, a sales function.
Balancing this attention to people and attention to the financial bottom line is the key to a healthy and sustainable business.
Even within a business there are sales activities happening every day. If your human resources department doesn’t have a firm grasp of sales skills (clarity in communication, emotional intelligence etc.) then your whole organization will suffer.
Engineers, financiers and accountants should have sales skills in order to be able to work together on complex and challenging projects. I have been in environments where I needed budgets approved with signatures from people in different departments. Getting these signatures often required a masterful sales strategy! A signature only takes two seconds, but if you use the wrong sales technique you can easily be told that someone is “too busy” to sign! With a good “sales” strategy here, the same person will stop what they are doing to hear your request, sign, and then get back to what they were doing. With a poor sales technique even the most simple and mundane request can be turned down or delayed, and they will always justify it with some logical reason.
This also illustrates that sales is more than about a pitch or a single interaction, it is about the entire relationship, based on authentic and positive energy. This is sometimes referred to as “Relationship Capital” and we will teach you how to build that in this book.
This book is not just for people who are employed with the job title of ‘salesperson’. The lessons and stories in this book will help anyone who deals with people—either professionally or personally—anyone who is employed in any line of professional work, anyone who has goals or ambitions… This book a will help students, business owners, accountants, administrators, event planners, entrepreneurs, pastors, musicians, artists… it will help anyone who reads with the intent to learn!
This book is for anyone who wants to improve their life and has enough self-awareness to know that improving their life starts with themselves.
Whether you know it or not, you are engaged in sales behaviors every single day. If you want chicken for dinner you have to sell that idea to your spouse. If you are a good salesperson you will have chicken for dinner, if you are a bad salesperson you will have something else for dinner. If you want to go to a movie with your friends you have to sell that idea to them. If you go to a job interview, the skills on your resume are not enough to get you hired, your sales skills during the interview will play an important part.
Even the ideas that you call your own were originally sold to you. You are wearing the clothes that you are wearing because someone sold them to you, not just the garments, someone sold you the idea… your own style—your own taste in clothes and in music was sold to you by salespeople.
Can you see what I mean when I say that everyone is a salesperson and we are all paid on commission?
As we enter the rest of the book and we discuss lessons and techniques you can use to improve your sales, keep in mind that these lessons and stories apply far beyond an exchange of money for services or commodities.
The best way to practice these skills is to put them into practice all the time, NOT only when you think you are in a sales situation. If you want to make a sale you must build a relationship, and every contact you have with anyone, is a chance to build a relationship. When you have mastered the sales skills outlined in this book, you will be able to build a relationship with anyone, anywhere, in very little time, and that those relationships that you define and guide will help you get more agreements and help you succeed in life.
You will find that these sales skills will make you a great communicator, they will raise your emotional intelligence so you will be able to intuit how your words are making the other person feel, and these skills will allow you to make the decision to consistently make the other people feel good which will boost your relationship capital as well as put forth positive energy into the world.
I hope that now you can see the thesis of this book. I do not encourage you to hold the myopic point of view that the sales skills herein are your golden ticket to a larger paycheck, although I fully believe that can be one of the outcomes.
I encourage you to believe and understand that the skills in this book will help you connect with people more authentically, and to understand the art of communication so that you can get more agreements and you will be able to build/strengthen/enjoy better relationships with yourself and the people around you.
I encourage you to make the goal of reading this book: to become a source of positive and authentic energy in the world, so that everywhere you go, everyone you meet has a better day because of you.
Sound impossible? Just keep an open mind…
Don’t get discouraged if the tips sound difficult or strange. Don’t get discouraged if you struggle to master them at first. Many of these lessons took a very long time for me to absorb and understand and apply wisely and you should be prepared for the same. Be patient with yourself, try these lessons with friends and family, and shift your perspective between the “shoes” of the “salesperson” and the “customer” to understand the lessons and stories.
The final caveat here is that most of these tips can be applied and implemented incorrectly or immaturely to get the opposite of the desired effect. They may require some practice and discernment to learn how to apply them correctly. There is an entire section of this book dedicated to increasing your self-awareness which will help you put these techniques into practice correctly.
When applied incorrectly you may be tempted to lower your boundaries in order to please everyone. You may be tempted to say untruthful things to get the agreement. You may be tempted to take shortcuts to uphold appearances. In all of these cases, you are sacrificing your integrity and your authenticity, and you will not have lasting success.
Remember that authenticity is key.
I hope you take these skills and lessons and lead the most joyful, most authentic, and most fulfilling life you possibly can.
The goal of this book is to help you understand the different aspects of communication so that you can get your message across more easily and more effectively. As I have already alluded to, in order for your message to be communicated effectively you have to be concerned with much more than just the words you are using.
In this journey to understand communication, this first section here is about how to create a conversation that goes deeper than just small talk. This section will teach you how to get people to talk, and talk, and talk. Not in an interrogation sense, but in the sense of creating a comfortable interaction where the other person is enjoying themselves so much that they get excited, and say much more than they intended.
The point of this section is to make you aware of how you contribute to the energy and direction of a conversation without a huge quantity of words. This exercise is all about becoming aware of your power as a listener, and how you can create an environment that is comfortable and conducive to good communication.
I want you to be honest and take a look at yourself and the way your mind behaves during a conversation. Normally, our attention is divided between listening to what the other person is saying, and planning what we will say next, or day dreaming about something irrelevant.
All of our minds tend to circle obsessively around the same types of thoughts and the same subjects. Much of this is about our self image that we struggle to uphold. Most people are more interested in their own thoughts and their own self image than they are in the person they are conversing with. If you’re honest with yourself, you will notice this pattern is true. We are all narcissists to varying degrees. Recognizing the common state of self-absorption is the first step to overcoming it.
In order to be an excellent communicator, you must become an excellent observer. Challenge yourself to pay attention to all the non-verbal means of communication.
The first point of order you need to know to become an effective communicator, is to understand that YOU ARE NOT THE STAR OF THE SHOW. This is counterintuitive to most people who are not natural born salespeople. We usually think that in order to be an effective communicator we have to shine, and dazzle, and be loud and confident. Those may be some of the appearances that good salespeople have, but they are not the cause in themselves.
If you want to communicate more effectively… if you want people to listen to you… if you want to build a relationship… if you want more agreement and sympathy in your daily interactions… then you need to make the person you are talking to feel like the most important person in the world.
Don’t focus on yourself. Don’t worry about if the other person is interested in you. Focus on being more interested than interesting. Just focus on the other person and make them feel important. Get fascinated with each and every person you talk to. Talk less, listen more. Ask questions. Listen to the answers.
Make a game of it… See if you can find what that person loves to talk about, and try to ask the questions that will get them going. If the other person is talking more than you are, then you are doing this part well. (Hint: people usually love talking about themselves, parents and grandparents usually love talking about their kids and grandkids, almost everyone has a hobby or passion that they love to talk about and share with people, see if you can find it! See if you can make people feel comfortable enough to share themselves with you without feeling self-conscious!).
You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.
– Napoleon Hill
Listening is one of the most important skills a salesperson (or any human) can have. It doesn’t matter if you think you have heard their story a hundred times from other customers. It doesn’t matter if you want to skip ahead to your sales pitch. Let people talk! And listen! People love to talk and be heard. Treat each customer like they are the most important person in the world. They don’t know that you have had three customers today with the same story. They don’t know you are tired after 5 hours on the sales floor. Let them talk, and pay attention.
Most people try to tell their own story before the other person tells theirs. That is what I used to do. That is ego. That is weakness. That is not what a great salesperson does. We tend to think that our own stories will entertain the person we are talking to, but in reality the most entertaining thing you can do is let THEM tell THEIR story while you give them your undivided attention.
Get your ego out of the way. Learn about their story before you try to tell your story. Everyone has a unique and incredible story to tell, and if you apply the skills in this book then you will be astounded at the incredible experiences that people will share with you and the relationships you can build. I have met some amazing and incredible people in my sales career, and I have heard stories that made me laugh and cry and think deeply.
So often we judge people by their appearances, if we were to listen closely and allow them to express themselves we would learn that our superficial judgments say more about ourselves than the person we are judging.
I sometimes wonder at all the people I did not listen to and I wonder at the stories and lessons I missed out on because I was too focused on myself to listen to them.
Especially in short conversations, telling your own story is often counterproductive to building a relationship. It is good to share in small doses, and you can let your personality shine through in subtle ways, but learn to apply strategy to your storytelling rather than following the inclinations of your ego—your unconscious desire for validation, your unconscious desire for praise and attention.
Try to resist the urge to tell your life story or your opinions to everyone. Learning to see when someone is genuinely interested and when your opinions and stories add to the interaction will lead to better relationships and more authentic conversations.
For now you should be aware of everyone’s subconscious desires to tell their story and be validated. You have this desire and it causes you to feel important at the expense of the person you are dealing with. You should learn to listen to the opinions and stories of others and give them the validation that they crave and to use this skillfully to build healthy relationships and build your influence with the people you interact with.
Purposely withhold some of your opinions and anecdotes from time to time. Instead ask the questions that will get the other person to tell THEIR story and THEIR opinions. Listen to their story and their opinions, become engaged and interested in their opinions and stories. Give validation through gestures, body language and occasional word. Show that you value their story and opinions. And learn how to apply this skill strategically.
See how often you can resist the urge to share your opinion if it is not vital to the goal of the conversation. If someone is interested in your story they will make it known.
See if you can keep the spotlight on the person you are talking to as long as you can. Let them have all the attention. See if you can go an entire conversation without sharing your opinion, let the other person have the spotlight the entire time and watch them leave with a smile.
This is a great exercise for reducing your self-importance and putting ego in check, which has a plethora of benefits as well.
See the person you are speaking with as a REAL PERSON. Too often we get stuck in roles and characters and we forget that the person in front of us has hopes and fears just like we do. That person woke up in the morning just like we did, they probably wished they could have slept longer, just like we may of may not have. Or, conversely that person jumped out of bed on fire, consumed by their excitement and passion, just like we may or may not have.
That person might have kids or a significant other, they may have siblings and parents… They have their own unique combination of strengths and weakness, problems and fears, hopes and dreams that are familiar to us all! So silently recognize the human inside the person you are speaking with. Ask the subtle questions that will get them to talk about themselves as you listen and observe and learn.
