Tis the Season to be Nice
By Colleen Francis
At this time of year it's time to focus on giving more of yourself to your clients rather than just trying to close sales.
Actually …come to think about it, that's a good strategy any time of year!
As a sales trainer, I'm a big believer in the focusing on basics. Never mind the elaborate "selling systems" or prefab scripts that are out there. The single most important thing you can do to improve your sales performance in any kind of organization is this: be nice to people.
Recognize that they are humans first and clients second and acknowledge everyone for the contributions they have made to your increased quality of life.
But by this, I don't just mean that you need to be nice in a small way (you know…to always remember your manners just like Mom taught you). What I mean is that it's important to be nice in a big way—in a way that can make a difference in the lives of others.
At this time of year especially, there are millions of little things that each of us can do until the end of the year. From holiday cards, to gift baskets, lunches out or a cocktail party after work —when you make a point of being nice, you play a role in the happiness of others. And just as important, you help shape how others see you. I think that especially during the holidays, people want to know that you care about them, like them and enjoy doing business with them. Simply put, they need to know they are more than just a business transaction if you want to make more sales in the New Year!
Think of how you felt the last time you received an unexpected card from a friend or someone you work along side with an offer to celebrate the season. It's a good feeling, right? And it means a lot when you know that someone has taken the time to think about you. It says that someone cares about you and wants you to be happy.
The way you do the things you do
Of course when it's just a seasonal gesture or two, being nice doesn't take much effort at all. And… you can run the risk of seeming like a "fair-weather friend" just stepping in to be nice because the season demands it. But making a habit of it all year long means that a bit more thinking has to go into what you're doing. Getting good—really good—at being nice means you have to keep an eye on the things you do on a regular basis.
Here are three tips to keep in mind…
First, be consistent. If you want to be the person who always remembers everyone's birthday as well as Christmas, Valentine's Day and their anniversary, it's just not going to be enough to remember once and then never again. By being consistent, you demonstrate to people that what you're doing is more than being nice simply because you woke up one morning in a great mood. You're showing that this is something you do as a matter of practice…because you really care.
Second, be prompt. Don't wait a month before sending out thank you cards after hosting that great party. Do something while the memory and the good feelings are still fresh in everyone's minds. You're sending a powerful message to people about what matters to you in your life.
Third, be thoughtful. This is where your creativity and attention to detail can help you really stand out. Remember that there are no limits to how much you can care for others. Recently I was told a great story about a top salesperson who was asked what set him apart from everyone else in his business. "I genuinely love people and I like showing how much I appreciate them," he explained. "There are plenty who remember to send out a birthday card to a friend or client, but I'll bet I'm the only one who thinks to also send out a birthday card to that person's beloved dog!"
Just a little of the human touch
Being nice is all about getting in touch with the human element of what we do in life. And as obvious as it may seem, the importance of being nice is, like a lot of basics, something that a lot of people overlook or underestimate. And yet it's timeless advice! Go back and look at what people like Zig Ziglar were teaching forty years ago. He recognized, as I do, that there is immense potential in the power of goodwill and kindness. And that applies not just to our personal relationships, but to our business ones, too.
To add a personal touch this holiday season:
- If you are going to send out holiday cards, at least make sure they are addressed specifically to your client and are personally signed by you.
- If you are buying a gift choose something personal for your top clients rather than buying the same thing for everyone.
- If you are sending gift baskets locally, it's best to deliver them in person.
- Try having a holiday party for clients. This gives people a chance to meet each other and perhaps even do business together. What better present is there than to give your clients more revenue!
Remember that buying is a very personal, emotional decision. When buyers have a choice, they'll choose to do business with the person they like and trust the most. That's what's missing in the process approach to sales—and that's why adopters of that approach tend to wind up disappointed.
The process approach to sales tells people to act and behave the same way in front of every customer—start with step one, then you have to do step two, then you have to do step three. There's no room for, well, the niceties of life. Instead, it assumes that buyer behavior can be changed by force. And that's how buyers and sellers get out of sync.
This holiday season be nice. It will ensure you are rewarded in the New Year with highly profitable new sales.
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Make sure you check out Colleen's latest book, Nonstop Sales Boom for powerful strategies to drive consistent sales growth quarter after quarter, year after year.
Colleen Francis, Sales Expert, is Founder and President of Engage Selling Solutions (www.EngageSelling.com). Armed with skills developed from years of experience, Colleen helps clients realize immediate results, achieve lasting success and permanently raise their bottom line.
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