How to Influence People: Avoid 5 Common Mistakes

There are five common errors that salespeople make in the course of the sales conversation that can derail or destroy a sale to even the most qualified prospect. If you want to know how to influence people, it is important that you be aware of them, and that you avoid them at all costs.

How to Talk, Not Argue

The first is arguing. When you argue with a prospect, you are indirectly telling him he is wrong. People hate to be told they are wrong, especially when it is obvious that they are. They dislike people who point out their errors.

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Learn how to talk in a way that is agreeable during a sales conversation. If the prospect challenges your claims for your product, use the “feel, felt, found” method and say something like, “I understand how you could feel that way. Others felt the same way when we first showed them this aspect of our product. But this is what they found when they started using it.”

Eliminating the argument is one of the simplest sales techniques for you to begin with.

You job is to win a customer, not win an argument. Unless the customer questions the integrity of your company or the quality of your products, let it pass. Focus on what the product can do for him, and ignore the rest.

Believe in Yourself

The second error that salespeople make is not having faith in themselves. The very best salespeople have an attitude of calm, confident, positive self-expectation. They feel good about themselves and they have a quiet faith that everything they are doing is contributing toward their inevitable success. They are relaxed about their lives and their careers. They know how to close a sale. Often, their customers decide to buy from them even before they’ve made a sales presentation or described their product or service.

In order to learn how to influence people you need to develop the same attitude and attributes of those who are the champions of selling everywhere.

Often one of the most powerful sales techniques you can have is a strong belief in yourself.

Point of View

A third common error that most salespeople make is the inability to connect with their prospects. Human beings are 100% emotional, in that everything that you say or do, all of your decisions, and your indecisions, are determined by your emotions. Therefore, in order to learn how to influence people you need to be able to understand their point of view and connect with what causes them to feel strongly one way or another.

There is a little saying that we teach in our sales seminars, that goes like this, “If you can see Joe Jones through Joe Jones eyes, you can tell Joe Jones, what Joe Jones buys.” What this simply says is that if you can develop a high level of empathy, that you can get out of yourself and put yourself into the mind and heart of the other person, you can have an inordinate influence on their actions and their behavior.

The very best sales people are extremely sensitive and empathetic to others. They listen very closely to what others are saying and they listen for the messages that are being conveyed, between the lines. They are aware that there are things that are said and there are things that are not said.

Perhaps the most powerful technique you can develop to learn how to influence people is the ability to ask questions carefully and to listen attentively to the answers. Remember, listening can build trust and credibility. The more you listen to what the other person is really saying, the more the other person will trust you and be open to your influence. A basic rule is that you should never say anything if you can find a way to ask it, instead.

Tell the Truth

The fourth error to avoid is overselling. This happens when you say that your product can do something it cannot. It verges on the border between puffing and misrepresentation. Since the element of trust is the critical catalyst that makes the sale come together in the end, you must tell the truth and not do or say anything that might shatter that trust.

In fact, understatement in selling today is probably more impressive than overstatement. Instead of your saying something exceptional about the capabilities of your product, you can tell about an experience enjoyed by one of your customers. Put the words in someone else’s mouth. It’s much easier for a customer to accept and believe a positive remark if it is someone other than you who has said it.

Don’t Be Afraid

The fifth error to avoid is the fear of rejection. People who fear rejection become so overly concerned with not offending the customer that they avoid asking for the order. People who care only about making the sale often offend the customer and end up losing it. Successful salespeople keep their eyes on both balls at the same time.

Top salespeople have two qualities, empathy and ambition. The quality of empathy causes them to be sensitive to the best interests of their customers. The quality of ambition causes them to be focused on making the sales expected of them. And they manage to keep these two qualities in balance. They are both concerned about the customer and concerned about the sale.

How to close a sale

If you can eliminate these 5 common mistakes that sales people make during the sales process, then you can radically improve your sales results.

Topics included in this article include:

  • How to influence people
  • Sales techniques
  • How to close a sale

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About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Youtube.

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