In selling there is a lot of big talk about closing deals, as if the act of "closing" is a verb and is something to do TO your prospective client or customer. Gain control of these feeble buyers, right?
One of the most talked-about sales books in the last couple years is The Challenger Sale. The complete title is:
The Challenger Sale - Taking Control of the Customer Conversation.
Don't let that title fool you - control in a buyer and seller relationship is not a one-way thing. More importantly, the idea of control - to have the power to influence or direct people's behavior or the course of events can be a slippery slope.
When I worked for Franklin-Covey as a facilitator, we did an exercise with class participants where they would make a list of all of the things that they could directly control, and another list of all of the things they could not control. Try it sometime. What the assignment does is to help remind us of how little we really can control other than our own reactions and responses to what has happened.
This brings me to something I was reminded of by a handy new e-book that Postwire just put out called Help Buyers Overcome Indecision (PDF download) which was written by Peggy Kriss, a clinical psychologist. One of her points is to "guide, not drive" the process, and I could not agree more.
You may think you drive all of your sales opportunities, and that you take control - until the opportunity goes dark, right? Then what? What control do you have now?
Guide your buyers by creating value for them.
Guide your buyers by teaching them why your product or service helps them.
Guide your buyers to set a next action with you.
Guide your buyers with helpful resources that they can use to learn why they should work with you.
The sales people who think they need to be forceful, loud or aggressive are not selling anymore. The sales guides who share, show, create trust, and add value are winning.
Lori Richardson is recognized as one of the "Top 25 Sales Influencers for 2012" and one of "20 Women to Watch in Sales Lead Management". Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside and outbound sellers in technology and services companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog and the “Sales Ideas In A Minute” newsletter for sales strategies, tactics, and tips in selling.