Sales Coaching Series, Part 16: Continuing with "What influences buyers!"

I trust that you have set out your sales goal, i.e., your B.H.A.G. (big hairy audacious goal) for the coming year.

I also trust that you have re-capped on some of my previous blogs to get you back into the mindset and on track for what is to come. Good! So let's move on with some more influencers.

We already referred to the major one, positivity.

Let's now turn to how you dress.

I recall working closely with great sales/management consultant, Brian Tracy, many, many years ago, as he was mentoring a group of us in Dublin. Always positive and always dressed impeccably, he shared some amazing sales ideas with us and encouraged us to not only practice positivity and be well dressed, but also gave us several other practical practices that he considered to be major influencers when we were out there, consulting with others.

By the way, when I speak about dressing well, I don't mean that every client expects you to have the cufflinks and shiny shoes (for us men) and the power-suits etc. (for females). In fact, this can be a complete "turn-off" for certain prospects, so it is important to know your audience and mirror them.


I recall one time taking this advice and applying it to a situation where I was approaching a potentially suitable prospect in the manufacture/farming community. I knew that the last thing this guy needed was some other guy like me in a fancy suit turning up, sticking out like a sore thumb and being a major contrast, not only to himself as the boss, but also his senior team.

What did I do? I dressed accordingly. No tie, just a presentable sports jacket, know what I mean. In other words, my clothing was not a distraction, and I blended in pretty well to the wider team. By the way, this turned out to be a €30k.+ client over time and a classic win-win for me and the prospect.

Was it down to the clothing only? Of course not, however, as I said earlier, "every little thing, counts". So, don't allow matters like clothing to be a distraction. Mirror what you think the future client might expect of you to wear and dress accordingly.  

A twin-sister of dressing well is one's grooming. Don't let your tardy grooming be a distraction, either. For example, pop in to the restroom in advance of any important meeting and take a critical look. Is the hair ok? How do the nails look?

I recall one colleague who had unexpectedly been called home at lunch hour as the young baby was ill and his wife needed a bit of support. He spent the 90 minutes helping his wife to catch up with chores and, in particular, by looking after baby.

This involved feeding, "winding (a.k.a. burping)" (I recall personal happy days doing this!), nappy changing etc. and were carried out as best possible by dad. He then left the house to go back to a pretty important meeting, not knowing that baby had burped the remnants of what he considered to be a very successful burp all over his jacket shoulder and down the back!

He went straight into the meeting... and the rest I will leave to your own imagination!

When you do go to a meeting and, say, you are bringing brochures, handouts, business cards or you have a notepad to take notes, how do these come across? How are these presented and how do they look to the prospect or client? Are they neatly folded or dog-eared? Do you have a briefcase or a folder? How does that look?

Let's face it; prospects and clients are making up their minds of all of the time. They are looking for moments of impression and is up to you to ensure that every moment of impression is a positive one. So, dress and grooming, while superficial I agree, are real opportunities to impress and influence buyers. Trust me on this... as the song says, "trust me on the sunscreen!"


Let's now turn to another influencer called "friendliness". There is an old saying that states "people like doing business with people they like". People that are likeable, I'm sure you agree we can categorise as being "friendly". Do you believe that? I certainly do.

So where you on the "friendliness" scale; out of maximum 10 points, score yourself. Be brutally honest!

Friendly people tend to be open with others. They invariably put others in their conversation, right in the middle and ahead of themselves. They are easy with others and there is an outgoing, rather than inward looking perspective, when dealing with others.

You could also classify it as a type of kindness. It is the way they behave with others, an empathy, a response to what others are saying rather than one's own opinions and what one thinks, oneself. As Stephen Covey says "seek first to understand and then to be understood". Brilliant.

Kindness is akin to friendliness, literally, seeing "the child" and vulnerability in others. Think about that for a moment. It is important that you understand this aspect.

When you are in the business of selling to others, putting yourself in the other person's shoes and empathising is a key skill, a critical success factor and is one of the major influencers that differentiates the top performers from the average.

I'm not talking about being a "walk-over" or doormat to others! No.

So, are we okay with friendliness and what it means to you and more importantly to your prospects? Good!

For this week, I want you to be aware of your dress code, of your grooming and in particular, friendship factor when approaching prospects. Commit to improving these by 1% per month over the next 12 months and see how much your self-esteem, personal pride and confidence rises in you and all that radiates out in a positive sense to your overall sales approach.

Until next week, then!

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