He shambles up to you and fails to make eye contact.
In a halting voice he tells you how your comments have suddenly made it clear to him why people don’t buy from him. He explains that he never before had heard the idea that you must get to trust to get people to accept your ideas, to engage with you and to begin a relationship.
What you say matters.
I opened a speech with my story of how I learned that lesson and, well, he heard what I had to say. The foundation of brand in my view is Trust. Your brand is the sum total of what all those people who are aware of you think, feel and believe about you.
He told me that his problem was that he didn’t know how to get to trust. He told them everything he could think of about the product but they pulled back from him and the only reason why he could come up with is that something about him put them off. He believed he had to close as quickly as possible.
But first you gotta connect.
- You gotta find a way to introduce yourself.
- You gotta get people to listen to you
- You gotta be able to tell them what you do
- You gotta ask for their business
- You gotta get to the beginning of trust.
It is difficult for an introvert.
I agreed to meet with him to help him better understand 30-Second marketing. He presented two typed pages that were supposed to tell me everything and asked that I read them instead of asking him questions. He believed I would learn more in that way.
He might have learned more that way but, I believe most people would rather have a conversation than read someone’s idea of their defining information carefully pushed through a word processor, spell checked and edited, unintentionally, to obscure the most salient information.
Conversation is key.
As I queried him I learned that people essentially shut him out because he pressed them with information about any subject with out listening to the point they were making. Over an hour he failed to hear and engage in a meaningful way on Trust, Brand, Selling, Religion, Product attributes, Benefits, Features and most importantly any concept that was new to him.
He confessed that he had difficulty putting himself in someone else’s position or viewpoint. Probed for what other people thought about he and his product, he could not delve into his successful sales and find a common reason why people bought. He could not sum up the problem that caused them to even consider!
Brand is built on similarities
It took over an hour to get to some very candid reasons why he operated the way he did. He grew up one of 14 children in a lower middle-class home. He is a Christian devoted to Bible study with a closed mind about other religions. His idea of a Networking situation is repetitive attendance at a meeting of coaches none of whom yet knows of his high-end product after months of attendance. He found the idea of seeking out gatherings of potential buyers (such as at Chamber of Commerce meetings) a revelation. To determine potential customers, I suggested that he build a list of the people he had already sold to and write down their demographics and psychographics and their stated reasons for considering, buying and what they now feel think and believe about the product.
A morphing mental portrait
That mental portrait will allow him and you to gird up your loins, enter into a conversation with anyone to determine whether or not there is any interest. In my years of assisting independent professionals and entrepreneurs I’ve concluded:
- Between 60 and 80% of all your customers are trying to solve the same problem and the reminder have only two other reasons sufficiently important to note.
- If you talk about the highest percentage problem and your solution in their terms you will be successful over time
- Listening to contacts and how they talk about the problem/solution over time will allow you to focus ever more clearly on those that buy
Every successful business starts with networking
You can’t sell anything if you don’t go find a customer. Networking offers the lowest cost and fastest way to get in front of more people. It forces you to have conversations and learn about real prospects. By meeting with folks you can learn which will attend a workshop or how to convince the few that will accept a free trial of the product. You can get to a point where they ask the question, “How much is it?”
Sometimes sampling is the key
Instead of scaring them off with a high price you’ll be able to tell them you won’t sell them one until they have proven to themselves that it works for them. And, after the trial, you’ll be happy to do it for a one-time payment or on the terms offered by the company.
Being timid isn’t all bad
Being concerned about people’s time is a good thing. Wanting to not be too intrusive is positive. Being genuinely interested in having a conversation can be rewarding. Those behaviors will be seen but failure to look someone in the eye will send another message. You must present yourself with a modicum of confidence and directness to garner credibility. Too often the timid mistake the behavior of the extrovert as ‘the only way to sell.” It isn’t. Timid with integrity, authority and consistency will build a brand based on trust.
Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com
His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and business development for independent professionals on and off-line.