And you thought selling snow and ice mitigation services to property managers was a difficult task.
Your own workforce may be the toughest customer you’ll ever face when it comes to selling new concepts, procedures, philosophies or strategic plans for future growth or expansion.
“Often, our employees are the most skeptical of us because they see the boss as the guy who wants to leverage and exploit them for personal gains,” says sales coach Weldon Long. “That’s why you have to build relationships with your people the same way you build relationships with your customers.”
Long, a featured speaker at this year’s ASCA Executive Summit, will talk extensively about sales performance and overcoming sales obstacles. Here, tough, he gives his best tips for selling your team on a new direction or business philosophy.
Show Genuine Interest. “People buy from people they like,” Long says. “It’s as old as sales itself. (Renowned business coach) Zig Ziglar used to talk about the four main things that people like to talk about – jobs, family, recreation and material possessions.” Engaging your people on any or all of those topics shows your genuine interest in them outside of the workplace and opens them up to hear you out on new ideas and concepts.
Be Likable. People also buy from people who like them, Long says. “It’s not enough for employees to like you. They need to know that you like them, as well.” Ask their advice on matters of mutual interests. Long says the logic is you generally only ask advice from people whom you respect, trust or admire. This mutual trust and admiration can make employees more receptive to breaking away from long-held yet outdated business processes.
Sell Your Vision. “People need to be sold on the vision of your company,” Long says. “Visionary leaders have three things in common: One, they know when they want to go, so you need a crystal-clear vision for your company. Two, communicate that vision to your people every time you speak to them. Not once a year, but every single time (you interact). And three, have absolute unequivocal confidence in your team to get you to your goal … And you must tell them that every day...that you believe in them and their abilities.”
Above all, you must be genuine in your inquiries and interests for them to buy into and follow your vision to its conclusion.
"People will see through the smoke screens," Long adds. "They'll see through manipulation. You have to be generally concerned about your people (to achieve success)."
Mike Zawacki is editor of Snow Magazine. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.