Assert control is the final part of our discussion of the three major characteristics that great sales reps possess. To be honest, when I first read this, I had a problem with the phrase “assert control”. My philosophy about selling includes creating a safe environment where an open and honest discussion can ensue. Asserting control conjured images of a hard sell which is antithetical to being a great rep. But upon learning more, I realized that this phrase referred to the ability to close the sales conversation by being direct but nonthreatening. This characteristic is in sync with the Delta Point philosophy of creating a safe environment and asking for a commitment.
Those of you who have participated in high pressure environments know that they are not ideal. In fact, they are uncomfortable for both the seller and the customer. If you want to grow your business and your relationship with the customer, the high pressure sales call is one to avoid. The opposite situation, the no pressure environment, is also one to avoid. This is where those sales reps who develop friendships are most comfortable. But there is no progress made on the sale—it tends to reinforce the status quo.
In order to change, there needs to be some pressure to do so. This is why the low pressure environment is ideal. With an objective defined before the onset of the call, the sales rep plans the call to gain a commitment. Commitments don’t need to be “to buy today”. In complex sales situations, this is unrealistic. But you do want the customer to make some commitment to action. For by committing to a small action the customer has taken the first step on the path to larger commitments down the road. According to psychologists, making that first step, that small commitment helps the person define who they are. Larger commitments made later that are based on this small commitment just help reinforce that self image.
Another reason that asserting control seemed antithetical to what I’ve been advocating in selling is because people do not like being told what to do. This is a corollary to that hard sell. I know when someone tells me I should do some thing, I don’t want to do it. People want to feel that they are the ones who are making the decision. It is the skilled sales person who knows how to position her product so that the customer can easily see how that product addresses the customer’s identified need and/or want. That’s where the art of selling comes into play. Through thoughtful questioning and involving the customer in meaningful dialogue, the customer feels empowered in making that buying decision.
Although we may be using different words and terms to describe the main attributes of a high performing sales representative, this Sales Executive Council study confirms what I’ve been advocating all along. It’s a great feeling! If you want to learn more about the specific types of training and materials that we have developed at Delta Point to help increase the effectiveness of sales representatives, please peruse our website: gottochange.com. Remember, if you don’t invest time to get better, your competition will.