“No one wants to be sold to, not even the most eager buyer in the world,” says Farnoosh Brock, a corporate trainer, speaker and writer. Brock is also an engineer and author of the book, The Serving Mindset: Stop Selling and Grow Your Business. She is a proponent of selling in an authentic and respectful way to customers. Changing your mindset from selling to serving, gives you a competitive advantage throughout work and life, says Brock.
We are all selling something
You might be thinking, “But I’m not in sales.” Or “This doesn’t apply to me.” But it does. We are all selling something. You might be trying to sell your next idea for a project, the importance of your latest analyses or even explaining why you should get a promotion. Whatever you are trying to sell, these techniques for serving the consumers of our ideas are useful.
Just another prospect
As retail and sales efforts have grown in the digital world, consumers have become bombarded with ads and sales on every channel and device. This inundation of sales tactics has made everyone an expert in distinguishing when someone is trying to sell them something.
Today, the challenge is to present your products in a way that's natural and doesn’t make your client feel like they’re just another prospect. Brock explains that “being sold to” occurs when a salesperson has an agenda that can be clearly felt by the other person. To combat this feeling, Brock lists four things you must build every time you interact with a potential customer:
When potential clients feel heard and understood, they begin to trust you. Whereas, when there's an agenda, you’re jumping ahead to future possibilities and begin rushing your prospect there with you. The client then feels overwhelmed and is less likely to trust you.
“No one wants to be sold to, not even the most eager buyer in the world”
- Farnoosh Brock, corporate speaker, trainer and writer
The four C framework
Another vital component of the serving mindset is what Brock refers to as the Four C Framework. In every conversation, it is vital you take these four things into consideration:
Compassion: Having compassion toward your prospect means you genuinely care about their challenges and problems. You should make your empathy evident before you ask the next question in order to portray that you understand their position and perspective.
Clarity: Understand that you are in a unique position to do your job. This doesn’t refer to your experience or expertise. While both of those are good to have, the key factor to your uniqueness is your character and personality. This is what makes you different from others. You can offer a completely different perspective from anyone else, and you can relate on levels other people cannot. Understanding who you are and what makes you unique also promotes a high level of confidence.
Curiosity: Being curious is important for everything in life and sales is no exception. Being curious in this context means not making assumptions about why someone is saying no. It’s easy to make an educated guess as to why someone is rejecting a sale; however, you could just as easily be wrong. It is vital that you ask the right questions. You must ask “why?” to truly understand their apprehension. If you’ve built their trust, they will be open and honest with you.
Confidence: When you are confident in what you are selling, people can tell. Your confidence needs to be unshakeable, and you must be transparent and honest. This not only makes you feel better about yourself but also strengthens the confidence of your prospect as they see that you know exactly what you’re doing. This doesn’t mean you have to know everything. It’s okay to lack knowledge of something, but you must be able to tell the prospect you will figure it out for them as soon as possible.
Being aware of how you come across to a potential client is important in sales and in any persuasive argument. It takes practice to know how to relate to others. Following Brock’s advice will help with building your skills and improve the way your present ideas and products to others. You will build stronger connections with potential clients, so even if they aren’t able to say yes at the moment, you know when they need you, you’ll be the first person they call.
Brock’s video was part of a casting call sponsored by The SAS Women in Analytics (WIA) Network, a community advocating for more diversity in the data and analytics field. The group focuses on the SAS values of authenticity, work/life balance and passion to inspire women who are pursuing a career in analytics. Learn more about WIA