I’m sure most of us first heard the expression from our parents when we were still kids. You had probably asked and asked and asked for something, such as a new pair of jeans or some new shoes for school, and when you received the item, you weren’t completely satisfied. Maybe the shoes weren’t real Nikes or the jeans weren’t real Guess, and you wanted the best. You expected to receive one thing and ended up receiving another. And even though you hadn’t bought the item with your hard-earned money, you found reason to complain a little. Maybe you even shed a selfish tear or two.
And then, like clockwork, came the age-old response: “Beggars can’t be choosers, son..." And if you were like most kids, you probably didn’t have a clue what the expression meant—other than indicating you weren’t going to get what you wanted.
Well, apparently many salespeople never grow up. Many forget to ask what that expression meant when they got older. Either that is the case, or many salespeople are still ignoring their parents’ wisdom. But whatever the excuse, the bottom line is basically still the same: beggars really can’t be choosers. And to ignore that wisdom doesn’t make things any better—especially in the world of sales.
Essentially the fatal mistake of begging is trying to close sales without earning your customers’ trust. It’s looking for handouts. It’s asking for prospects’ business without an ounce of indication that they are ready to buy from you. It’s petitioning for a sale without earning your prospect’s vote and then, like a spoiled six-year-old, complaining that you didn’t get what you wanted when your prospect says no. And if that becomes your way of doing business, you’ll end up begging for more than sales. You’ll end up begging your boss for your job.
Be In The Solution Business
When salespeople make the fatal mistake of begging, they spend very little time on the initial trust-building steps of the selling process, namely, approaching and interviewing their prospects. Consequently they don’t spend any time truly offering solutions because they don’t take the time to determine their prospects’ needs. And in the end, they spend the majority of their time asking for business . . . or if we’re honest, begging for business again and again because they never received their prospects’ buy-in in the first place.
To be successful in the sales profession, you must understand that connecting with your customers is everything. The truth is, when you take the time to earn a prospect’s trust at the outset, asking for business is just a formality. And there is certainly no begging necessary.
Five Ways To Receive Buy-in And Business
Here are five ways to ensure that your prospects buy into you before you ask them for their business. When you adhere to these five steps, you will find that you have to do very little “selling” in order to close sales.
1. SAY SOMETHING NEW
Never let it be said of you, “I’ve heard it all before.” If you can’t market and/or offer your product in a fresh and innovative way, don’t offer it at all. There is far too much competition for you to be selling run-of-the-mill products in a run-of-the-mill fashion, regardless of your industry. Set yourself apart.
2. BE THE FIRST TO ADD VALUE
Don’t ever expect something from a prospect unless you have already added value. Do something up front to let your prospects know that it is your primary goal to add real value to their lives through not only your product, but also your service.
3. BE THE FIRST TO SAY THANK YOU
Leave no doubt in your prospects’ minds that you consider it a privilege to meet them and always appreciate the opportunity to meet their needs, not just their “yes” to doing basiness.
4. RESPECT YOUR PROSPECTS’ TIME
Never presume that you prospects’ time is yours to waste. Build trust by valuing their time as much as they do. Don’t ever assume that your prospects want to hear anything from you. Offer first. Or let them ask. But don’t blurt or babble. Furthermore, never take a single step toward closing a deal until you have first asked your prospects’ permission to move forward.
5. DON’T STOP ONCE THE SALE SEEMS IMMINENT
If during a selling transaction, you’ve done the previous four things on the list and it seems that a sale is going to close, don’t become overeager and forget yourself. It’s one thing to do everything right in order to get the prospect interested, but it’s another to remain consistent when you know the prospect is about to sign on the dotted line. If your stripes change then, you’ll taint an otherwise strong rapport. And even if you do still close the sale, your new clients probably won’t remain with you for long. That’s because earning trust from your prospects is an ongoing activity that requires, at the very least, consistency of character.
When your authentic actions create an environment that breeds buy-in with your prospects, closing sales tends to become an afterthought. That doesn’t mean you won’t still have to ask for a prospect’s business. It just means that asking won’t be a chore—it won’t be begging. It will be the natural conclusion to your prospect interactions and the natural beginning to your client relationships.
To take your selling actions to a legitimate, lucrative level, you need to remember that your goal as a salesperson is to make doing business with you easy. That’s it. That’s the bottom line.
In the process of employing the five principles we’ve discussed, your goal is never to make customers work to buy from you. Never make prospects earn your business. You earn theirs. It’s your job to make “yes” the most logical, natural response of your prospects. And it’s really not that difficult when it’s just a matter of treating your customers the way you’d expect to be treated if you were on the other side of your desk or the other end of your phone.
I’ll let you in on a little secret that I use to gauge my success with prospects and to avoid for good the mistake of begging. Before, during, and after a selling transaction, I inevitably ask myself: Would I buy from me? And if my answer is yes, I know that I’m doing my best to earn my prospects’ buy-in and subsequently their business. And the same will be true for you.