If someone has an interaction with you, and they spent the whole time talking about what they love, and you didn’t stop them or interrupt them—in fact you showed them you were interested by asking questions, and you let them know you have things in common without taking over the spotlight… that person will leave the interaction thinking that you are a great and fun person, they will instinctually like you, even though you didn’t say much! That is a skillful interaction.
You may feel as though you are not taking a big part in the interaction, and it is ok to feel that way because you have taken your ego out of the equation, you are not looking for validation from this conversation. In fact you are freely giving the validation that all humans crave. You are in control, and you are fulfilling their unconscious desire to feel important and special.
It is the person who is asking the questions and listening intently who is in control of the conversation, not the person who is talking and responding.
You may feel as though what you are doing is obvious; that the person you are talking to will realize that you are just asking questions to keep them talking about themselves, that you don’t really care about what they are talking about. And if you are not careful you will send this message by accident. You can give thoughtless glances, or make thoughtless comments that show to the other person that you don’t care. This can be deeply insulting to the other person, so now we are going to discuss tips to be a good active listener.
When someone else is speaking you should make eye contact to let them know you hear them. But when you focus on eye contact it can become awkward and difficult to maintain. So try to look in their eyes but concentrate on their words. This may take some practice but you can do it!
Be the first to smile. It will help your customer smile too. Be comfortable first, it will help your customer be comfortable too.
As you listen to their story and opinion, make sure you are generous with your smiles. Don’t smile indiscriminately throughout the entire meeting, however. This will make you appear untrustworthy and fake. Watch the person you are speaking with for cues and smile with them, smile at their jokes and punchlines, smile when they mention a loved one… Learn this skill and master it.
Be very generous with your smiles so that you can smile and laugh easily, but don’t give your smiles away for free. Make the person you are speaking with earn the smiles and laughter, but lower the price of your smiles dramatically. This displays confidence, trustworthiness and friendliness.
Pro Tip: When you meet someone, don’t smile immediately. Wait a half-second, let them see your face without a smile, then smile warmly as you greet them. This will make them feel like the smile is just for them, and it’s not a generic smile that everyone gets.
Be an active listener. Nod occasionally as they are speaking, say yes and “Mmmhm” to show agreement.
Hone your listening skills, absorbing yourself in the words and nonverbal cues of others. You train yourself to read between the lines of what people are saying. You attune yourself to their moods and their needs, and sense what they are missing.
Ask open ended questions
Ask the questions that let them know you are interested and listening, and try to get them to talk about something they love, usually its themselves. This may sound cynical but its true. Most people can talk for a very long time if it is about something they love, and/or about themselves.
Remember you do not want to take the spotlight away from them, you just want to nudge them to keep talking. It doesn’t even have to be a question.
Some common ways to accomplish this are:
“And then what happened?” “Wow, I bet that was tough… or Wow I bet that was fun.. or Wow, I bet that was ____________”
“Did you like it?”
“Would you do it again?”
“How did you feel about that?”
When you practice this and get good at it you should be able to tell when a person is talking about something they love. You should be able to gently probe until you can detect the energy and enthusiasm in the other person, and then you know you have found something they love, now just let them talk about it and show them that you are interested!
As you ask questions and you listen to their answers, share things you have in common with them. This will sub-consciously build a connection between the two of you.
Remember, you don’t want to take their spotlight away, so just chime in with a short “Me too” kind of statement and let them keep going. They don’t have to be significant similarities, anything can do.
“I have a brother too”
“My uncle has a dog too”
“I liked that movie too”
The strategy here is to let them know that you are similar to them, that you have- things in common. People like to do business with people that they feel a connection with. No matter how dissimilar the two of you may be, there are always things you have in common. Your job is to listen to their stories and share any “me too” that you can.
The goal of this exercise is not to chime in with a story of your own. Resist that urge that most people have to share their own version of a story after hearing something in another person’s story.
Perhaps you have noticed this in other people, perhaps you have noticed this in yourself… People have a tendency to tell a similar story of their own right after someone else. We think that it is relevant because of some connection within the other person’s story. But in fact, what you are doing is stealing the spotlight back from the other person. That person will often feel slightly offended, that you are trying to “show them up”, that you feel your story is more important or more interesting than theirs. All that shows is that you were not listening, you were just remembering your own story. This can alienate people because their story did not get the dramatic effect they were after when someone immediately responds with their own similar story.
So share something similar without sharing a long story. In this exercise you need to learn to make your “Me too” point to build the subconscious bridge, and get them to continue talking.
As you are listening to them and asking questions and learning about them and sharing what you have in common, be looking for opportunities to give genuine compliments. Give praise generously, but only give genuine praise. It is much better to be patient and find something you can complement genuinely rather than try to give a fake compliment.
Fake compliments often sound fake and have the opposite of the intended effect.
Ask questions, listen, be patient and compliment something that you truly connect to. It doesn’t have to be something major, any kind of genuine compliment will do. Just like the smiles, I said you should not give the smiles for free but you should lower the price dramatically. Don’t give a fake compliment away, just be ready to compliment any little thing that scores above a 0 in your mind.
Giving a genuine compliment is one of the subtle ways you reveal your personality. Your choice of what to compliment can say a lot about you, since everyone likes something different. If you can compliment something dear to them you will score extra points.
This applies to the things that they say, but also to the things you can see or smell. Instead of telling someone “I am friendly and I am attentive” you can say “I like your watch”. This shows them you pay attention to details and that you are friendly, and that you have things in common with them because they probably also like their watch or they wouldn’t be wearing it. This is much more powerful than saying in your sales pitch “I pay attention to details and we have things in common”.
Pro Tip: Compliment their taste, their judgement and their decision making. These are areas that people love to be complimented on. Compliment them for thinking ahead and coming to you for their needs. Compliment their logic for observing their problem and looking for a solution. Compliment their taste and their judgment indirectly by using phrases like “I would have done the same thing” or “Where can I get a watch like that?” People loved to be complimented on their taste, their style, something that many people will not notice. But people are also very sensitive about their taste and style, be careful not to come across as sarcastic or you will offend people. But if you can compliment their taste or style or judgement you will build a connection quickly.
“Nice shoes” “I like that shirt” “You’re looking very sharp today” “Is that your car? I like it” “That was a smart decision” “I like those earrings, is that a feather?” “Can I just say, I think you look great, the way your purse matches your shoes..” “
Use their name
The sweetest sound to anyone’s ear is the sound of their own name. Use their name often. If you are meeting someone for the first time it can be helpful to repeat their name after they introduce themselves. If they say “My name is Susan” you can say “Hi Susan…” This can help you remember their name.
If you are able to remember their name for the second meeting, you have instantly strengthened your relationship. If you remember their name you will be communicating that you care about them—that they are important to you. Forget their name and you will be communicating that they are not important to you.
Use good judgement and patience. Use their name wisely, overusing their name or using it in appropriately will not have the intended effect, but try use their name at least once in every communication, especially in the greeting.
Use their language
Using words and phrases that the prospect has used will also show that you are listening to them, and will imply that you admire what they have said, and will emphasize similarities between the two of you. For example, if they use the word “awesome” or “epic” to describe their hiking trip, you can use the word “awesome” or “epic” later in the conversation to describe your product.
The unique words and phrases they use can tell you a lot about a person. It can tell you about their hobbies, about their age, about the geographic location they grew up in. Pay attention!
Whenever possible, you can give a small gift to the person you are talking to. You can give gum or a candy, or a pen or anything like that. It does not matter what you give, but it does matter how you give it. Timing is everything.
As you give the gift, use their name. Make them feel like the gift is personal to them, do not make them feel that you give this gift to everyone. You can say “Here Susan, I got this for you” or “This is for you Susan, it’s been great talking to you”.
If it can be spontaneous, that’s even better.
All of these tips can be applied to help you achieve your purpose: MAKE THE OTHER PERSON FEEL LIKE THE STAR!
However… If you are not careful with the above tips you can find your time is sometimes being wasted. Some people don’t need the above tricks to get to talking endlessly. Some people won’t respect your time. Sometimes prospects are not serious buyers, sometimes they are lonely and enjoy your conversation so much they don’t want it to end.
As a former telemarketer this was something we were all aware of. Some customers very easily get sidetracked and talking about whatever they want to talk about and they can go on for unbelievably long—as if they have nothing else to do that day.
We have to recognize when conversations are not serving our goals and are wasting our valuable time.
Guiding conversations is a skill. Ending conversations is a skill. Saying “No” is a skill. Saying “I don’t know” is a skill. Every situation and every customer is unique. You must have patience and tact.
My first warning is that you cannot let your ego tell you that you are so important that you don’t have time to treat people well. Have some patience. You have to learn how to skillfully and politely drive conversations so that you can protect your time and still make the person you are speaking with feel like a star.
As a salesperson you should never let the customer control the conversation. With skill and tact you can let the customer feel as if they are in control when you are in control.
If you find yourself in an endless and pointless conversation there are several tactics you can use.
The best way to gain control of a conversation is to ask questions. The person who is asking questions is in control. In a sophisticated sales process, you can ask questions in a planned succession to get the person you are talking to on the subject you want to talk about.
Start by asking open ended questions to hear the intentions of the customer. Get them talking and listen closely and learn all about them.
“What brings you here today?” “What can I do for you?”
And you listen using the techniques described in the previous section.
You listen and you find all the reasons your customer is unique. You catch some words and phrases they like to use, you catch their speaking pace and volume. You see their body language. And you continue to connect with this person and you continue to ask questions.
You should know ahead of time what your goal is and how to take the conversation in that direction. You should know the questions to ask that will help you get to your destination.
Maybe the goal is to set an appointment, so you want to get back to talking about the time of day they are available for the appointment, maybe you want to talk about their schedule for completing the purchase. By asking questions you can take control of the conversation.
As the conversation progresses ask closed ended questions that guide the conversation where you want it to go:
“Have you thought about switching cell phone carriers before?” “Are you looking for a cable service with less outages and interruptions?” “Have you thought about your perfect life insurance policy before?”
