Selling is a tricky game wrought with traps. Below is part 2 of the nine Cs of selling. These should steer you in the right direction and away from potential traps.

  1. Confident
  • Good salespeople display their confidence to the prospect. No one wants to buy anything from a mealy-mouthed salesperson. Even if you don’t feel confident, remember, “Fake it ‘til you make it,” as Mary Kay Ash says.
  1. Contract the Variables
  • There are many variables in the prospect’s decision-making process. The short list might be: quality, delivery, price, relationship, trust and availability.  The prospect will always bundle the variables together into one big stew.  This keeps the salesperson guessing and ultimately results in a better deal for the buyer.  Since the salesperson is always guessing which variable in the stew is off target, the sale is more difficult.  This keeps the prospect in control. Your job is to figure out where you stand on each individual ingredient in the stew and to get things in black and white. This puts you in control. No sale is ever consummated with something in ambiguity. To assist you in getting things in black and white, contract or remove variables.

For instance, consider Bob is the buyer for ABC Electronics and you want to sell him a maintenance contract for ABC’s copiers. Bob says, “Your contract looks good. We need to talk to some of the copier users to gather their input. I think this makes sense if we decide not to purchase new units. Send me your proposal so I can review the terms.”

  • First, Bob’s statement is incredibly ambiguous. If you think you are getting anywhere with Bob, you are wrong! Let’s analyze all the variables:
    • What does “looks good” mean?. Which parts look good?
    • “Some users.” How many?  Who?
    • “Gather input.” Is there something we can help with?  Is there something we did not say?
    • What does “makes sense” mean? Does the budget exist? What is the time frame to make a decision? Who are the other decision makers? Is Bob just another decision-maker or an influencer?
  • Strip away the variables by asking Bob, “If the decision were totally up to you, what would you recommend?” Alternatively, you can ask Bob, “Let’s assume you do not buy new copiers (take away that possibility), does our proposal make sense?”
  1. Crystal Ball
  • You cannot read the prospect’s mind. Similar to being ignorant to your prospects’ definitions of words, stop guessing what the prospect is thinking, saying, meaning or doing. You DON’T know! You are guessing. Guessing only loses the sale.
  • If you find yourself saying any of the following, you are using the crystal ball and should rethink your business strategy tool:
    • I am sure they will buy.
    • They love our product (if the prospect has not said these words exactly).
    • They seemed very interested.
    • She likes our price.
    • They were impressed with our quality.
    • I feel good about this one.
    • Bob is the only decision-maker.