Sell Confidence First

“Pragmatic Sales Psychology” short episode series, writing #4” 

Regardless of what you are selling, be it a service or goods, it should not be what you sell first. ?????? Is this guy for real? Why would I want to sell something first and not get to the point? Why? Because if you sell confidence first you will always be capable of selling more of whatever you sell.   

For most all buyers, how they feel and feeling good about a decision precedes pulling the trigger. Since people buy on an emotion and back it up with logic (80/20 rule invoked), the top performing sales are disciplined in that they take care to make their prospects as comfortable as possible that they have their best interests at heart. What’s even better is when they really do! That makes the discipline needed to sell confidence first feel very natural. Even if the desired result and the money is all that matters to a sales pro (sad to say that this is true in some cases), it still stands that you must embrace this fact if you want to fly with the eagles of the profession. You must sell confidence first if you are to sell as much as you possibly can and subsequently serve as many people as you can. 

I am a proponent of a 5 Steps to Sales Success” process that I created to keep myself disciplined in my formative years as a sales associate, long before I managed or learned to teach sales techniques. The entire process is in an article under “Resources” on our website. For the sake of this short writing I want to shine a light on the first two steps: Credibility and Rapport. 

Credibility first…

Credibility has to do with the company reputation, the sales person’s resume and reputation, the brand they are promoting and the general perception that the potential buyer has of those three critical items. It makes sense doesn’t it? Before you go into discovery, sale pitches or demonstrations, doesn’t it make a lot of sense to be sure the potential buyer likes where they are, who you are and that you are proud of the brands you represent?    

Rapport is tied into credibility but deserves it’s own chronological place in your sales process because just as important as where you work and what you have to offer is the messenger. In fact, convincing sales representatives with great personalities have often sold people on things simply by their engaging approach and sincerity, pseudo or not. Getting people to like you and feel comfortable opening up with you by using “question based selling”* is the absolute best way to nail down confidence in the prospect’s mind. You could experiment with the chronological order but I would imagine that nine times out of ten you will get a person to open up and tell you in more depth about their needs if you get the rapport established on the front end.   

If you examine your own personal past purchase choices (especially where a sales rep was concerned) I think you can remind yourself that the best ones made you feel comfortable and confident as you made your purchasing decision. 

Why did we need a reminder about something as pragmatic as selling confidence first? Simply put; because we are human and get out of sync and out of rhythm sometimes. Placing the selling of confidence in the position of top priority will allow you to not feel pushy to the prospect. By slowing down to establish it first, it will speed up the number of people you sell. It is a commonsense piece of advice and since fundamentals are never obsolete, a great thing to remember. Please trust me on this, “if you make it a habit to sell confidence first, you won’t get in your own way as much.” I’ll end with a quote about a great way to build confidence with the people you encounter…

“Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, ‘Make me feel important.’ Not only will you succeed in sales, you will succeed in life.” – Mary Kay Ash 

*The Secrets of Question Based Selling by Thomas Freese is an excellent book I recommend regularly. 

P.S. A note of thanks to my colleague Tony Thomas, who I’ve heard use this phrase for years in his mentoring of sales associates… consider yourself plagiarized.

Jack Klinefelter
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