As a salesperson who is on the clock, your time is too valuable to waste with non-serious customers. If your questions reveal that you are dealing with someone who is not a serious customer, you must try to get out of that conversation.
You can shift the blame to your boss and tell customers “I have to get back to work” or “I have to something urgent to attend to right now”. End with a greeting. You could say “I have really enjoyed talking with you.”
Perhaps reference something specific from your conversation to show again you were listening. Wish them good luck with something.
Don’t be afraid to tell the customer that you cannot help them if you cannot help them. It would be great if you could refer them to someone else who can help them, even if it’s another company.
You teach people how to treat you by what you accept. If a person wastes ten minutes of your time, eight minutes was your fault. If you start to feel disrespected or that someone is getting the wrong idea from your friendliness, take the conversation back where it needs to go. And if that doesn’t work, end the conversation firmly.
Underneath all of these rules, you must have the confidence and skill and freedom to walk away from any conversation you need to on the best possible terms with your customer.
Keep control of the conversations and you will be able to respect your time, respect your boundaries, and have more successful interactions.
And we have talked briefly about ending conversations tactfully as needed.
Now we can talk about tips and tricks and processes that apply to the duration of the conversation.
As a social animal, humans have evolved some strange social features. One of these that often goes unnoticed is the “permeability of emotions.”
It is very difficult to perceive the thoughts or others, but it is quite easy to pick up on their moods and emotions. This came about because it is advantageous for early humans in the forests and on the savannah to know when someone is alarmed or uneasy, to know if something is bothering someone near us. This is an ability that you have that you may have been ignoring until now. As social animals we are very receptive to the moods of others.
Pay more attention to the moods of the people around you, which is shown in their tone of voice, their body language, their gestures and their posture. Try to pick up on their mood before paying attention to what they are saying.
Normally, most of our attention and trust is given to what people say. However, more often than not, this serves to disguise what they are truly feeling and thinking. People can lie with their words, but very rarely with their bodies. This is the basis of lie detectors. People can choose their words and put forth a pretty picture, but their body language, their twitches and inadvertent glances, their facial expressions and their tone of voice will reveal their truth.
Learning to read body language and non-verbal cues will reveal what people are trying to emphasize or hide with their words, and will reveal deeper levels of nuanced communication.
All of this is a way to strengthen and become more aware of your innate ability to pick up on the moods of others. Its not that you have to learn this skill, you simply need to become aware of it. Everyone, everywhere, is subconsciously receptive to the moods and the energy of those around them.
If you observe and understand the permeability of human emotions, you will come to realize that you have the power to subtly infuse the appropriate mood for the conversation. You will see that the most effective way to influence a conversation is to change YOUR OWN moods and attitudes. If you are in a relaxed and positive mood, you will subtly infuse the room and the conversation with that energy.
Perhaps you have noticed this with people in your life. Leaders often seem to bring a calming energy to the situation and set the tone with work ethic and commitment to detail. Some fun people bring excitement and energy to a situation, and some others bring negative depressing energy to a situation. Learning to observe this energy will teach you how you can apply your energy strategically.
People respond to and connect with your energy. If you don’t connect with the person you are selling to, you won’t be successful. Feeling relaxed and genuinely interested in the person you are conversing with will have a positive, almost hypnotic effect, and will help you guide communications. Try feeling warm and friendly, imagine a feeling of rapport with this person, share smiles and laughter and commonalities throughout the conversation to create an energy of agreement. Create an energy of perseverance—that obstacles encountered through the conversation does not derail the end result of agreement; you keep advancing and working on problems together. Show a lack of fear and insecurity, instill confidence in yourself and in the solutions you are offering, and show an all-encompassing openness to new ideas for great communication.
Every communication is an exchange of energy. Sales is a transfer of enthusiasm.
Don’t be an energy drain. Don’t be a “Negative Nancy” or “Debbie Downer”. Do not be a black hole of energy and enthusiasm.
Some people would argue that the energy they bring to a conversation is a result of their circumstances. They would say that if they are tired they cannot help but bring a tired energy to the conversation, if they are upset they cannot help but bring and anxious and angry energy to the conversation.
But this belief does not hold up to scrutiny, and we will discuss it more later in the book.
Humans are the only creature on earth that can think a thought and make themselves angry, or think a thought and make themselves happy. You were not given this ability so that you can ignore it and blame your circumstances for your lack of energy, lack of joy, lack of gratitude. Stop the excuses. Take advantage of this innate ability that you have.
You are not the product of your circumstances, you are a product of your decisions. Choose to think the thoughts that will bring you energy, joy and happiness. Choose to use the words that generate energy, happiness and positivity.
If you are not able to find something inside you to bring the energy every time, you will not be consistently successful. This is internal work because your authentic energy will come through no matter no matter how much you try to pretend. If you are sad and you are dancing, you are just sad-dancing, no one will confuse it with happy dancing.
Choose to surround yourself with items that help you be positive and high energy. Listen to high energy music—take some time to search out high energy music that YOU like. Read positive literature or poetry. Surround yourself with happy photos and images. Put them on your phone, put them on your walls.
You must connect your daily activities to your highest purpose in life so that in moments of fatigue you can reconnect to your “Why”.
We have more techniques for you later in the book, but for now you should be aware of your energy, and aware of the necessity to bring the proper energy you need for proper communication. And because you want to infect those around you with your energy, you need to bring it in EXCESS. Generally speaking, people will perceive your level of energy at 50% of what you perceive your own energy. You may think you are obviously happy, but people are perceiving only about 50% of your volume. So turn up the energy within so that people around you can hear it!
BRING THE POSTITIVE ENERGY!
The world can be a depressing place with fears and worries all around us. DON’T become an energy drain! People need your positivity! Choose to become responsible and aware of the energy you are bringing to every situation. Bring the positive energy! The world needs it!
Focus on all the positive things around you! Look for reasons to celebrate the everyday normal things! Bring passion and enthusiasm to everything you do!
Get more comfortable with all the positive words in the dictionary.
If you are meeting a potential customer greet them like you mean it! Are you happy to see them? Let them know! You would be surprised to know the effect of a strong and enthusiastic greeting—it can change someone’s whole day! So greet whoever it is with energy and enthusiasm. If they ask how you are doing today, tell them you are doing great! Or fantastic!
Think about this anecdote and how it can change the dynamic of a conversation: When someone asks me how I am doing I say “I’m doing excellent!” or “I’m fantastic” or some other exaggerated word. Usually people pause for a moment because the standard answer is always “Im ok” or “I’m fine”
STOP SAYING YOU ARE “ok”! Find words with more energy and more enthusiasm! Try it! It’s fun!
“How are you?” “I’m ok”.
Really?!? You’re ok? You been “ok” every day this week.. Can we get some energy? Can we get some variety? Can we get some enthusiasm?
“How was your lunch?” “It was ok”
“How was the movie?” “It was ok”
“How was your weekend?” “It was ok”
That is boring. That is an energy drain.
Think carefully about what I am saying. I know many of you are out there thinking “but the lunch was just ok, it was nothing special and it wasn’t bad.”
Change your mental definitions. Whatever numerical value “OK” means to you, translate that into “great”. From now on if something was “not bad” that now equals fantastic. Not bad = fantastic. Try it. There are enough words in the dictionary so that you can get your point across. Just stop the boring, common, black-hole, energy draining non-descriptions that so many people use ALL THE TIME.
The point is no one really cares exactly how the lunch was, or exactly how your weekend was. It’s just a social exchange of energy. So get to the point that you are free with positive, high energy words like “amazing”, “great”, “fantastic”, and “awesome”.
You don’t have to lie about the details, just choose to have a positive point of view of things. If you try this you will start to notice more things to be positive about, more things to be enthusiastic about, and over time you will actually have more energy, more positivity, and more enthusiasm, and you will notice the nature of your interactions will change, as people and circumstances respond to your high energy.
Some of you may be thinking, “…but if that’s not how I feel then I’ll be lying if I fake it.” There is always a reason the weekend was great, and always a reason the weekend was terrible. It just depends on what you focus on, what you give importance to. These are just adjectives, they are just opinions, and they are just points of view. The energy exchange that is happening is a thousand times more important than the details of your weekend.
CHOOSE to bring the energy because life is short and you aren’t dead yet.
Even if you have a negative experience, you can deliver it honestly and with positive energy:
“How was the movie?”
“It was great, I had fun”
“Would you recommend it?”
“No, but I had fun”
“How was lunch?”
“Awesome thanks for asking”
“Why was it awesome?”
“It was awesome because I had some free time for a few deep breaths… but don’t order the chicken, it was bad.”
Don’t worry about being obnoxious. In my experience we severely judge ourselves for showing emotion and energy, but if someone else were to do it we would not judge them so harshly. In fact we would appreciate it, and we would find ourselves gravitating toward those people who are free and exuberant with their energy. So give yourself freedom to display energy and excitement. It is probably appreciated much more than you think it is.
“For every sale you miss because you’re too enthusiastic, you will miss a hundred because you’re not enthusiastic enough.”
We are all drawn to those with positive energy… So if you want to get more agreements in your life, be that person.
For every sale you lose by bringing too much energy, you will get 100 more because of your high energy.
For every person who judges you negatively for your positive energy, there will be 100 people who are attracted to your positive energy and 100 people who appreciate your positive energy.
And for the people who respond badly to your positive energy, they are not really responding to your positive energy. They are responding to whatever is going on in their life and projecting it on to you.
People are generally dealing with emotions and issues that have deep roots. They’re experiencing some desires and disappointments that predate you by years and decades. You cross that path at a particular moment and become the convenient target of their anger or frustration… In most cases they’re not relating to you as an individual.
– Robert Greene
Pro tip: Once you have significantly raised your positive energy and you are a master at bringing the energy and have enough self-awareness and emotional intelligence to read the energy in the room correctly, you can learn to bring positive energy at the same level of the person you are talking to. You can skillfully connect with people of all energy levels, while still bringing positive energy. Being too loud with an elderly person or being demonstrative with an introvert will not help your connection, you can learn to be positive and high energy AT THE OTHER PERSON’S LEVEL.
In addition to bringing positive energy, you can go a step further and be MEMORABLE.
