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The Green SheetGreen Sheet

The Green Sheet Online Edition

February 27, 2012 • Issue 12:02:02


Are you trying too hard?

It sometimes seems that everything in the United States has to be over the top: television commercials with soundtracks so loud viewers hit mute on their remote controls to escape from the din; action movies with so many special effects the story gets buried by the gunfire, explosions and imploding buildings; and pop music performances so flashy the human emotions great songs can convey are overpowered by synthesizers, strobe lights and gyrations.

There is, of course, a place for stunning special effects and wild performances. But to be effective, all elements in a performance or presentation need to be appropriate to the audience and coordinated to create experiences that will be memorable and positive.

If something is too loud, too invasive, too pervasive, people will withdraw as quickly as possible. Conversely, if something is too soft or syrupy sweet, that will drive most people away, too.

Too strong, too weak

Unfortunately, some salespeople tend to come on too strong in the mold of the dreaded used car salesman stereotype. Merchant level salespeople (MLSs) who approach merchants with overeager smiles and handshakes that are too firm are not signaling confidence and sincerity, just the opposite.

Merchants instinctively wonder what's behind the overheated act. Is it insecurity about selling ability? Is it lack of confidence about what's being sold? Whatever it is, merchants can usually tell it's not genuine.

Then there are those who are so sweet and lacking in backbone, they'll say yes to anything to make the sale - even if they won't be able to make money on the deal.

Both types of behavior may be well meaning; they may even represent a particular seller's customary attitude and way of interacting with people. But most of the time this is not the case, and merchants can perceive such behaviors as demeaning and manipulative, even predatory.

Just right

You can do several things to make sure that rather than repelling prospects, you come across in a way that puts them at ease:

  • Appraise your performance by noticing the urges you get when on sales calls, either to overpower or underwhelm, and rather than act on them, observe your feelings and focus on what your prospect is saying instead.

  • Go on a few sales calls with an MLS you admire. Take note of what that pro does, and compare and contrast the successful MLS's behavior with yours. Then adapt some of what your mentor does to make it your own.

  • Practice your greetings in front of a mirror.

  • Record a few of your presentations, determine your strengths and weaknesses, and build on the strengths.

  • Research your prospects before you approach them so you will have real facts and insights to convey when you meet them.

  • Become a complete expert on each and every one of your company's products and services, including how they compare to your primary competitors' offerings. And keep abreast of changes as your company's offerings evolve.

  • No matter how much you improve, continue to study your profession by attending seminars and webinars offered by the industry's best salespeople. Trade association conferences are a good source of inspiration, insight and knowledge in this regard.

All of these actions will help build your confidence. And when you have confidence in yourself, your ideals and your company, you don't need to be blustery, put on false airs or cut your prices to win sales. Who you really are - as a person and a payment professional - is quite enough.

Reality may not be as flashy as illusion, but it has the benefit of being authentic. Merchants will trust you because you will be acting in a manner that is true to yourself. end of article

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