Sell is NOT a four letter word
by Jeffrey P. Fisher
The thought of selling your art and yourself may scare the daylights out of you. It shouldn't. You won't get anywhere without learning to present yourself to others and convincing them to buy. The key? Listen to what people tell you about what they want. Then show them how what you sell is what they really need.
Let the prospect of client do most of the talking. If your mouth is open more than 30% of the time, you're talking too much when you should be listening. So shut up and sell! Here are some tips to help you.
Avoid distractions and time constraints when meeting with prospects and clients. Face your prospects, lean toward them slightly, and look them straight in the eyes. Stay relaxed and open. Don't cross your arms or legs. Watch body language and listen for the real message between the lines. Pay attention. Don't let your mind wander or be distracted. Concentrate on what is being said. Repeat and rephrase each sentence in your head. Don't interrupt your prospect. Indicate you are listening and understanding what is being said. Nod your head, take some notes, or answer that you understand by uttering a simple "O.K." Smile and be friendly.
There are essentially six personality types that you'll encounter in sales situations. Virtually everyone falls into one of these categories. And while some may cross over into other types, each person typically exemplifies one main attitude. You must learn to recognize these types quickly and tailor your presentation accordingly.
Leader. Always in control, dominates conversations, makes quick decisions, and follows through all projects from start to finish. These people tend to be ALL business and are only interested in results.
Supporter. Likes being with and relating to people and is often a bit talkative. Usually seeks approval from others before making final decisions. These people are always quite friendly, casual, and relaxed.
Optimist. Always full of energy and creativity. Likes to discuss myriad possibilities, most of which are completely outlandish and impractical. These people can be very energetic and prone to quick, spontaneous decisions.
Bean Counter. Brings highly structured and thorough analysis to every situation. These people look for accurate, logical solutions.
Adversary. Always takes the negative side to things. Can never find the good and tends to nit-pick. Completely the opposite of the optimist, adversaries tend to be very conservative and realistic.
MOR. The middle of the road person tends to go with the flow. Never caught making their own decisions, MOR'S tend to work better in groups where individual thought is not cherished.
With the leader, be the consummate expert; ask about moods, feelings, and such with the supporter; discuss wild ideas with the optimist; go through the budget and other details with the bean counter; carefully balance the up and down side with the adversary; and take charge of the MOR. Use these as a guide only. We are all complex human beings after all. And also be prepared for the domineering, friendly director who talks wildly about the bad things happening in someone else's life.
Always prepare in advance for all client contact. Gather the materials you need to answer inquiries and solve your client's problems first. Don't go in blind. Take suitable promotional materials to meetings including your latest demo if that applies. Identify the personality type and slant your presentation accordingly. Vary your speech pattern and pace to follow your prospects. Follow up all meetings whether they result in immediate work or not, with a thank you note, or, hopefully, a contract. If your prospect asked for more information, supply this, too.