If you apply the techniques we have already discussed, you will already be quite memorable. Your deep attention and active listening will show that you care. Your ability to perceive and respond to the nonverbal cues will be set you apart. Your positive and comfortable energy makes your conversation a relative high-point for their day. Your use of high energy words, greetings, and salutations will be unique.
But now, we are going to take it a step further. You are going to be so authentically yourself, you will be entertaining, and unforgettable.
Today’s age of instant gratification and endless entertainment has left us all with short attention spans. A good communicator is aware of this, and without moralizing whether this is a good or bad development, they adapt to it.
You must hook people’s attention with the unexpected, and once is not enough, you must do it consistently.
Why be boring? Why be average? Why be mundane and drab? Why be forgettable? You are unique and amazing and it is your job to revel in your own uniqueness.
Find ways to be yourself unapologetically. Find your passions and be confident to express them with confidence, but without arrogance. Remember that you don’t want to take the spotlight off your customer. Therefore, this becomes a subtle confidence that you exude by knowing what makes you unique, and displaying it. We call this “Work your quirks”.
Think about it this way: you may not remember every sandwich you’ve ever eaten, but you are more likely to remember a sandwich with strange ingredients or that was served in a unique way.
You are the sandwich, and you have to stand out from all the other sandwiches.
First you have to be able to see yourself beyond your limited first person point of view. This takes emotional intelligence which we will discuss later in the book.
You need to consider your top three unique characteristics. You should ask friends and family and coworkers what they would say are the top three unique characteristics you have because they will likely be very different from your list.
Then you need to work on letting those unique characteristics shine in a subtle and professional way. Then you need to incorporate this into your personal brand.
A subtle pop of fashion can be a good start, like wearing a bow-tie or suspenders, wearing your cuffs a certain way, wearing a distinctive perfume or cologne. But don’t stop there.
You can use colloquialisms that are unique to your region, you could have a distinct sense of humor, or a phrase or way of speaking that is slightly different.
Never underestimate first impressions. There is a lot of research that shows how important first impressions are. People tend to make up their minds in the first 7 seconds of meeting someone on a variety of issues, and that it is very difficult to change this first impression. Romantically it has been shown that people decide their level of interest to a large degree based on first impressions. The same is true with potential customers deciding if they like the company or product or salesperson they are just meeting.
Take some time to create a memorable first impression as much as possible. This means being prepared, being dressed well, and being casual rather than desperate.
It is better to focus on a few key traits rather than dilute yourself across a variety of areas. This is true for your personality and your professional services. You want to be the first person that comes to mind for a certain topic. For example, when you think of the word “hamburgers” many people immediately think of McDonald’s, and when someone thinks of McDonald’s they almost immediately associate it with hamburgers.
So what is your “hamburger”? What is the word or issue or topic that brings YOU as the number one association? What is the first word that comes to mind when someone remembers YOU? Create a plan for how you present yourself that is tied to your brand and the value you can offer.
Give people a reason to remember you. People love having a story to tell. See if you can make your interaction so memorable and spontaneous and unique that your prospect will talk about it later.
Give people a reason to tell their friends or family about your interaction.
Don’t be so serious that you can’t laugh at yourself. Show that you don’t take yourself too seriously. If you are not willing to occasionally look like a fool, you will never achieve greatness.
Laugh! Smile! Don’t be sensitive! Don’t be easily offended! Exude confidence!
Information plus emotion or sensation makes a memory. Therefore, when you are giving information, it will be forgotten if there is no emotion or sensation with it. If you want to make a memory, giving the emotion and the sensation is more important than giving the information.
So give people information with emotion and energy!
Always be genuine, always be authentic. Inject your own personality and sense of humor into everything you do. Get your prospect to smile or laugh if possible, as research shows its harder to say no when you are smiling.
Don’t do this for anyone’s approval. Their approval is not necessary. But by being yourself and being vulnerable you are giving other people permission to be vulnerable and authentic too. You will be communicating that everyone is unique and that you accept them as they are because you are comfortable with who you are.
This is not for your ego. If you are expressing your uniqueness for your ego you will attract contempt and disdain from those around you. Expressing your truest self authentically and humbly is a celebration of life! And you will attract respect and honesty in return.
If you do not express yourself authentically, you are effectively wearing a mask, and this creates two problems. One problem is that if you do not love yourself and express yourself, you will be sending awkward and ambiguous energy into your life in subtle ways. Whatever is repressed or hidden in your personality will show up in your life as a coincidence. If you are not authentic, and do not love yourself and express yourself—however that may be—you will not achieve at the highest levels in life.
Furthermore, you are depriving yourself of the immense energy that being authentic brings. By loving yourself, and being yourself, and expressing yourself you are sending out your truest vibrations into the universe. This will attract your ‘tribe’—the people who respond to your truest vibrations, and your life will improve.
And people respond to authentic energy.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
In my former call center we would always remind each other that people have short attention spans. Especially on a phone call, if you lose the customer’s attention they are gone!
We used to always say that you are buying your customer’s attention 7 seconds at a time. You have to hook them within the first 7 seconds or they are gone, if you hook them successfully you have them hooked for only 7 seconds before you have to hook them again.
Ask them a question, say something funny or exciting, use buzz words, do something unexpected… continue hooking their attention 7 seconds at a time. Use your facial expressions, your gestures, and your tone of voice. Speak with energy and excitement. Use your hands when you talk.
A salesperson who is boring is a forgettable salesperson, and that person will waste their time and energy. A person who is boring and unforgettable in their everyday life will be underappreciated and envious. Don’t be that person.
Grab their attention! Keep their attention! Have fun! Be memorable! Be confident! Be yourself!
And finally, an important key to effective and successful communication, is to have a good idea of the “best case scenario” for a conversation.
Defining the goal of all of your conversations you will have greater control, greater maneuverability. Having control and applying skill will increase your success.
An idiot with a plan can beat a genius without one – Warren Buffet
Building a relationship is the crux of selling. Building a relationship before going for a sale is by far the most successful sales strategy you can learn. There are two compelling reasons for this.
Clarity is power. Clarity is also a key to the law of attraction. You should be clear about your short term goals, your mid-term goals, and your long term goals. And the first goal you should have is to create the right relationships with the right people at the right time.
If you are in a selling position, you must know that before you make a sale, you have to make a friend. If you don’t make a friend then it is not likely you that will make a sale.
Change your mindset: you are not trying to make a sale, you are building a relationship.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO PROFIT FROM A RELATIONSHIP TO ENJOY IT!
Sometimes that relationship will lead to a sale, sometimes it will not. Pushy salespeople who focus on money and sales are rarely successful long term. Desperate salespeople who use pressure and who don’t listen to their prospects are rarely successful long term.
And secondly, when you know what your goal is you can make your offer, you can make your close, and you can get what you want.
You need to know if your goal is for the prospect to set an appointment or to sign a check. You need to know if you need a signature, or an exchange of money. You need to define what a successful conversation will be before you can create that successful conversation.
We have discussed the act of communication in very broad, general terms. You should now understand that active listening will be a key source of your power and influence in a communication setting. You should believe in your ability to influence the energy of a conversation by consciously bringing the energy that you would like to see. You should be committed to giving the spotlight to the other person and making them feel like the star of the show. And you should have an idea of what the best case scenario is for you from that conversation.
Now we can get more specific and detailed. Here is a checklist of 6 essential traits/skills of the modern salesperson. You should build these traits through practice before you enter a sales situation. You can build these over time so that you can confidently claim each of these skills.
To be a successful salesperson you have to know what you’re talking about. If you are unsure of yourself or your product it will show. There is no way around it: you must be well prepared.
Experience is very valuable because you will learn the common obstacles, common objections and you can adjust your plan accordingly. There is no substitute for experience, but research is the next best thing.
Never stop learning: Keep your knowledge of the product up-to-date. Stay aware of industry trends, stay aware of new technology that may impact your product or service. Learn about how your product works and make sure you could explain it to a 6 year old. If you can’t explain it to a 6 year old then you don’t know it well enough.
At your disposal is the power of the internet. I think that this infinite resource is often taken for granted and under appreciated. You can learn almost anything on the internet, however we are conditioned to try only a couple google searches and look at the top 3-5 results. Sometimes you will have to probe deeper. You may have to watch boring tutorials on YouTube, learn new skills on the periphery of your niche, download and try different programs to increase your knowledge and abilites, or otherwise exert ourselves.
Find the industry leaders and learn from them. Analyze their work, dissect their processes. Identify what makes them so successful. Look at their work from different angles. Read their written copy, look at their images, brands, and color schemes they employ. Watch their videos, listen to their choice of words and the flow of their scripts. Observe their sales process and their sales funnel. Look at their social media, including LinkedIn. Read customer reviews—both positive and negative. Look for how they handle complaints or missteps. Look at where they advertise, which partnerships they have pursued, look at their brand positioning.
The internet is the largest collection of knowledge the world has ever known. You can become an industry leading expert in anything you want by harnessing the power that is in your mobile phone. There is no excuse not to be very knowledgeable about what you are selling or whatever activity you are engaged in or interested in.
This is one of the many reasons why it is a good idea to focus on things that you love. It is said that it takes about 10,000 hours to become a master at something. Whether it is playing a piano, or learning to code, or any other skill or topic, by the time you have spent 10,000 hours doing something you will be an expert in that field.
How hard is it to spend 10,000 hours on something? It depends on your level of interest. If you like it and have a passion for it then 10,000 hours will come easy. If you have no interest or passion in the subject, 10,000 hours will feel like torture. If you love something it is very easy to spend many hours learning and reading and researching about it. Whereas if you do not love something, it will be very difficult to spend many hours learning and researching about it.
It is very likely that you will only spend 10,000 hours on something you love. So find what you love and start learning! Start studying! Start observing the best in the field! When you find what you love, getting 10,000 hours of experience becomes easy. Trying to get 10,000 hours of experience in a field that you do not love will make you miserable.
If you find yourself in activities you do not love, or selling things you are not passionate about, then you should know that it will be very difficult to become an expert at it and that you are not on the path to sustainable success. You can remain there in order to learn skills and gain experience but you should spend your free time learning about what you love and what you are passionate about.
