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How Customers Make Judgements Before You Even Speak. The Sales Playbook Part 2 of 100.

Updated: Mar 24

I'm going to try and explain this without using buzzwords as much as possible so you can get an actual understanding of what a sales process looks like. While the business side requires marketing and advertising efforts, a lot of people looking for their first sales job aren't going to be in a position that they have to buy their own leads. So I'll cover that later in the series but it's important that you understand the sales process at its fundamental level. That means start from the beginning.

So the actual sales process starts the second the customer sees or hears the salesman's voice for the first time. Think people don't judge you based on your appearance? Science says otherwise. Research shows that judgments based on facial appearance can occur almost instantaneously, with some studies saying as little as 100 milliseconds (0.1 seconds). In that time they take impression of trustworthiness, attractiveness, and competence just from your face.

This is why you always hear sales trainers saying mindset is important. If you hate going to work and your life sucks, you aren't going to have that positive, confident look with every sales encounter. Negative mindset means fighting an uphill battle right from the star.

All of our sales are done over the phone? While you might be able to sit in pajamas and sell, there are still judgments being made before you finish your first word. Studies show that people can form an impression about an individual's personality, emotional state, and even socioeconomic status within seconds of hearing their voice. Don't get upset, you do it too. The study published in the Journal of Nonverbal Behavior indicated that listeners could assess attributes like dominance, trustworthiness, and warmth from brief vocal clips, often last than a second.

While this might seem unfair, its how humans work so you need to take that into account if you want to perform at the highest level. So here are a few ways you can improve the initial encounter with our customers and start on the right foot forward.

Let's start with visual appearance and how that can affect the customers judgments of you. The summarized version is this, look your absolute best and most confident each day. That's cool but if you've never been confident or felt like you looked good like most guys out there, how do you even do it.

These are things you need to work on every day. In and out of work. First is posture. This is incredibly important. Standing tall with your chest out, stomach in, eyes level and forward, and your shoulders tall. It doesn't matter if you are 5'5" or 6'5", the more you work on your posture the more confident you will not only appear but you will start to feel more confident as well.

I want you to promise me that you'll do the follow for 60 days. You don't even have to make extra time for it because you can do it all day long. When you sit and when you get up, I want you to focus on keeping your back straight and imagine someone is pulling a string toward the ceiling and its attached to the top of your head directly in the middle.

Did you do it while reading that? Yeah me too. Now just roll your shoulders back and then let them sink down. Now just tighten your core a little bit to be aware of your stomach and look straight ahead. This is how I want you to sit and stand every day. Next up is eye contact.

This one is hard. Everyone says make more eye contact but if you are lacking in confidence eye contact can be very uncomfortable. It feels oddly intimate and too personal right. Don't worry that's where I started too. If it doesn't and you can naturally make eye contact then you are definitely a step ahead as long as you are using it.

I'm sure you've heard the old trick of just looking at their nose but the only downside to that is you miss a lot of facial cues when zoned in. When you start to watch someone's eyes as they think and speak, you'll naturally pick up on what we called in my interrogation days as "signs of deception". Basically you learn to see the signs of stress caused to body from lying. They are incredibly small but you'll start to see them more and more as you get more used to it.

So on top of the ability to see at what precise point the customer feels even remotely uncomfortable, you can also build tremendous amounts of trust by using eye contact correctly. Think about when you were a kid. If you were scared or nervous about something, your parents would look into your eyes to calm you down and it worked. This is because we naturally detect these signs of deception even though we aren't aware of it most times.

Someone is only able to keep solid eye contact if they aren't burdened by the stress of lying. That or a psychopath but they would make great sales reps. For us normal folks, if you try to tell a lie or speak about something you aren't confident in, you'll always look away.

So for now work on posture and eye contact. I'm going to cover this again later in the series but if you following along I want you to learn the skill early on in the 100 part series and fine tune them to perfection by time we get to the end. Next up will be the non-visual cues. Things you need to listen to and how to speak to the customer in a way that builds genuine trust and credibility.

As always thank you for reading. If you have any questions or have some information you want to see in future post just let me know. I don't charge for simple advice so don't be afraid to reach out. If you're a business owner and want to know how to teach these skills and more to your sales team, just reach out and I'll see what I can do to help.

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Part 3 comes out next week and is going to cover the essential qualities of a successful salesperson. See you then.

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