Ray Titus is CEO of United Franchise Group (UFG), a global leader for entrepreneurs with brands in over 1,600 locations in 80 countries.
In over 30 years of being in the business of selling—whether it is selling ideas, insights, expertise, products, businesses or services—I have found that there are three attributes that are the bedrock of successful sales: enthusiasm, conviction and control (ECC). On top of that, there is one important aspect to keep in mind for today: embracing change.
Enthusiasm: Believing In What You’re Selling
Enthusiasm is vital for a business in selling its products and services. It trumps every other trait. Why?
If you’re not enthusiastic about your product or service, what do you think your prospect thinks? Humans are energetic beings; we can pick up on energy even when it’s not being outwardly expressed.
Have you ever walked into a room and sensed tension right away? Or could you tell someone was being ingenuine from the way they smiled at you? That said, people can feel if you’re just going through the motions or trying to appear excited when you’re not.
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If you want people to be willing to move to the next step in your sales process, you must be genuinely enthusiastic about it yourself.
Enthusiasm is shown through things like eye contact, a good handshake, voice inflection, laughing and not having your arms folded. It’s all about engagement with the prospect.
Because, at the end of the day, you are selling yourself, so it comes down to you and how effectively you pass that enthusiasm on to others.
Conviction: Being Assured And Confident
If you don’t honestly believe in your product or service, then you shouldn’t be selling it. People will quickly see through a lack of conviction.
We all want to be validated that we are making the right decisions. Giving and receiving assurance is one of the most important exchanges in the selling process. To be a successful seller, you must have the conviction to communicate confidently, overcome objections and reinforce good decisions. This leads to building trusting relationships, and it all starts with conviction.
Beneath strong conviction is firm, unwavering belief. You must first believe in the company, product or service you’re selling to have the conviction to offer its inherent value to others proudly.
For example, when I started my company with my father in 1986, I was all in. Yes, it was my own company, but I genuinely believed we offered the best product with the best service out there. My deep-rooted belief and confidence gave me the conviction to share it with others in a secure, unapologetic way. And that conviction helped quickly catapult our brand’s growth.
It’s important to note that showing conviction is not bragging or boasting; it’s confidence and passion.
How can you authentically show conviction? Share why you’re so passionate about what you’re selling. Is it a product or service that you use yourself? Did the company change your life in some way? While stating facts is essential to add credibility to what you’re selling, people tend to be much more connected to personal experiences, stories and testimonials—especially if what you’re selling is something big like a franchise.
Share anecdotes and real-life examples to show them that what you’re saying is true. You can also encourage prospects to talk with their spouse for unbiased input or connect them with other satisfied customers to help validate what you’re telling them.
Control: Managing The Sale
There is a reason for every step of a sales process and why each step must be done in the correct order. Getting ahead of the steps, or skipping steps, is never the shortcut to the sale you think it is. In fact, it is always the long way.
However, keep in mind that “the steps” are not the sale itself but more like a playbook in sports. The prospect deciding to take the next step is what happens when a salesperson does their job properly. Only look to close the deal once your prospect has reached the last step.
Remember, you are doing the selling, so you need to manage the sales process, including not rushing a decision. Being strategic with your follow-up also means you will time it right to ensure all sales process points are covered. This may not be timed precisely when the prospect suggests.
For example, while it is always important to listen to the prospect and respect their wishes if the date they suggest is too far off, I would respond with, “That’s great, but, knowing me, I’ll give you a call after the weekend.”
When it comes time to talk brass tacks, you have to be strong and willing to say “no” if the lead asks for what you consider a nonnegotiable. “No” is not always a bad word in sales if used correctly.
Ultimately, in every successful give-and-take negotiation, all parties walk away with a win.
ECC: The Right Approach For Sales
Remember that changes happen all the time in sales, even in the middle of the process. Be willing to adapt, bob and weave with every sale.
Embracing change has become one of the most critical attributes for any employee, especially salespeople. From utilizing CRMs and databases to understanding how to use Zoom, Teams and DocuSign, technology has become essential for salespeople in 2023. The way the world is changing so fast, salespeople need to keep up or risk being extinct.
That’s why enthusiasm, conviction and control, along with embracing change, are the right formula for selling success; it’s the 30,000-foot overall approach that can help guide every single sale.