Besides learning and aiming for thousands of hours of knowledge and experience, you must know your own role in the process to perfection. Part of the requirements of “expertise” as a salesperson is to know what is required of you and what is required of your customer.
You must know the structure of your organization. You must know your role in the sales and service delivery to the customer. You must know the paperwork that is required, the process that happens before your part and after your part. You should know the common barriers and seek to prevent them rather than react to them.
For example, in our call center we would set appointments, and it was absolutely crucial that everyone whose name is on the title of the house be present at the appointment. Timid salespeople would casually mention this to the homeowner and hope for the best. When one of the people on the title was not present at the appointment they would feign surprise, scramble to save the appointment or reschedule or frantically look for a solution. Many of their appointments would fail because the person who was speaking on the phone did not understand the importance of all title holders being present. A strong salesperson will prevent that potential problem by explaining the importance of this clearly in advance instead of waiting for the problem to arise and reacting when it may be too late to solve that problem.
So you must be aware of everything that can go wrong, ranked in order of likelihood, and you should proactively address these issues. Be honest and upfront about common problems with your product or service so that if they arise the customer knows you are in control and ready to handle it.
Pay attention to detail to be known as an expert. Carry your own pen and an extra pen. Show up on time. Dress to impress. Know the process you need to complete to complete the sale. Know the issues and obstacles before they happen and have a plan for them. Be prepared for your customers’ questions and concerns.
Consistency will help you build a reputation as an expert and will prove to be invaluable for you. You don’t have to become famous, your consistency over time will communicate itself and afford you additional credibility and additional leverage in your interactions.
“Your true success in life begins only when you make the commitment to become excellent at what you do.”
– Brian Tracy
As we discussed in the first section, the energy you bring to the conversation is infectious and important. You need to bring positive, calming energy to a conversation even on your bad days.
It is easy to be excited and enthusiastic when things are going well for you. However, you cannot rely on external circumstances to dictate your energy. You must become a mature adult, who can control, and manufacture your own energy.
If someone else can decide what is happening within you right now, isn’t this the ultimate slavery? What happens around you is not 100% yours to control, but what happens within you must be your making.
You must be able to manufacture energy, even on your bad days. Don’t just accept negative feelings or low energy. You can take control of your energy. Learn how to motivate yourself, don’t rely on circumstances or other people.
If you accept negative thinking and negative energy as a way of life, you have just buckled your seatbelt on a sinking ship. Why would you do that? Especially when you have the alternative at your fingertips.
Blaming others is excusing yourself. Telling yourself that you – as an army of one – cannot have an impact is giving away your power.
Start by doing an energy audit of your life. Become aware of the ITEMS and ACTIVITES and HABITS and PEOPLE in your life that drain your energy, and the ones that boost your energy.
Is your environment increasing your energy levels or decreasing them? Are your habits leading you forward or holding you back?
Being physically active is known to boost energy levels. Getting a good night’s rest is known to boost energy levels. Eating healthy is known to boost energy levels. Proper fasting is known to boost energy levels.
Watching TV or YouTube is know to reduce energy levels. Not getting enough sleep is known to reduce energy levels. Excessive caffeine is known to reduce energy levels.
Do you have a favorite outfit? Favorite underwear or socks? If not, go buy some and when you put them on try to feel good about it. Train yourself to think the thoughts that will give you positive energy and enthusiasm. Count your blessings. Visualize positive outcomes.
Use high energy music or motivational YouTube videos. Listen to uplifting music first thing in the morning and before important presentations or communications. Here again is an example of the under appreciation of the internet. You can find endless positive and intelligent content on the internet, you can have virtual mentors in Tony Robbins, Gary Vaynerchuk, Eric Thomas, Felecia Hatcher, Sean Stephenson and thousands of others. You can literally have world class speakers, musicians, artists or business people speak to you any time you wish. USE IT! Get pumped up! Stop listening to music or shows that do not serve your higher purpose! Get a personal motivational speech anytime you want! You are not alone in this struggle to improve yourself and improve your life. There is no reason for you to wallow in self pity or laziness—these are choices.
Sometimes when you are feeling down with low energy, the best thing to do is to take your focus off of yourself and to boost the energy of someone else. Find someone you work with and check in on THEM. Ask THEM how THEY are doing, tell THEM that they look great, help THEM get excited for the next shift or next event. Do something kind for someone else. Don’t complain to them about your own energy or your own situation. Complaining is the worst thing you can do because you are effectively giving away your power to influence your mental state, your situation and your outcomes, and you are simultaneously bringin someone else down with you!
If you are naturally a low energy person don’t worry, having high energy interactions is a skill that can be learned and harnessed. Just like everything you learned in your life, it will take a lot of practice. When we learn a martial art, or a musical instrument, or a sport, we consciously practice movements in a deliberate way, repeatedly. By conscious, repeated practice, we become good at those activities.
Most of us know in general that we can become good at whatever we practice diligently. What we don’t realize is that we are practicing something every day of our lives. What have you been practicing every day? Have you been practicing complaining? Have you been practicing blaming others? Have you been practicing making excuses?
Change those habits. Consciously practice and become good at what you want to be good at. Practice learning something small every day. Practice awareness. Practice gratitude. Practice give compliments. Practice active listening.
To learn how to have high energy will take a lot of practice as well. Just be confident that it is within your reach. The only way to do it is to just do it! Fake it till you make it! Smile, look people in the eye, get excited over small things like the weather, or someone’s cool shoes. You can do it!
When you are feeling bored and unenthusiastic, just remember your “why”. Remember why you are working hard, what you can gain, who you can help with your success.
If you are feeling tired and low energy, perhaps you need to connect more deeply with your inner purpose and your passions. It is difficult to maintain enthusiasm for something you are not passionate about.
“You often feel tired, not because you’ve done too much, but because you’ve done too little of what sparks a light in you.”
― Alexander Den Heijer,
Remember I said the most successful sales people are the most authentic. That means your long-term success will depend upon your ability to look within and identify your passions and align your choices with your passions. You have to get to know yourself and allow your life to gravitate towards what you love as you simultaneously build the skills and techniques that will allow you to have success in building that life.
There are great tools and resources available to help you with this on the internet. Check for some quizzes and other resources to help you get in touch with your passions.
While you are working toward you passions, you must also train your mind to find reasons to be enthusiastic. It is an easy trap to fall into to have a negative attitude, to take the miracles that are around us every moment and turn them into mundane and expected phenomena. This is disguised self-importance, disguised ego.
To defeat this boredom, lower the bar of your gratitude. Make a habit of finding things to be grateful for. Lower the bar of gratitude in your life until you are grateful for the things everyone else takes for granted. Because you are, in fact, extraordinarily lucky to have them: if you have a bed to sleep in, food in your refrigerator, water to drink, and a mobile phone or computer and a house with electricity you are richer than 75% of the people on earth, and richer than 99% of the humans that have ever lived.
Think about that. Nothing is owed to you. Not your health, not your privilege, not another breath.
Don’t let anything be an excuse for you to live life without enthusiasm. Get excited about the small things. If you have problems paying rent or paying off your car bill, be grateful for those problems because you could be homeless, you could be walking, you could be in a wheelchair, you could be hungry.
Lower the bar of gratitude and let that gratitude put a smile on your face and put enthusiasm in everything you do!
Be grateful for your bed, and your pillow and blankets and let that gratitude put a smile on your face before you get out of bed each morning.
Train yourself to live with enthusiasm, to speak with enthusiasm, to act with enthusiasm. It sounds harder than it actually is. Just practice and get started celebrating small things while you look inwards and align yourself with your passions.
If you are honest you will probably find that there is room to improve your life in both directions:
1) You can align your life with your passions more so that you can have more natural enthusiasm,
2) You can make the conscious effort to train yourself to think the thoughts that bring energy and enthusiasm.
These two processes go hand in hand. If you think you can choose one without the other you will not achieve the greatest that your life can be.
Learn to create and build your inner enthusiasm out of thin air, learn to be enthusiastic about the small things,
do your best to build a life of authentic enthusiasm authentically by aligning your choices with your passions.
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
Emotional Intelligence is the ability to recognize, understand and manage our own emotions, and the ability to recognize, understand, and influence the emotions of others. Some say it is the most critical skill of all to have a happy and successful life. It is a common component to everything we have discussed and everything we will discuss in this book.
You must learn to empathize with the person you are interacting with. You must be able to put yourself in their shoes, to see things from their point of view. Learn to see yourself from the customer’s point of view and you will increase your sales dramatically.
Most of the time we see the world like a horse with blinders on. We think our point of view is the only one that is correct. And so does everyone else in the world! If you learn to step out of your own limited point of view you will learn more about the world in one day than you can in one year from your own point of view.
A great exercise to build this skill is to record yourself on video or audio, and replay it so you can experience it as if you were on the other side of the interaction.
Another great exercise is role playing with a friend or colleague. Take turns being the “salesperson” and the “customer”. Learn to see things from their point of view.
You must be able to read between the lines of what people are saying or not saying. The truth is that people rarely use words to express what they really mean or what they are truly are thinking, in fact often the words are used to hide their innermost fears or desires. Our egos and masks prevent us from being completely honest. You must learn to understand and empathize that people may be afraid, embarrassed or shy to say what they mean. Especially when they know it will offend or disappoint the person they are in front of. If you are honest you will observe this same quality in yourself.
A customer might say the price is not a problem for fear of embarrassment. They might say they are impressed with the features so as not to be rude.
As much of 90% of communication is non-verbal. Are you paying attention to the body language and other non-verbal cues people are giving you?
An emotionally intelligent person knows that no one can lie completely, they always give themselves away with their word choice, their eye movements, their twitches or glances or tone of voice. Learn to watch facial expressions and body language. Learn to hear the tone of voice of the person you are conversing with.
If you are talking too loud or quiet it will show on the customers face. Adjust immediately.
If you are using language that is too technical for the customer it will show on their face or in their questions, in the tone of their voice. Using technical language they don’t understand will make them feel insecure and dumb, or you will appear haughty and arrogant. Adjust immediately.
Body cues can give them away such as foot tapping or bouncing, blushing, putting their hand to their face. Turning away or raising their shoulders may all be indicators that they are uncomfortable with the conversation because they are not telling the whole truth.
