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Secret to Smarter Selling: Use Your Brain More and Your Mouth Less


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Sometimes your sales calls turn out differently than you’d like and you want a do-over. But you can’t do your sales calls over. Here are a few ideas to make your sales calls turn out the way you want them to, and how to make the sale.

Be a great listener

Do you think the gift of gab will help you in sales? It won’t. Research shows the most successful salespeople talk less and listen more: Top salespeople talk only 43% of the time versus less successful salespeople who talk almost 65% of the time. A side benefit of good listening is that people will like you more when they feel heard.

Are you a good listener? Focus on how much talking you do versus listening to your prospects at your next sales call. You’ll get better business results by listening more—that’s what successful salespeople do.

Use the right words

Your words are the tools of your sales trade. Your job is to use persuasive words when you sell.

What are persuasive words? Words like “because” are persuasive. In his book Influence: The Power of Persuasion, Dr. Robert Cialdini reports when you make a statement and use the word “because,” you become more persuasive. And just like your mom used to tell you, “Because I said so,” you don’t have to have a real reason for saying “because” either—although, there should be a legitimate reason for using it.

Use “because” when you are recommending a product or course of action. You will sound more persuasive because it will help others listen to you. Did you notice how I used the word “because”?

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Use everything to your advantage

Does this sound harsh? It shouldn’t. My definition of selling is helping someone make a great buying decision. Since that is the definition of selling, why wouldn’t you want to do everything you can to help your customers make great buying decisions? You are helping them when you use everything to your advantage.

What can you use to your advantage? Your appearance, for example. For example, wearing glasses will make you appear more intelligent. One-third of those polled in a survey say people who wear eyeglasses appear more intellectual than those who don’t, and one in five say eyeglass wearers appear more trustworthy. So remember to wear your glasses (if you wear eyeglasses) when you’re heading to a tough negotiation or difficult sales call and your expertise might be questioned.  You want to start the meeting looking as intelligent as possible.

Another strategic advantage is to pay attention to where you sit in a meeting. Taking a seat across the table from someone can make it feel like you’re in an adversarial position. Instead, try sitting side-by-side with a prospect when the opportunity presents itself, like in a large conference room. People are more likely to like each other, remember more of what they discuss, and agree on things when they sit next to one another rather than face each other.

Use visuals

Sixty-five percent of the population are visual learners. Are you helping prospects understand your selling message by using visuals when you sell? You should. You can use charts and graphs to demonstrate performance or other relevant information. You can show photos of new products when it’s difficult to imagine what the product looks like. You can even use metaphors or similes when you talk. These word pictures help someone understand what you’re saying.

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