Selling is already difficult, so don’t make it any more challenging by selling from a subordinate position. Let me share a rather bazar story demonstrating this point.
Many years ago I was dealing with a major steel company and was to meet with the CFO to review the terms and conditions of a multi-million dollar, multiple year, sales agreement. In preparation for the meeting, one of my associates gave me some insight about the man I would be meeting with. I was told that Fred always put the people he met with in a subordinate position, giving him power or dominance over them. In his large corner office, his desk was positioned on top of a six-inch high platform. The chairs in his office all had the legs trimmed by three inches. When you met with Fred, his position behind his desk towered over those people he was meeting with and instead of looking across his desk at the same level, you found yourself looking up at him as if you were a small child in an adult world. Fred maintained a dominant position, and his visitors were subordinate to him. Consequently, he was the victor in most negotiations. When I met with Fred, I refused to sit and stood atop the platform at the corner of his desk causing him to look up at me, as he sat in his chair behind the desk. I maintained the dominant position, to his chagrin.
The following list of principles and skills will allow you to sell from a position of strength and to rise above the subordinate position of most salespeople. Through the application of these five basic principles you will dramatically increase your sales success.
- Call the prospect by their first name. Most people actually prefer to be called by their given name as opposed to the titles of Mr. or Mrs. Show respect to doctors and clergy by using their titles and if there is any doubt or concern in addressing someone by their first or given name, simply ask for permission.
- Don’t blindly meet with a prospect without first learning something about them and their company. Your lack of knowledge will definitely place you in a subordinate position. Knowledge applied is power and salespeople need all the power they can muster. Never go into a sales situation unprepared.
- Dress appropriately for the particular situation. Overdressing, as well as underdressing, will place you in a subordinate position to your prospect. Know your audience and market, and dress according to the situation. When you dress right, you will not be distracted while presenting your thoughts.
- Don’t sell. People don’t like to be sold. When you try to sell a customer something, they go into a defensive posture. Seek first to discover their needs and their pain and then present your products or services as a solution to their needs. When the prospect views your product as something they need, you are in the dominant position.
- Be knowledgeable. Know your products, know your competition, and know your industry. Seek to learn all you can about your prospects and customers. Knowledge applied is sales power. You will be viewed as an expert and will receive respect from your prospects.
Salespeople need every advantage they can muster, so apply these principles and watch your sales increase.