Written by Ari Greebaum, Co-founder of conXpros
We have already gained the understanding of what self-confidence means, and the general positive impact confidence has on our prospective buyers in the first 2 parts of this series. Now we will set our targets on the final piece of the puzzle, conveying our confidence to our prospect and turning them into clients. Confidence is delivered with 2 vehicles; body language & our words. Master these 2 and combine it with self-confidence, explosive results will follow!
Be physically fit
Your body language and physical presence can project many images that can either assist to instill confidence or damage the image you wish to portray. Eye contact is a critical aspect of building trust as well as allowing your prospect to see your confidence and therefore believe it. Too many times I have encountered salespeople who struggle with this very concept. Their eyes are everywhere other than on me. I am left to wonder if they are focused on me and my needs, or are they mentally somewhere else more important to them. We have all seen the TV police dramas where the subject being interrogated may be proclaiming their innocence verbally, but the interrogator and we as viewers know that they are not telling the truth. Yes, it is a TV drama, but the same is true in the real world. If your eyes are shifting or focused elsewhere, it screams lack of confidence. Regardless what your words are, it will be challenging for the prospect to feel confident in those words as ones he can rely on.
Our body language also sends strong and clear messages. Often this begins immediately upon introduction, where you are being judged and sized up. Is your handshake a confident one? It is not important how strong your grip is, rather does it project confidence. I have shaken many hands throughout my life and can with little error determine the confidence level that individual is feeling based on that customary interaction. Is your posture one that has your shoulders slouched and head bowed downward, or do you stand “proud” with your head held high and confident shoulders? What do you do with your hands and feet during the meeting? Are you fidgeting? Are you crossing your feet, legs or arms? These are all indicators of nervous energy and a lack of confidence. No one should sit or stand (preferable to sit when the environment allows) rigid like a statue, but you should be aware of the messages your body language and posture is sending. I suggest keeping your feet on the ground and legs at a 90-degree angle as much as possible. Your arms should be at your side or using them to demonstrate, but not folded or making useless distractions to the prospect. I am not suggesting that by any of these negative oriented actions, you will destroy your opportunity, but you will certainly increase your potential to instill confidence when you are projecting it with your physical self
Have a way with words
What you say and how you deliver those words will either make or break your success as a salesperson. Regardless of the level of knowledge you may possess or the King Kong like confidence you may feel, sales are routinely lost by the most self-confident of people due to what comes out of their mouth. Projecting confidence through our word choice, delivery, and tone are crucial. Your words are powerful and when used successfully they will express and instill confidence, as well as elicit positive emotional responses. Unfortunately, you can also create the opposite effect with poorly chosen words. I believe that you are essentially programming the prospect to say “yes” to doing business. Just like a computer will only do what it is programmed to do, the prospect will respond in a similar way. Equally important to the word choice is the tone or delivery of your words, but in this article, I will focus on the words themselves.
There is a 3-stage process I will share which will help you to sound like a confident individual. Regardless of your experience level in sales, this method will result in confident speech and lead to the prospect having the feeling of confidence that you will meet their needs. I will first list each of the 3 stages and then individually focus on the details to help you to understand and quickly put into practice this extraordinarily powerful tool. Just like ESP (extrasensory perception) can help those possessing the power to “predict” the future or “read” people’s minds, the ESP I employ also has a predetermination of future events. By using it properly, we can “predict” the prospect will be highly motivated to say “yes”!!!
- P=Power Words
Confident people speak with positive words, therefore the first step on the path to sounding confident is to eliminate negative words from our vocabulary. This challenge requires you to have high levels of consciousness, as for many people these words have been part of your normal speech since early childhood. You must also understand that you are “programming” the prospect and every use of a negative word is writing the “code” that results in a “no” answer more often than not. I have seen statistics that suggest that the word “no” is the most common word we hear as a child. A UCLA study reported that young children can hear this word as many as 400 times in a day! They also suggest that most children hear the word “no” or “don’t” a whopping 148,000 times before the age of 13 compared to only a few thousand “yeses” in the same time period. Those numbers may be startling, and they should be. It does help explain why many modern-day parenting books suggest the opposite of the negative programming many of my generation’s parents were trained to do. They now suggest creating positive reinforcement to create a better opportunity for your child to be “programmed” with positivity. We also can see why it is so easy for the people you are trying so hard to get a yes from to be programmed to say “NO”. You must make sure you are feeding the right messages that will lead to the “yes”. I have also experienced this with my own children’s schooling, which is in my opinion too focused on the negative rather than the positive. For example, my kids report how many questions they got “wrong” as opposed to how many they got correct. It would tell me the same thing, but one is with a negative slant and the other a positive and constructive one.
Words are incredibly powerful and influential. Japanese scientist, Masaru Emoto performed some fascinating studies on the effects words have on energy in the 1990’s. When frozen, water that’s free from all impurities will form beautiful ice crystals that look exactly like snowflakes under a microscope. Water that’s polluted, or has additives, will freeze without forming crystals. In one of his experiments, Emoto poured pure water into vials labeled with negative phrases like “I hate you” or “fear.” After 24 hours, the water was frozen, and no longer crystallized under the microscope: It resulted in gray, deformed clumps instead of the snowflake like crystals. In contrast, he placed labels that said things like “I Love You,” or “Peace” on vials of polluted water, and after 24 hours, they produced gleaming, perfectly hexagonal crystals. Emoto’s experiments proved that energy generated by positive or negative words can actually change the physical structure of an object. If this was not documented and accepted as real science, I too would be skeptical. But there is no skepticism regarding the power words have to transform and effect the psyche and emotions of a human being.
