This week in Aikido class, we worked on an exercise whereby one person is sitting seiza (kneeling) and another puts hands on their shoulders and tries to push them over. If the person sitting stiffens up and pushes back with a fighting mind they are easy to push over. If they are not centered and relaxed they are easily pushed over. Even if their intentions are to be centered and relaxed, but they are not aware enough to prepare for the initial contact they will be off balance and pushed over. It is only when the person sitting is aware and prepared at the time of initial contact that he won’t be pushed over.
So it is with sales. And I’m not just talking about making a good first impression. I’m talking about the initial contact in any engagement… a phone call, a meeting, even a chance meeting.
Most of us have been in meetings where we had a specific agenda. The customer will throw out an unexpected issue. The sales team falls off balance. The meeting heads in a direction that is ultimately unproductive. One of the reasons for this is that salespeople often project an inferior mental posture. They’ve been taught to agree and recapitulate any opinion the customer has. This, like the example above makes it very easy for sales people to be moved. Also, most sales people on’t prepare adequately for engagements with customers. This also makes them easy to “move”.
Think about these things for your next encounter:
- Stay calm and relaxed – frantic people are easy to “move”.
- Don’t agree or recapitulate every negative opinion a customer has
- Lead your customer