Often a person who is not telling the truth or not telling all of the truth will not want to make eye contact. A person who isn’t telling the whole truth may clear their throat, stammer or change their pitch as if to try and sway your attention away from their lie.
And just because someone is not telling the truth, that does not mean they are a bad person or they are deceitful. They may be embarrassed, they may be uncomfortable sharing with a stranger.
A smart salesperson, and an emotionally intelligent person, can pick up on these signals and ask questions to uncover the source of these issues without making the person uncomfortable. Don’t force them to reveal what they don’t want to reveal. Respect their feelings and pay attention to ALL of their communications, while gently probing to IDENTIFY and ISOLATE their true source of hesitation.
Persistence is an admirable quality, but it won’t get you anywhere if you are persistent about the wrong things. The people you are persistent with must believe in you and are absolutely convinced that they can trust you.
Some people are very sensitive to perception of price versus value—they are afraid to feel as though they have been “ripped off”. They need to be sure they are not looking foolish regarding the price and you should emphasize the value of your offer and make sure you do not appear greedy.
Some people need to be sure the quality is high and so for their peace of mind you should emphasize the peace of mind that comes with the guarantees and warranties of your product or service, and speak about the many happy customers who have bought previously.
In my experience as a telemarketer we spent a lot of time understanding the underlying motives that would hold people back from working with us. We understood that any excuse a person would tell us is usually just to cover up the real objection beneath the surface.
I remember many examples where using emotional intelligence helped me uncover a customer’s real objections and move to a sale.
One example was a customer who we will call Charlie. He knew he wanted a solar water heater. Our offer made financial sense but he was still reluctant.
He would say things like “Yeah it sounds great, but I don’t think this is the best time, I can’t afford that right now, call back next year.” I gently reminded him that our promotion was a limited time offer and I asked what would make this a bad time for him to have a look with no pressure and no obligation to buy. But it wasn’t working.
He gave more excuses saying his wife wouldn’t be happy if he took this appointment, and that they were very busy. It turns out that Charlie had just bought a used motorcycle that his wife and his mother were very much against. The motorcycle broke down after a short while and his wife and mother ridiculed him for the purchase. So Charlie was telling me he could not set the appointment for a solar water heater because he was very afraid of looking foolish in front of his wife and mother again.
This was not what he told me at first, and understandably he was embarrassed to tell me this, just as he was embarrassed to tell his wife that he found a great offer for a solar water heater for fear of looking foolish again.
I told him “I understand how you feel, I’ve felt that way before myself I have spent money before that I regretted later and looked foolish in front of friends and family, I even spoke with another homeowner in your area who felt the same way, but your neighbor saw our presentation and found out that our quality is the best and our offer is too good to pass up, and he decided to buy, and let me tell you, he does not regret it. I’d hate to see you miss out on this offer. We can schedule a time where your wife and mother are there too so they can understand the benefits and the savings and there is no pressure and no obligation so you have nothing to worry about. If you are willing to give us your attention, I promise you won’t regret it.”
He agreed and he ended up buying $20,000 worth of equipment with the approval of his wife and mother.
If I had no emotional intelligence I would have said “Ok, I will call you back in next year and I would not have addressed his real issue. Or I would have tried to force the issue of price without understanding his motivation for delaying.
Answer questions directly and clearly: If you are asked a question and you give a “politician’s answer” – in other words, if you talk a lot and don’t answer the question – your credibility will decline, and you will hurt your chances of making the sale.
Humor is great for diffusing tension and apprehension, use it to calm people’s nerves and help them feel comfortable.
If a customer is angry you must allow them to feel angry and let them express themselves. Don’t argue with them about how they feel, that is not emotionally intelligent behavior and you will never win that argument.
As the salesperson—or just as a fellow human being—let them vent, then respond intelligently and take the proper action. Listen to hear what is causing their anger so you can respond to the right issue instead of addressing something that is not important to them. Sometimes just listening to them vent is enough, and there is no corrective action to take. Maybe they simply wanted to know their problems are being heard.
Don’t pretend you are perfect or have never made mistakes. Don’t take the customer for a fool, don’t call them a liar indirectly. No matter how ridiculous their story is—and trust me, I have heard some ridiculous stories from angry customers—just focus on finding a way forward, not on who is right.
You can show you’re truly paying attention by writing down the prospect’s objections and by only present solutions that are relevant to the customer’s needs. Do not stick to the script to the point that you are not addressing their issues. Ask them questions and let them tell you their wants and needs.
Pro Tip: Don’t be scared of angry customers. Angry customers are high potential customers. Anger shows that they care. In the past I thrived on angry customers. Usually there is the opportunity to change them back to your most vehement supporters.
Empathize with them. Listen to them, and agree with them, and when they are ready for the solution, go straight to it without demeaning them and without admitting fault and without escaping responsibility (advanced skill).
Listen to the underlying reason they are angry. Put yourself in their shoes, tell them you understand why they feel that way and that you would feel the same way if you were in their shoes. Then you can move toward a solution together.
Emotional Intelligence will also reveal to you the truth that IT DOES NOT MATTER WHAT YOU SAY, IT MATTERS WHAT THE OTHER PERSON HEARS. Learn to be careful with your words. It doesn’t matter what you actually say, it matters what the customer hears and understands. You must understand that people have different backgrounds and points of view, and each has a unique psychology that you should cater your communication to.
You have to tailor your message to the person you are speaking to. You cannot speak the same way to a wealthy older immigrant and to a young college student and think that your identical message will be received in the same way. Emotional Intelligence will help you see that each requires their own unique message. Becoming an active listener and a keen observer of body language and non-verbal cues will help you know when your message is resonating with your audience and when it is not.
You must be able to understand what moves people—what are their motivations. At a basic level we all have the same motivations, although it may take years of introspection and observation to fully understand this.
All humans around the world—regardless of race, gender, age, ethnicity, religion—share a few basic common fears and a few basic common dreams. We all fear pain, including embarrassment, including being judged harshly or appearing foolish… We all have dreams of being well liked and well respected, we want to have financial freedom which means we don’t want to give away money foolishly and we are embarrassed to admit if we are lacking money. We all have a self-image that we uphold and honor.
You can learn this through experience and honest observation, and you can research this topic online for greater detail. My point is that you must try to understand how those motivations are influencing the person you are speaking to in spite of what they are telling you directly with their words. Try to understand at the most basic level why they are here and what they are looking for besides a product, or what they are running from besides the price.
Closely related to EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE is the quality of SELF-AWARENESS. Self-awareness is simply becoming aware of everything we have just discussed operating in yourself.
Come to terms with the fact that you are not as free and autonomous as you like to believe. You do conform to the opinions of the groups you belong to; you do buy products because of subliminal influence; you can be manipulated. Realize as well that you are not as good as the idealized image of your self-opinion. Like everyone else, you can be quite self-absorbed and obsessed with your own agenda.
Take time to imagine yourself in the position of other people you know and interact with. Imagine yourself as the cashier you just bought groceries from, imagine yourself as the person who made your sandwich, imagine yourself as your customer. Watch or listen to a recording of yourself. How was your greeting? Were you enthusiastic and energetic? Or dull and boring? Or pushy and annoying?
Analyze your sales approach from your customer’s shoes. Use role playing exercises and recordings to gain crucial insight.
Learn to be careful with your own non-verbal cues. Don’t be rude by being dismissive to their concerns. Don’t smile at something serious. Don’t make a habit of “deceitful” gestures—if you don’t make proper eye contact people may think you are lying.
Gaining self-awareness is a crucial part of connecting and communicating effectively.
Salespeople have to be confident. People are repelled by insecurity and uncertainty. It’s natural. But there is a big difference between confidence fueled by ego and confidence that is backed by hard-work and humility.
Believe in yourself and believe in the solution you are selling. If you have a product or service worth a damn then there are some people who need you!
Put in the work to be an effective communicator and believe in your skills. Don’t be shy. Confident people help other people. They are not defensive. Help your colleagues. Provide value to your customer.
If you don’t believe in yourself then no one else will believe in you. Why would anyone buy anything from anybody if the person from whom they are buying doesn’t even believe in it? There’s a reason why confident salespeople are more successful, and why successful salespeople are very confident.
The ultimate sign of confidence is spontaneity. Having confidence will give you the freedom to take risks and move with the customer through uncharted territory. If you can be skillfully spontaneous, totally free and confident in the moment to surprise your customer and come back to your plan you will have a lot of success.
Spontaneity cannot be faked, and it comes from confidence.
Where is the best place to gain confidence? It is when you are putting in the work by yourself, in your free time when everyone else is resting or distracted, in the late nights and early mornings. Studying, practicing, and improving your skills in your free time builds confidence.
How you spend your free time will determine how far you go in life. Your free time is when you should be putting in the work and the effort to build your skills and achieve your goals and dreams. That’s where confidence begins. Build your knowledge and build your confidence. Gain skills. Watch YouTube videos. Research, read, practice.
If you have been doing the right thing when no one else is around then you can have the confidence to perform when people are watching. Then you can get a few victories in the battlefield you will continue to build confidence. And then more training and more work will lead to more victories and more confidence. So put in the work. You can’t fool yourself. There are no shortcuts on the path to success.
You must also take some time to appreciate how far you have come and how much you have accomplished. Don’t only focus on your shortcomings.
Reading a book like this should be a source of confidence for you. This is elite knowledge that most people will not seek out. The fact that you are reading this book and other like this book should give you confidence that you are working while others are not. You have goals and aspirations. You expect a lot from yourself. You are better than you were yesterday and better than you were a year ago. Take time to appreciate the efforts you are putting in.
If you haven’t been putting in the effort like you know you should, then start today. A year from now you will wish you started today! So do it!
If you believe in yourself then I believe in you too! You got this! Let’s go!
A crucial part of confidence is to not be afraid of rejection. This is absolutely critical for a success in sales (and in life).
Learn to move from NO to NO without losing your enthusiasm or confidence. A rejection is not personal. Don’t let rejection get you down. Even in a slump when it feels like everything is going wrong, you have to keep your head up and keep your confidence high.
