4 Ways Belief Makes or Breaks Sales
Think having confidence and great people skills are the only two traits needed to make a sale? Think again. Sure, they are important, but they aren’t everything. The greatest, and most persuasive, salesperson is one who truly believes in their product. The ultimate goal isn’t just making the sale, it’s building a relationship founded on trust and belief in your product, and that relationship will lead to long-term success. Keep reading for four tips on how to bolster your belief in a product.
My first job out of college was as a Social Media Manager of a furniture store, an ideal job; however, I also had to work as a sales assistant. I had no sales experience, and as an avid IKEA fan, no knowledge of furniture either.
During my sales training, I was introduced to the store’s number one selling brand; an American-made, solid hardwood, hand-crafted furniture company. I was told to familiarize myself with the product since most likely I would be selling it the most. The only problem was I didn’t like it.
The first three months working at the store I didn’t sell a single item of that brand's furniture. I showed it to plenty of customers, told them it was the best thing our store could offer, yet not a single sale. I didn’t understand why, every other sales associate had no problems, and wasn’t it supposed to be the top seller?
It wasn’t until a customer asked me if I would furnish my home with the brand that I understood the mistakes I had been making. Would I purchase it? No, it wasn’t my style, but that isn’t what she was asking. She already liked the way it looked, she was concerned with its other features; is it durable, is it safe, what is its longevity? Regarding those terms of course I would buy it. The dresser she was contemplating had no metal on it to rust, it was solid oak, you could stand in its drawers without fear of it tipping over, and its value would increase over time.
After this experience, I sold thrice as much because I found a way to believe in the product I was selling.
Personal preference aside, the product was undeniably great and my admiration for the construction of the dresser, as well as other products of the brand, was evident in my sales pitch. How could I expect my customer to buy a product that I didn’t believe in? I couldn’t, which is why I didn’t make a sale until I found what made my product so great.
It has been proven that we are more persuasive in sales when we believe in what we are selling. Below are four ways to solidify your belief in a product, or learn when the belief is not possible and how to handle that situation.
1. Know What You’re Selling
You cannot believe in a product if you do not have knowledge of it, nor can you successfully pitch the product to a customer. Having a deep knowledge of the product you are trying to market is the first step to a successful sale. Why is it great? What does it offer the consumer? How does it differ from other similar products? Would you use the product?
My first mistake in sales was letting the outward appearance of the furniture dictate my overall impression, rather than the facts of the product. My subjective opinion of its appearance didn’t matter, that is the customer’s decision. What did matter was the overall quality of the product, and that was something I could genuinely promote.
2. Find a Purpose in Your Product
If you’re like me and the style of the product doesn’t suit you, and its quality isn’t something spectacular, looking for the purpose of the product is a great way to promote believability within yourself and your customers.
Sixty-nine percent of millennials worldwide want businesses to facilitate their involvement in addressing social challenges.
The Body Shop is a great example of a brand that offers a purpose to its products. For example, they are committed to reducing their environmental footprint, creating cruelty-free makeup and skincare, while also reducing their energy expenditure. The purpose of their products is what differentiates them from their competitors, and what makes belief in them genuine.
3. Avoid Self-Deception
Wanting to believe in a product and actually believing in a product are two vastly different things. A product may sound perfect on paper, but when it doesn’t live up to its hype, we may try and convince ourselves otherwise by ignoring negative signs and actively seeking out evidence to contradict our negative experience.
One way of holding yourself accountable for self-deception is to examine the motive for promoting the product, probably financial, and asking yourself if that incentive was off the table, would you still promote it? If the answer is no, stop fighting that cognitive dissonance you’re experiencing and reexamine your options.
4. Learn When to Say No
Unfortunately, we aren’t going to believe in every product, and therefore, cannot promote it honestly. However, saying NO can be hard, especially when money is involved.
If a brand wants to work with you, but you either don’t understand their product, or your beliefs don’t match up with theirs, it’s okay to say no. In fact, they’ll probably thank you for not wasting their time and money. It will also save you the hardship of having to pretend to love a product that you'd rather not be promoting. If you’re looking at it as a money lost opportunity, don’t. This act will leave room open for better-suited brands to work with you in the future.
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