Elimination of negative language includes a long list of words, but I will share a few to help get you focused on what falls into this harmful category: No, not, won’t, don’t, can’t cancel, fail, worry, afraid, bad, worthless, never, stressful, damaged, incorrect, disappointed, and so many more that project the same negative emotion and programming. As challenging as it may seem, you must eliminate these words from existence. Once you have raised your consciousness in this step, and began to convert negative oriented statements into the negative free alternative, you will then be prepared for the next stage.
It is human nature to leave ourselves an “out” in the way we speak and act. Many times, these “outs” are exactly what prevent you from achieving the desired goal. For example, I have seen two types of individuals in my experience of hiring, training and onboarding for sales related roles. One comes in with a “back door”, the other with an “only door” mentality. I do not fault those coming in with an alternative if this position did not work out to be their dream job, as this is human nature. On the other hand, the individuals entering with the attitude that this is the only option for their future, I have a great deal of respect for. Many if not all of them have other options, as is the nature of sales. I cannot recall who I heard this from but it is something that stuck with me, “the only sales people that are unemployed are doing so by choice”. Just take a look at any employment site, where you will find page after page of every type of sales position currently hiring, and this will become clear to you as well. Unfortunately for most companies, sales roles are a revolving door, which in turn allows for the statement above. Why did I go into such detail about the job market? It is to emphasize the point of the people who put their back against the wall & committed 100% of themselves to the opportunity currently in front of them, and the incredible clarity of focus they put to work for themselves. If you put 10 of these individuals into a group of new hires with one half the “back door” type and the other half the “only door” type, I would wager any figure on the number of people achieving success from the “only door” group dwarfs the “back door” group. I have seen it materialize this way too many times to believe otherwise.
In speech, people also leave themselves the “back door” or “out”, and the majority of the time it happens subconsciously and “naturally”. How often do you tell a potential buyer “I KNOW that you WILL achieve excellent results”? If you are being honest with yourself, your typical statement will sound more along the lines of “I BELIEVE you MAY achieve excellent results”. The majority of people speak in uncertainties as opposed to definitive, confident statements. No offense, but no one cares about what you “believe” or “think” in life, yet they will buy into what you “know”. Telling someone they “may” or “can” get a result is a huge difference from informing them they “will”. It seems simple, and you are right, it is simple in concept, yet most people fall short in this area. Too many times, while engaged in training activities reviewing recorded sales calls with the salesperson, we would hear these exact types of uncertain and confident lacking statements. Every one of them would cringe when they heard themselves use such words and immediately understood why the prospects were not feeling the confidence that the product or service would meet their very need. I would remind them of the importance of moving this to the front of their conscience thought when engaged with a prospect. It is for this exact reason why it is so imperative to know your material and process. When you have this confidence in your knowledge and have practiced it over and over again, you then can focus on the words you are saying vs. what to say.
There are many of these “middle of the road” words beyond the few we mentioned above. You can easily identify others by asking yourself if that word leaves any other option on the table. When you find these words, SHIFT them into POSITIVE and “committed” words. This shift or transition is what allows you to make the same points to your prospect, but in a confidence infusing way. This is the area which most salespeople remain just that, salespeople, as opposed to elevating to the language and therefore the results of a closer. Eliminate the negatives, shift from uncertain to certain, and you will be on your way to sounding confident. Just like anything good in life, it takes effort and dedication, but the rewards are massive.
The final stage of the E-S-P process is Power Words. We already have the foundations of a good “stew”, but you cannot put beef and potatoes into a pot and expect to satisfy the pallet. You must also add the seasonings to the staple ingredients in order to infuse flavor to your dish and have your guests asking for seconds. The seasonings I am referring to are emotion eliciting words or what will I refer to as “Power Words”. Words such as awesome, outstanding, tremendous, phenomenal, exceptional, discover, experience, etc. all serve as excellent examples. They all elicit some type of positive emotion. You may be asking how does “discover” or “experience” make that list, which is a good question. Astronauts are launched hundreds of miles into outer space to “discover” what is up there. Thrill seekers tie rubber bands to their ankles and jump off bridges to “experience” the feeling of freefall. Pretty emotional actions, wouldn’t you agree? You must develop a handful of these power words and season your already confident statements with them and experience them coming to life. These words are called “power” for a reason, they intrinsically have a power to elicit emotion, so you must use them effectively by refraining from “juicing” these words as they are juicy enough on their own. When you over emphasize power words, you will sound like an over excited host of an infomercial, rather than the confident person you are aiming to represent.
The “why” this works is equally important as learning the application. We spoke about the concept of programming the prospect previously, but there is another aspect of this programming you can better understand and therefore apply the E-S-P process more effectively. We established that most people are already programmed with a negative leaning. Add to that the negative and stressful experiences of everyday life that everyone is influenced by. Whether it is in troubling encounters with their spouse, children, employees, customers, equipment, vehicle, world events, social media or any other common stressor, people tend to be surrounded by negativity at every turn. This negativity is what you must use as the opportunity to be a light to the prospect in an often dark world.
Power Words serve as a vehicle to move a prospect from a negative world of problems to a positive world which is phenomenal, successful, exciting, outstanding, and awesome. What person would not want to have even a little of that sunshine come into their lives. You must be that ray of light that brightens up their lives. Through our word choice, not only do we sound confident, but we also achieve the challenging objective of instilling that confidence and positivity into the person we are speaking with. Top salespeople are confident & positive individuals that consistently make the choice to infuse and impact others.
Confidence is the key to success in sales. Apply the tools offered in these articles and enjoy the ride to the top!