By Amy O’Connor
Proper influence and persuasion is about making it easy for people to do what is in their best interest to do. Our job in sales is to help people achieve whatever mission they are on. The best helpers are the most successful sale people. How do you become more helpful? Focus on these three character traits.
Character Trait #1: Awareness of Self
If you want to influence others, you must first know how others perceive you, and that is no easy task. We are so consumed with protecting our internal image of ourselves that we find it difficult to seek input and feedback from others or be objective. Not until we have a truer image of ourselves can we begin to make the necessary adjustments to our own behaviors and properly influence others.
“There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self.” Benjamin Franklin
To become more self aware, psychologists and related experts recommend the following:
- Seek honest feedback from those around you.
- Create a daily habit of self-reflection with the goal of identifying areas for growth.
- Write in a journal. We are what we repeatedly do.
- Understand your life story and how it has shaped who you are today.
- Perform periodic self-reviews to analyze and question your own behaviors.
Self-awareness is not something you develop overnight. It is a continual process that can take years to fully develop. Be patient! Self-awareness is a life long pursuit.
Character Trait #2: Awareness of Energy Levels
Our first moments of interaction with the customer are perhaps the most critical. The customer walks in with a heightened state of awareness, and they notice everything, especially your energy. Top sales performers are hyper-focused on managing their energy levels, but the driver here is not high energy as compared to low energy.
The truly important factor is positive energy vs. negative energy. The sales person is the single most important source of energy in any selling environment. You set the energy tone. You have more power over perceived energy than anyone or anything.
It is imperative that your customer senses positive energy the moment they walk through the door. Positive energy begets positive energy.
Character Trait #3: Awareness of Communication Styles
Not everyone sends and receives communication in the same way. In fact, there are four different primary communication styles that determine how best we like to communicate with others.
Great salespeople understand their own communication style and recognize that the responsibility is on them to observe and adapt to the buyer’s preferred communication style. In doing so, the buyer feels comfortable during the sales process and is therefore more likely to buy.
Four Communication Styles:
- Analytic: formal, precise, cautious, deliberate, questioning
- Driver: purposeful, demanding, determined, competitive, strong-willed
- Emotional: encouraging, relaxed, sharing, patient, caring
- Fun: demonstrative, enthusiastic, persuasive, dynamic, sociable
Goals for adapting to other communication styles:
- Identify your customer’s communication style through observing both verbal and nonverbal cues.
- Adjust your style so that you are likable and approachable.
- Learn how to ask discovery questions differently based on the buyer’s communication style.
Character traits are a tricky thing. Sometimes we think, “Well, I just am who I am. I suppose I’ll sell to the people who like me for me.” But why take that limiting approach? It’s true that some of us are born more adept at these traits than others, but the beautiful thing about each of these is that they are all skills that you can learned and developed.
The resources are abundant and available. Focus on developing these three traits and watch your sales soar.