If you have trouble with confidence or if you are afraid of rejection then set a goal to get 20 rejections as fast as you can. The first few rejections might sting, but then you realize it’s not so bad. Just keep going! It won’t kill you! Your idols have probably experienced more rejection than you can imagine and they found success by continuing to push through.
Confident people don’t accept failure or rejection. The more rejections you get the closer you get to a sale, but only if you keep your confidence! Laugh with your customer! Laughing is a great way of exuding confidence. You aren’t even in the game until you’ve gotten 5 rejections.
Believe in yourself and believe in what you’re doing to help your customers. You should know your value proposition so well that a rejection doesn’t bother you. You must have confidence that you are solving a problem.
Usually in any interaction in life the person who is most desperate and needy will lose out, UNLESS that desperation pushes you to a new level of confidence. Don’t be insecure and don’t be desperate. If you come across as insecure or desperate you can kiss your chances of success goodbye. Even if you need a sale to pay your overdue rent, do not be desperate. Trust the process and work hard.
Remember that you are not defined by any single success or failure, you are defined by how well you get up when you get knocked down. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. Don’t be afraid to make a decision or take a risk. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Most people do not want to expend the effort that goes into thinking about others and figuring out a strategic entry past their defenses. They are lazy. They want to simply be themselves, speak honestly, or do nothing, and justify this to themselves as stemming from some great moral choice.
We have already discussed certain aspects of body language to this point. By now you should be convinced that
1) That by observing your customer’s body language you can connect and understand them better
2) That your body language affects how your message is received.
But we haven’t discussed the specifics of body language: what to look for and what it could mean. We will recap briefly and add a third point now.
3) That you can consciously manipulate your own body language to affect your message, and your own body chemistry—both of which will ultimately affect your performance.
Body language and other forms of non-verbal communication form most of the communication process. Some studies have shown that up to 90% of human communication is nonverbal, meaning it is conveyed through our body language, our facial expressions and our tone of voice.
The movements and positions of our bodies which express our thoughts or feelings are what make up body language
By observing the body language of others we can connect with them better and understand and communicate to them better.
People continually leak out their true feelings and unconscious desires in the nonverbal cues they cannot completely control—facial expressions, vocal inflections, tension in the body, and nervous gestures. You must master this language by transforming yourself into a superior reader of nonverbal cues.
Remember that everything people do is a sign of some sort; there is no such thing as a gesture that does not communicate. You will pay attention to people’s silences, the clothes they wear, the arrangement of objects on their desk, their breathing patterns, the tension in certain muscles (particularly in the nec), the subtext in their conversations.
The thing is that body language reflects our inner mood subconsciously, not because we choose to display it. Meaning, if we feel comfortable folding our arms there’s something that’s bothering us and we subconsciously protect ourselves from it – and that’s the reason we feel good in this position.
Think about the word “thanks.” Generally this is a positive word. However, think about how you might understand it differently if the person saying it does so with a firm or curt tone of voice (or maybe while rolling their eyes). You may interpret it in a completely different way, and “thanks” in this context will likely seem much less positive.
Almost all of our social attention is absorbed by what people say. Which more often than not actually serves to conceal what they are really thinking and feeling. Nonverbal cues tell us what people are trying to emphasize with their words and the subtext of their message, the nuances of communication. These cues tell us what they are actively hiding, their real desires. They reflect in an immediate way people’s emotions and moods. To miss this information is to operate blindly, to invite misunderstanding, and to lose endless opportunities to influence people by not noticing the signs of what they really want or need.
The areas to pay attention to are:
· Eyes & Face
· Hands & Arms
· Tone of Voice
· Breathing and overall movement.
The most important cues can fall into four categories
· Displaying emotion
One way to know how someone really feels about the situation they are in is to watch their feet. People who are nervous or uncomfortable will shuffle or slightly kick their feet. They may also fidget with their feet or wind them around furniture.
When people are nervous or uncomfortable they may tend to touch themselves in what is known as pacifying behavior. They will touch their hair, their neck, their forehead, all in an attempt to soothe their nerves. They may stammer or sweat.
Happy people smile easily, and talk faster. A smile needs to fill the whole face. If you say you’re happy but your eyes are cold – even though your mouth is smiling – we will believe the eyes.
Angry people breath deeper and faster than a calm person. They may have clenched or closed hands. Crossed arms also indicates a level of unease.
Sad people tend to look down.
Little children who feel insecure often hide behind a piece of furniture or their mother’s skirt, seeking refuge and protection. As they mature, however, they cannot use these obvious and inappropriate means to cover their lack of confidence, so they create other artificial barriers to help them feel more secure.
The most known and common gesture for self-comfort is to fold the arms. Hugging yourself protects the vulnerable area of the chest, which contains the heart and lungs. This helps us to feel in control and protected, not because we truly fear to be physically assaulted.
“Correcting” or playing with the wrist watch or other accessories on the other arm. This is a self-touch gesture that also shields the body, and provides an excuse to do so. You can spot this gesture when someone is in tight spot, when he’s about to deliver a speech, for example.
Dislike / Like
If you are communicating effectively and are connecting with your audience, you should be able to notice a journey from strangers to a friendlier interaction. This journey can be observed through body language.
At the beginning is it common for complete strangers to assume a closed body position, generally creating some barrier with arms or legs or with the physical environment. They might close their coat or hold an object in front of them. They will usually keep a considerable distance from each other and moderate eye contact.
As the relations warms up, the legs barrier will disappear. They may get a little closer to each other and uncross arms or remove other barriers like sunglasses.
Next, people will start to gesticulate more and reveal their palms. The tone of their voice will change and will be slightly higher pitched and slightly faster than with a stranger. Watch for excitement in their face as they talk about certain topics like themselves, their family or their hobbies. Watch the momentum build as they speak for longer and allow themselves to change sunjects.
At this point you should notice that they are perhaps leaning into the conversation, and their body should be pointing towards the other person, not away. Watch the legs and the arms and the position of the shoulders. If they are interested in the conversation and rapport is increasing the feet and shoulders will be facing that person. If they want to leave the conversation the feet and shoulders will start to point away.
It is an observable phenomenon that two people who are communicating and are connected will start to mimic each other’s movements. When one moves their arm the other will too, when one shifts their body weight the other will too. This is a sure fire way of observing the subconscious connection and is a good sign for effective communication.
Leaning forward into the conversation indicates that this person is interested in hearing what the other person is saying. Leaning back would indicate that they are disinterested or felt superior.
Listening to someone while not making eye contact indicates that they are not really paying attention, but are waiting for their chance to speak. This gives the other person the feeling that you don’t really care about them and what they have to say and they may not to listen carefully to you when it is your turn to speak in the conversation.
In a sales scenario you should always show the body language that you are engaged and listening to the customer, and you should be very aware of their body language when you are talking. If their body language is disinterested you have to break the monotony and get them more involved by talking less and asking questions. Notice what makes their body language change for the better and the worse and try to steer the conversation towards the positive.
or example, if , she either will clutch her bag tightly or place it in front of or covering her body. When a woman is attracted to a man, she literally and figuratively wants nothing to stand in the way between her and her man. If she loosely holds her purse and it is not blocking her front, this shows she is at ease and feels more attraction. Better yet, if she puts it on the floor, a nearby table, or on the back of the chair she wants it out of the way for her interactions with you
The feet serve as a direct reflection of a person’s attitude. The key is . When the feet are pointed directly toward another person, this is a sign of attraction, or at the very least, genuine interest. If, on the other hand, the feet are pointed away, or toward the exit, that is a sign that attraction probably is not there.
Dominance / Submission
1. First, pay attention to the group dynamics: Who leans towards whom? To which direction group members curve their body to (or their feet, or their head)? Who makes eye contact with whom?
Most members will incline or turn their body towards the leader, maybe unconsciously to seek his attention and approval.
A dominant figure will be using body language to take a large amount of space and to appear taller and bigger.
- Standing tall with open chest and head high
- Taking space – spreading the arms, legs wide apart.
- Exposing vulnerable areas. “Hit me if you dare” – fearless attitude.
- Leaning back with hands behind the back – the “know it all” posture
Hands on Hips. Like a fluffed rooster trying to appear bigger and more intimidating
These are some example but there are many more, usually they’re the opposite to the defensive body language postures. It’s all about exposing vulnerable parts of the body and gaining a lot of personal space.
Women use similar postures only in a subtler fashion to keep a more feminine, delicate touch: keeping one hand on the hips instead of both, lifting their head high (exposing their smooth neck), walking in fast and strong strides.
Submissive body language involves “caving in” gestures and postures. It reflects defensive, reclusive or indecisive behavior. Submissive characters prefer to relinquish their power to others and avoid being in control. This means they will try to appear as small as possible and avoid making “a lot of noise”.
The reasons behind this behavior are plentiful: fear of command, complete admiration of the other party, low self esteem, insecurity or simply lack of motivation to act.
- The body will cringe to appear smaller and less threatening
- The head bows slightly
- Chest caves in.
- Doe eyes – wide open and innocent gaze
- Hunched shoulders – show passiveness and even sadness.
- Crossed and defensive postures can also be considered submissive and indecisive. When you cross your body you hinder your ability to move, and therefore you become more passive.
There is no genuine smile without a definite change in the eyes and cheeks.
Is the timing of the smile slightly off?
The big pause: Lying is quite a complex process for the body and brain to deal with. First your brain produces the truth which it then has to suppress before inventing the lie and the performance of that lie.
This often leads to a longer pause than normal before answering, plus a verbal stalling technique like ‘Why do you ask that?’ rather than a direct and open response.
The eye dart: Humans have more eye expressions than any other animal and our eyes can give away if we’re trying to hide something.
When we look up to our left to think we’re often accessing recalled memory, but when our eyes roll up to our right we can be thinking more creatively. Also, the guilt of a lie often makes people use an eye contact cut-off gesture, such as looking down or away.
The lost breath: Bending the truth causes an instant stress response in most people, meaning the fight or flight mechanisms are activated.
The mouth dries, the body sweats more, the pulse rate quickens and the rhythm of the breathing changes to shorter, shallower breaths that can often be both seen and heard.
Overcompensating: A liar will often over-perform, both speaking and gesticulating too much in a bid to be more convincing. These over the top body language rituals can involve too much eye contact (often without blinking!) and over-emphatic gesticulation.
