Have you ever been in front of salesperson who appeared to be desperate for the sale? Assuming so, how did they make you feel? Were you comfortable? Did they have a strong personal presence? Could you see this person becoming “your trusted advisor?”
Desperate salespeople in desperate companies tend to be perceived as lacking confidence in themselves and their products. Their sales advice becomes automatically suspect. During negotiations, such sellers make unnecessary concessions, cave in on price too easily, and cater to unreasonable demands from customers. Keeping a mindset of being financially independent is the first step toward insuring that you never appear too hungry in front of a prospect. It will also help you to maintain your self esteem and confidence, long after your encounter with the prospect is over.
The obvious problem with NEEDING the sale in order to pay your mortgage, or your groceries, or make a car payment is that a prospect can smell that need, just like a shark smells blood. Many people tell me that they only shop for a car on the last day of the month because they believe the dealerships are feverishly trying to meet their monthly quotas and will accept smaller profits. Real estate agents say that empty houses command smaller asking prices for the obvious reason that the buyer knows that the seller is desperate.
Selling is a tough business. Especially in the early years when you are trying to establish a client base. Those who have the guts to work on commission alone and forgo the short term security of a salary, will likely face some lean months. Combine that with the emotional rollercoaster - a big sale followed by a dry spell; another sale, and another dry spell. That constant stress of wondering if you will be able to pay your bills that month can begin to prey on your mind. Truly, the salesperson has a lot of good reasons for greeting a potential customer with sweaty palms. Selling is not for the faint of heart.
Nonetheless, remember the one helpful Sandler concept: regardless of the size of your bank account, your attitude in front of a prospect must be this: “I’m financially independent and I don’t NEED the business.” Another way to put it is: “Mr. Prospect, I believe I can help you out, and I hope we end up doing business together, but if you decide against that, I’ll be fine. (And either way, I’m eating steak tonight.”) If you find yourself wanting or needing the sale more than your prospect you’re probably not going to come out a winner.
The best way to avoid sales desperation is to keep your own financial house in order. If your commissions are particularly good one month, don’t spend the extra money. Instead, budget your financial minimum. Take a steady draw each month at a level you can sustain year round, no matter how large or small your monthly check is. Beyond that very necessary fiscal discipline, most important thing is to create the belief and persona that you want the sale, but you don’t need it. B4
Mitch Schaefer has a knack for greeting Fortune 100 executives and small retail shop owners with the same convivial, effective manner. Much of this comes from his 25 years spent with American Express Company in various sales, marketing, and operations capacities. When he finally left in 2007, Schaefer was American Express’ vice president in charge of client management, responsible for $300 million in annual sales, with the aid of his account manager team.
Then in 2007, Schaefer became interested by the Sandler Sales System. Using many of their techniques and many more brought from his own experience, he launched the Schaefer Training and Development Group in Hackensack. His clients range from the Fortune 500 firms to small entrepreneurs.
Schaefer grew up in Brooklyn, New York, where he first gleaned his instructive skills from his mother, a teacher of 40 years. He attended the University of Maryland, graduating with a bachelor’s in business and marketing in 1980. The above article is one Schaefer modified from a Sandler Systems training text.