KLT-ZigWhen I started in sales way back in the last century… too far back for comfort… the rule of the game was “Always Be Closing”. Great sales trainers like Tom Hopkins taught us 101 (at least) tricky lines to manipulate our prospects into a no-win situation so they would surrender to our awesome sales skills. Closing was the Holy Grail in mastering sales skills.

Times have changed. Maybe people are smarter or maybe

everyone has heard all the old lines and they just aren’t swallowing them as easily. Then again, it could be that with all the Internet marketing folks yammering away with their hyperbola and just plain outrageously silly claims, people are becoming jaded.

Today, sales success is based on relationships. Take the time to get to know people and give them a chance to know you; like you; and trust you before you ask for their business and you will be rewarded.

Everyone still wants to buy things. That will never change.

No one wants to be sold. That will never change either.

If you patiently answer questions and help your prospects decide what they want, they’ll trust you to facilitate their purchases… and their repeat purchases. When you understand the lifetime value of a good customer, you’ll agree that your patience was worth the wait.

The keys are: Know, Like, and Trust.

So, how do you find new customers today?

Let’s suppose you are selling a weight loss product and you are at a family dinner. Instead of bragging about your fantastic new way to lose weight, simply mention, “I recently found a way to lose weight that actually works.” And continue the conversation on a completely different topic. If your overweight sister-in-law is interested, she’ll pull you aside and ask for more information. Answer her questions.

That is a simple technique and it isn’t just for family get-togethers. It works just as well in work conversations, networking events, or anywhere else you are visiting with people who may be in your prospective market. The point is to simply and naturally drop a “teaser” into the conversation and wait to see what happens.

Think of it as planting seeds. When someone asks a question, the seed has sprouted. Gently water it with just a little more information. Don’t wash it away with a fire hose of information. The idea is to nurture it until it blossoms into “How can I buy that?”

In summary, sales people used a lot of manipulative, high-pressure techniques in their effort to get a sale right now. That gave everyone in the profession a bad name. Today, patience and helpfulness will get you to the goal a lot more effectively.

Plant your seeds, nurture the sprouts, and reap the blossoms in due time.

“Patience, Grasshopper” – Master Po, Kung Fu

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