A dynamic that frequently occurs in sales meetings is taking a customer reaction (or lack of reaction) personally. You are sitting in the lobby and suddenly you get a rush of anxiety. You are trapped in your head and pondering what you may have done wrong. Stop! The crutch that you can always fall back on in sales is morphing into process mode.
That being said, it is not as simple as it seems. How do you de-personalize the moment and escape the oppressive self-introspection that you are stuck in?
Sales is a profession that lacks a set of standardized competencies. People generally do not pursue a college degree in sales methodologies. The way that people have learned has been through mentors, experience and by studying the sales gurus. The gurus, however, have predominantly been men, and historically, they have been writing for male sales people. Let me offer you a competency that more authentically suits a female mind-set.
Who are you?
You are but a communication mechanism! I love saying that. In executive coaching, the rules for handling the process are very specific and standardized with core competencies, and this is to allow the client to get the most value out of the interaction, be the expert (rather than you), and tap into the far reaches of their own imagination and ideas—rather than yours. Your job is the executor of that process, and it is much the same way in sales.
I have two strong female entrepreneur friends who have shared a similar dilemma. They are great at what they do but uncomfortable selling themselves. It is simply too personal and feels too self-centered. Even in this scenario, they would still take on the role of process executor the moment they step into a sales scenario.
Try to remember that you follow a process that is not personal. You can absolutely make it your own, use your own style and build a unique sales brand, but you can always remove yourself from the equation to give you the big picture perspective. By asking yourself what phase you are in in any sales call, you immediately jump back to process owner and take yourself out of our sometimes oversensitive self-assessments as sales people.
While you are the process owner, you are still utilizing roles to best communicate with your customers. I often feel myself stepping into a teaching role. Sometimes I am truly a project manager. Often in my industry, I speak as a technical liaison or market intel rep.
In conclusion, your personalized process is your framework and road map in sales. When you have your sales process customized to meet what feels most authentic to you, you can allow the process to drive the sale and use your mental energy in more productive ways.
About the Author
Rena Cohen-First is a sales person, director, and coach and has succeeded in the the food ingredient industry for the past 17 years, selling to market leading food and beverage manufacturers. She has taught online business and leadership classes as an adjunct instructor, studied professional and executive coaching, completed her MBA and proudly served briefly, in the US Army. Her goal is to show every woman that she can become a Sales Goddess using her authentic behavioral strengths, in all circumstances. Read more in her upcoming book (launching in May); The Authentic Sale, A Goddess’s Guide to Business. Rena can be reached at www.thesalesgoddess.com.