Four Keys to Integrity Selling, Part 4 – May 2005
By Sean Wolfington
Welcome to the final installment of the successful behaviors that fuel peak performance. This month we’ll wrap up our discussion of the four simple keys to integrity selling that enable the superstars to distance themselves from the rest of the pack.
A Recap of Key Traits That Drive Successful Beliefs and Behaviors:
1. Achievement Drive
2. Goal Clarity
3. Healthy Emotional Intelligence
4. Excellent Social Skills
Achievement Drive is the power to beat the odds, to triumph over challenge and to tap into deep reserves of persistence, determination and a never-give-up attitude. If a sales person has low achievement drive, he may become complacent quickly, back down when faced with a challenge and as a result, rarely see his name at the top of the sales board. Goal Clarity brings focus to a sales person’s need to achieve and enables him or her to channel that energy with clear, specific, written goals that they truly believe are attainable and that they feel they deserve to achieve. Healthy Emotional Intelligence grants us the ability to understand emotions and how they impact behavior and Excellent Social Skills enable us to identify different behavior styles and adjust to them. These last two traits are important for CSI, customer loyalty and employee retention because they balance the driven and goal-oriented person’s “killer instinct” with the ability to connect with all different types of people. The extent to which our sales people possess these four traits determines their ability to excel in sales.
Contrary to what many people think, excellent social skills have little to do with talking or with the so-called gift of gab. Social skills are more about asking questions, listening, understanding, having empathy and a genuine desire to serve. In other words, a person with great social skills is able to interact with others in a way that makes them want to communicate. To accomplish this, great communicators must have the ability to identify people’s different behavior styles and adjust their own behavior accordingly. They recognize the need to modify their own behavior from what’s most natural and most comfortable to what’s most effective. For example, a sales person with excellent social skills can recognize a customer who’s highly organized, logical, and rational, with great attention to detail. The sales person may notice the customer is more reserved, slower in thought, speech and motion, driven by facts and logic and in order to create an environment where the customer wants to communicate, the normally energetic, animated, fast-paced sales person may tone it down a notch and embrace the customer’s need for facts and information. They do this because they can see the world through other people’s eyes and adjust their own behavior accordingly. When we develop this kind ofrapport with people, they trust and respect us more and will be more inclined to buy.
“A person with great social skills is able to interact with others in a way that makes them want to communicate.”
Ironically, ask any sales person what their strengths are and they’ll usually tell you, “I’m a people person, a great communicator and I can build rapport with anyone!” But the truth is that they’re not all peak performers. How do we differentiate a super-charged ego from truly excellent social skills? Real social skills are demonstrated when we ask questions and listen, when we understand and adapt to different behavior styles, when we understand the unspoken. It’s the ability to read body language, voice tones, inflections and facial expression. It’s the ability to suspend our view of the world and understand another person’s beliefs and opinions.
Here’s a quick assessment:
If you rate yourself on a scale of one to 10 and your score is less than 50, you might benefit from learning more about different behavior styles and brushing up on your communication skills.
Here’s a Quick Start Action Guide to building social skills:
1. Tune the world out and tune the customer in.
2. Put others at ease by making them feel important.
3. Put the focus on them; get them talking about themselves and their driving needs.
4. Hold eye contact and watch and listen for indicators of how they feel.
5. Ask open-ended questions to draw out wants and needs.
6. Listen to and paraphrase all points – write them down.
7. Lead in with a benefit to the customer if you have a request of your own.
Incorporate these best practices into your greeting and interview process and you’ll notice an immediate increase in your closing ratio, because people are silently begging “Listen to me, value me, understand me and let me know you want to help me.”
Sean Wolfington is the owner of BZResults.com. He can be contacted at 866.802.5753, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.