ADVICE

Assertive will always trump aggressive

Posted 2/25/13

Are you passive, aggressive or assertive? Only one way wins.

The answer is “assertive.” It’s the best strategy for engaging, establishing control, proving value, creating a buying atmosphere and forging a relationship.

I define assertiveness as a state of mind and a state of preparation PRIOR to implementation in a sales call.

CAUTION: This writing assumes (a bad thought process in sales) you have both read and mastered last week’s part one. You must read, understand and put those concepts into practice BEFORE part two can take shape.

The two remaining parts of assertiveness are:

1. The sales presentation itself.

2. The follow-up to the sales call.

Interesting that the sales call, the actual presentation, does not require the same amount of assertiveness as the sales follow-up. It’s way more difficult to re-engage a prospect and chase down a decision.

However, if you’re a great salesperson, an assertive salesperson, follow-up may not be necessary because you have asserted your way to the sale during the presentation.

When you get in front of a prospective customer, it is imperative that you look impressive and sound impressive. You know the old saying, “You never have a second chance to make a first impression.” You must start in a positive position in order to create a positive outcome.

Assertiveness begins with your eye contact, smile and handshake. These actions establish you in the mind of the prospect as a person who is both self-assured and happy.

You take a relaxed seat. You accept anything that is offered to you in the way of water or coffee. You put yourself in the lean-forward position. Any tools or equipment you need to make your presentation are in front of you and ready to go. And you immediately begin by discussing anything other than your business and their business.

You begin the business of making friends. You begin the business of creating mutual smiles. You begin talking about them in a way that lets them know you’ve done your preparation and your homework. At any moment you can begin to discuss their needs, however you prefer to discuss their family or their personal interests first.

The segue from rapport-building to business discussion requires an assertive thought process. There’s no formula, but there is a feeling. The salesperson’s responsibility is to feel when it’s right to move forward, and then have the assertive courage to do it.

Assertive presentations start with questions, offer unchallengeable proof in the middle and end with a customer commitment that you have earned.

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