The face hide: When someone tells a lie they often suffer a strong desire to hide their face from their audience. This can lead to a partial cut-off gesture like the well-know nose touch or mouth-cover.
Self-comfort touches: The stress and discomfort of lying often produces gestures that are aimed at comforting the liar, such as rocking, hair-stroking or twiddling or playing with wedding rings. We all tend to use self-comfort gestures but this will increase dramatically when someone is fibbing.
Micro-gestures: These are very small gestures or facial expressions that can flash across the face so quickly they are difficult to see. Experts will often use filmed footage that is then slowed down to pick up on the true body language response emerging in the middle of the performed lie.
The best time to spot these in real life is to look for the facial expression that occurs after the liar has finished speaking. The mouth might skew or the eyes roll in an instant give-away.
Heckling hands: The hardest body parts to act with are the hands or feet and liars often struggle to keep them on-message while they lie.
When the gestures and the words are at odds it’s called incongruent gesticulation and it’s often the hands or feet that are telling the truth.
- Timing of gestures: For the honest person, a hand gesture comes a beat before the words. An anxious liar’s gestures will follow the words.
- Palm-down gestures: Palm-down gestures during an interview are often an attempt to control and keep a tight rein on the conversation. Used in a standing position, these gestures are often an attempt to get you to back off.
- Ill-timed shoulder shrugs: Shoulder shrugs indicate uncertainty, so when a shrug shows up with a definitive statement it could indicate deception. For example, when a question like, “Have you stolen from your employer?” is answered with a resounding “No!” and partnered with a shoulder shrug, you may have landed on a hotspot. Beware – these shrugs are usually quite subtle, and one shrug does not a fraudster make!
Your body language affects how your message is received.
Your body language and posture can affect your intonation and your message. Even when you are on a phone call, body language is important. Your voice can carry your enthusiasm and your posture through the phone much more than you might think it can. Bad body language on a sales call will still hurt you, and good body language while on a sales call will still help you.
In our call center we always repeated the fact that customers can hear your smile through the phone. They can hear you if you are slouching. So standing up was encouraged, moving around and having fun was encouraged because all of this comes through in nonverbal communication, even on the phone!
Many studies on nonverbal cues have demonstrated the incredible power that a simple touch of people’s hands or arms can have in any interaction, making them think positive things about you without ever being aware of the source of their good opinion. Such gentle taps establish a feeling of visceral rapport.
Good posture breeds success. Your audience’s first impression of you is your posture and your position. One of the first key things people notice is, how you carry and present yourself; whether you walk and stand with confidence. Don’t be stiff and awkward. Practice being confident and relaxed. Identify people who seem calm and confident and relaxed and attentive and copy their posture. Look to some of the great motivational speakers and salespeople and watch how they carry themselves on stage and in interviews. Practice on video on in front of a mirror. Practice until its natural.
If you lose track of what your body is doing you will distract from your communication and all the audience can see is your body. Having your hands in pockets is not advisable, it is difficult to convey strong message from there. Hands on hips is overbearing and condescending. Don’t do the “fig leaf” posture with your hands protecting your family jewels. This is a timid posture and bad for gesturing.
Place your feet hip width apart. Look up and stretch your arms to the sky, get a good stretch under armpits, now let your arms fall to the side. This is your base posture. It may not feel the most comfortable to you, but it looks the most comfortable to your audience. This should be where you start from and where you return to before and after gesturing, with your chest out, shoulders back and head up.
Face the people you are talking to, don’t show your back. Find a position of strength within the room, away from distractions like windows, cars or televisions that can distract your audience.
Your non-verbal communication should be in agreement with what you are saying. If you nod when saying yes or shake your head when saying YES, we believe what the head is doing, not the words you have used.
You can learn to control the energy in a communication with your body language. In fact this is very easy to do. If you just get over your fear of looking foolish you will very quickly find that you can relax someone, or excite someone with your body language and your facial expressions and your tone of voice. Try it! It is actually quite easy, you can see and feel someone else getting excited if you become excited!
Gestures strengthen your message. Gesturing will help your audience remember twice as much from your message, and it helps you as the speaker to remember as well. Moving your arms is the biggest gesture your audience can see, you can either use it wisely or waste it on random gestures.
When gesturing, the smoother the better. People love fluid hand gestures. Jerky and robotic prepared moves are distracting. Practice speaking with your hands until it feels and looks natural.
The easiest and most basic hand gesture is numerical, or listing. ANY TIME you say a number, do the corresponding gesture–this makes your number easier to remember for the listener, adds movement and warmth to your body language and serves as a nonverbal anchor in the conversation.
Whenever you want to separate two different ideas or things or give options, you can use your hands to symbolically represent them. For example, I might say we are totally different from them, using my left hand when I say “we” and my right hand when I say “them.” This is a great way to put distance between two things.
When you bring both of your hands together, it is a gesture of combining and is a great way to symbolically show two forces coming together as one. You can even mesh or fold your hands together to show complete togetherness.
Any time we bring our hands in towards our heart or chest, we usually want to indicate to ourselves. I have heard speaking coaches tell candidates to gesture towards themselves when talking about anything positive to create a subtle connection to those positive topics.
Make a habit of showing your palms and your wrists more than you show the backs of your hands. Showing palms and wrists is a sign of vulnerability, openness and honesty.
And you can use “the chop” to deliver a strong opinion.
All of these gestures will help your audience remember details, but in public speaking, the best one I have found for memory is hands above the head. If you really want your audience to remember a specific point, stretch your hands above your head and your audience will remember that statement you are making almost verbatim. Use wisely.
Film yourself chatting with someone in person or on the phone. You might be surprised what kinds of gestures you use and how many you use during the conversation. Watch with a friend or colleague and have them give you feedback on your gestures.
Compare to the greatest speakers in the world and practice what you can add to your repertoire.
You can use your body to affect your brain chemistry and performance. Studies have shown that taking confident body postures even when you are not feeling confident, causes your body and your brain to produce the chemistry of confidence, and this can affect your actual performance.
Taking high power postures for a few minutes before your interaction will result in more confidence and better performance, even if you are nervous! Conversely, if you take defensive or timid postures before an interaction, your performance will suffer, even if you are confident. High power postures are superhero poses. Think Wonder Woman or Superman. Legs apart, chest out and arms wide or behind your head.
Taking low power postures for a few minutes before your interaction will result in less confidence and poorer performance. Low power postures are protective postures. Think fetal position, covering family jewels and chests. If you catch yourself in these positions, be aware that your brain chemistry is also adopting a “timid” chemical balance. If “timid” is not the impression you want to give then change your posture!
Some advice to make this work for you: Ditch your phone before a pitch/interview/meeting. Hunched or closed postures are low-power poses that will physically and chemically lower your confidence. Since we usually hunch over our phones while waiting for our meetings, we’re more likely to experience pre-meeting stress/jitters if we’re checking our phones.
Standing tall and broad like Wonder Woman or Superman is a great confidence booster before a meeting, but may look a little out of place during interactions with others. You may want to go to the bathroom and pose like this for two minutes before a difficult encounter. During the interaction make sure you stand tall, keep your shoulders spread and smile and you’ll be able to maintain the confidence you practiced just before the meeting. And no one will know that you created this confidence consciously.
Storytelling is one of the most powerful tools we have for engaging with people. For an experienced or semi experienced salesperson who may have already established the previous skills, this is the skill that can take your success to the next level.
The ability to draw upon experience, and present relevant stories is a creative skill that helps to establish a real connection with prospects.
Humans crave stories. Stories are how we make sense of the world. People who can tell compelling stories rule the world. Sales is about getting someone else to see the world from a different point of view, YOUR point of view. And stories are the best way to do that.
Stories are the most effective vehicle for driving behavior change that exists.
The best way in life to help someone see a different point of view is through a story. At the moment you’re tempted to tell the buyer what ‘he needs to do,’ you should instead offer a story about a peer of the buyer. Tell a story about someone who felt the same way as the prospect, and then had an experience that changed their minds.
Make sure your prospect can see themselves in the story. Cast your prospect as the protagonist of the story, or at least make a clear connection between the protagonist and the prospect. Use sensory language like see, hear show, smell, learn, demonstrate. Use their name to really bring it home.
The story should have a beginning, middle and end. Tell how the protagonist changed from skeptical to impressed, or misinformed to knowledgeable, or unaware to excited.
“George, you remind me of my uncle. My uncle is just like you, a very smart guy, very skeptical…. My uncle felt the same way as you do, he thought there was no way this book would change his life. He likes to really see things and feel it before he believes it. But then he opened the book to the part about storytelling and he read that one section. It made so much sense to him that he decided to read the whole chapter and he felt that chapter in his soul. It really resonanted with his experience. By the time he was done with that chapter he was hooked and he read the whole book. Now he buys 5 books every year, and gives them away as Christmas presents!”
Keep your stories short. An easy-to-follow success story is dramatically more effective than a long, wandering story.
Don’t over talk, just give the person you are talking to a short journey. Try it out! Have fun because when you have fun your customer will have fun, so let loose!
Everyone loves a good story!
· A good salesperson must be an expert at their topic or industry. They must know the advantages and disadvantages of their offer. They must know their customers goals and fears as much as possible.
· A good salesperson must have enthusiasm. You must be able to manufacture your own energy on your bad days.
· Remember that a human being is the only creature on earth that can think a thought and make themselves angry, or happy, or enthusiastic. So use this power and take control of your energy.
· Emotional Intelligence is one of the most important skills to learn for a successful life. Learn to manage your own emotions and motivations, and to understand the emotions and motivations of others.
· Use role playing games to gain insight. Record yourself and watch it from a different point of view. Try to empathize with other people in different situations. Spend time alone to observe your own thoughts and choices.
· Learn to read body language and hear between the lines.
· Exude confidence. Don’t fear rejection. Put in the extra work to master your craft.
· Use your body language and gestures to communicate with more power.
· Pay attention to the body language of your prospects to understand them better.
· Story telling is an art form that will help you keep people’s attention and change people’s minds. Humans crave stories. If you are able to weave stories into your conversations you will see greater sales success.