How to Be Persuasive in Sales: 3 Tips for Charming Your Prospects
No one can deny that effective sales involves a certain amount of charm, but is charm something that you can learn and improve?
If you’re the sole person responsible for sales in your business, you may be wondering how to be more persuasive, how to crank up your charm, and win over more customers.
Even if you’re not naturally charming or suave, you can still take steps to improve your outward-facing persona. In this article, we share some tips for earning your customers’ trust and building a genuine relationship with them, so you can increase sales effortlessly.
Charm: The Key to Becoming More Persuasive in Sales
Some are born natural charmers, and that’s a gift that will serve them well, but inborn talent isn’t the only key to success in sales. So, how can anyone learn to be more persuasive? Charm, as with all skills, takes practice.
Before we jump into the tips, let’s talk about charm itself. What is charm? Is it a flashy smile, a firm handshake, a quick joke? In reality, charm is the ability to put another person at ease. Social interactions, especially in a sales context, can be stressful for even the most extroverted people. Being able to meet a person and make them feel like you’ve known each other for years, make them feel like they’re not going to get treated badly or taken advantage of, could not be more valuable for success in sales.
If your business deals with expensive considered purchases, then gaining the trust of your easily-spooked customer is paramount.
So the question of “how to be more persuasive in sales scenarios?” isn’t necessarily about superficial charm. It’s about reading a potential customer and asking yourself, “what does this person need to feel comfortable?”
1. Be Curious and Open-Minded About What the Customer Needs
Some people lose sight of the fact that sales isn’t about quotas: it is all about building a relationship with customers.
If you’re looking at each prospect as if he or she is just a number, that person will pick up on your attitude. No one wants to be treated like a sales goal. Not only can it feel disrespectful, it often comes with a side of desperation that a potential client or customer can smell.
Instead, strive to build meaningful relationships with your prospects by being curious and open-minded.
Ask your prospects questions about their relevant challenges and pain points and then listen intently to their answers. Don’t arrive at a conversation with a preconceived notion about who your prospect is. Instead, be open-minded and allow the conversation to unfold naturally. Not only does this put the prospect at ease, it also gives you time to decide on what sales strategy would be most effective, given their disposition and needs.
Learning how to be persuasive isn’t about brute-forcing what you want — it’s about “informed nudging,” moving someone from what they want to a position that benefits both parties.
If, through listening, you realize that the service you were considering pitching won’t be right for them (but may cost more), use your newfound insight into their character to pitch a different product or service more in line with their needs. Sure, it may end up costing them less and nibbling into your fee, but consider the long-term gains of their partnership. Down the road, they’ll remember that you actually listened to them instead of just upselling them.
This means more clients by word-of-mouth, customers that stay longer and have a greater sense of loyalty, and customers who may want to upgrade or expand their services in the future.
2. Make Tasteful Jokes to Break the Ice
Sales can be serious, but you don’t have to be — at least not all the time.
One way to get your prospects to like you immediately is to make them laugh in a genuine way. Not only does laughter make people feel at ease, but it breaks the ice.
Before you move forward with a major sales push, make a list of some go-to jokes that you can use when you feel like the conversation is getting tense. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a list of “knock-knock” jokes or “a guy walks into a bar” kind of jokes, but rather simple witticisms that might come up frequently in your line of work.
Have a funny anecdote about something that happened on the sales floor: an oddball customer, someone who paid for an expensive item with all cash, that time a raccoon snuck into the break room. Spruce up the story, add or embellish a few key details, and have it in your pocket for when you need to lighten the mood a little. Learning how to be persuasive is also learning how to loosen the moorings on another person’s natural defensiveness, which jokes are ideally suited for.
Also, don’t be afraid to be yourself. Even if you think you’re goofy or corny, a stranger will appreciate your confidence and lack of pretenses. Work with the kind of humor that works for you. If you’re quick, be snappy and deadpan. If you’re corny, make a few puns. Whatever it is you’re good at it, lean on it.
3. Focus on the Customer, Eliminate All Distractions
Do you often multitask when you’re taking sales calls or writing sales emails? Stop. Instead, focus completely on the task at hand and put away all the distractions and other devices.
Multitasking doesn’t work: studies show it isn’t even possible. While you may think you’re saving time or being more efficient, doing “two things at once” is really doing one thing badly and then stopping and doing another thing badly a few hundred times an hour.
Especially on the phone, most people can tell when you’re not paying attention. Your voice glazes over, your speech fills with “uh-huhs” and “oh wows” that don’t remotely engage with the client. Once you give a person your full attention, he or she will be more likely to trust you and open up to you. Plus, how can you persuade someone from one position to another when you didn’t even listen to what they want or what their problems are?
By multitasking, you may think that you’re saving time, but the truth is that you’re only wasting time because you’re not having quality interactions.
When you follow these tips for how to be more persuasive, you’ll naturally evolve into a more charming and likable person. Your sales prospects will be more likely to listen to you, to trust that you have their best interests in mind, and they’ll consider your product or service with greater seriousness.