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6 Powerful Sales Techniques Even Non-Salespeople Should Master

6 Powerful Sales Techniques Even Non-Salespeople Should Master

Even if you are not looking to “close the deal” and get that sweet commission check, knowing how to sell is a skill that always comes in handy, regardless of whether you are in the sales business or not.

Think about it. You are selling yourself every day. Whether it is trying to get your coworkers to back up your ideas or convincing your spouse why your restaurant pick is the better choice, we are constantly selling ourselves.

Knowing some good sales techniques is not only a salesperson skill, but it is also a life skill. If you walk into a job interview feeling confident and knowing how to sell yourself to the employer, you are going to have an advantage over the competition. From dating to getting a loan or landing a promotion, learning how to put solid sales techniques into practice can be a real benefit.

Selling comes naturally to some people, but for others, it can feel awkward and even insincere or opportunistic. If you are unsure of your own sales skills, here are some game-changing sales techniques that will not leave you feeling like a slimy snake oil salesman.

1. Change Your Sales Perception

Before we jump into sales techniques and practices, you must first change your perception of what sales is and is not. Sales techniques are not about pushing somebody into something they do not need, want or cannot afford.

Take the word “selling” out of your vocabulary for a second and replace it with “motivating” because that is what you are doing. Selling is motivating somebody to take action.

Learning how to motivate others to take action that benefits both you and them will pay dividends throughout all stages of your life. To motivate others to take action, you have to actively listen to their needs and know the right way to persuade them into taking that desired course of action.

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Slicking your hair back, throwing on a pair of mirrored sunglasses, and adopting the loud-mouthed and pushy approach is not the way to go about this.

So, what works?

2. Know the Customer

This might sound obvious, but it can be easy to mess up. Knowing the customer means listening genuinely. Research shows most people are not the greatest at active listening. We might seem like we are listening, but we are really just waiting to talk.[1]

Learning to be an active listener takes some practice, but it can help you better know the hypothetical customer that you are selling to. Bill Clinton might not have been a salesman, but he probably would have been a great one. The former president was known for being such a good listener that he made whoever he met feel like they had his undivided attention.[2]

The best salespeople take a genuine interest in the problems that need to be solved. If you fail to know the customer, the rest of your sales pitch is going to be a real uphill climb.

Listening is only part of the battle. There is also preparation. Whether you are trying to sell yourself at a job interview or pitch an idea, going in unprepared is just foolish. Both teams in the Super Bowl know the strengths and weaknesses of the other team. They study their plays and develop a strategy long before the coin toss.

Do some research on your intended audience, and learn to understand what drives and motivates them. You want to find something that allows you to connect with them and speak their language. People want to work with those who they like and who understand their needs.

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3. Show Them the Benefits

A big part of learning how to motivate somebody is to communicate what’s in it for the other person. You already know what’s in it for you, but you need to put yourself in their shoes. You have to convince them why they should hire you for the job or sign on to your idea.

Do not focus on your own agenda, but focus on why it is in their best interest to agree with you. When people buy from a salesperson, they do not do it because they want to make the salesperson happy. They do it because they have a need or problem that requires a solution. It is your job to understand that need and tailor your message to meet their needs.

This is where some of that research and preparation we discussed comes into play. The better you know the other person’s problem or goal they are trying to reach, the better you can convey how your background, talents, and ideas make you the right person for the job.

4. Keep Your Cool

We’ve all heard of the expression “don’t let them see you sweat.” This is sometimes easier said than done, however, and nerves have a real way of throwing a monkey wrench in a sales pitch. There is no magic solution to keeping your cool, but there are certainly a few things that you can do that will help.

Practice what you want to say. This does not mean that you need to memorize verbatim every word of what you plan to say. Nobody likes the feeling that they are being lectured to. Just take a few minutes to get a feel for how your pitch feels coming out of your mouth. The pitch for an idea might sound great in your head, but it may feel disjointed rolling off the tongue.

Even with some practice, it is easy to find yourself in the middle of trying to convey your great idea when the adrenaline kicks in and starts to get the best of you. This is often around the time that people start to get flustered and find themselves rambling or bragging. This sort of thing is a real turn off, and the person you are speaking to will pick up on this.

Slow down for a second and do your best to be conscious of your tone and speed. Take a deep breath and carry on.

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5. Create Small “Yes’s” Along the Way

If you want to get that final yes at the end of your sales pitch, it helps to shoot for smaller yes’s along the way. This helps with psychologically establishing a connection with others. It allows them to see your point of view and why your idea is a good one.

In the 1960s, a team of psychologists wanted to explore what would become known as the foot-in-the-door technique. The canvased a neighborhood and asked each house if they could put a large “Drive Carefully” sign in the front yard. Only 20 percent of the residents agreed.

The researchers went back a few days later and asked if the residents would agree to put a much smaller sign in their window. More people agreed to this smaller request.

When the researchers returned a few weeks later, 76 percent of the residents agreed to put the larger sign in their yards.[3]

So what does this mean?

By getting a yes to a smaller request first, you are establishing a connection and asking the other person to make a smaller mental commitment. While trying to motivate somebody, ask them questions along the way that touch upon their need or problem and result in a “yes.” By doing this, they are that much more likely to give you a final “yes” at the end.

6. Close the Deal

Alright, you have listened to the customer, kept your cool and conveyed a message that speaks to their needs. Now, it is time to close the deal. A lot of salespeople try to create a sense of urgency with a now or never approach. This can come off as both pushy and desperate.

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Yes, the idea that you are discussing may indeed relate to a specific deadline, but being too pushy can backfire pretty easily.

It is rare for somebody to immediately say yes right away. Everyone has their own set responsibilities, and people often need a bit of time to think things over.

It is always a good idea to ask the other person if they have any questions about what was discussed or if they have any concerns about moving forward. This gives you a chance to clear things up.

Finally, ask if you can follow up at a specified point in the future. This avoids leaving things open-ended and allows you some time to tweak your message.

In Conclusion

Remember that good sales technique is not about trying to push somebody into something that is not right for them. It is about understanding their needs and conveying why you have an effective solution.

If you can master the sales techniques outlined above, you will succeed even if you never technically sell anything.

Need to Know More About Sales Techniques? Read These:

Featured photo credit: Cytonn Photography via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Scientific American: Now Hear This! Most People Stink at Listening [Excerpt]
[2] Psychology Today: Bill Clinton: A Study in Charisma
[3] Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: Compliance Without Pressure: The Foot-in-the-Door Technique

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Jeremy Diamond

Jeremy Diamond is a lawyer and entrepreneur. He is the Senior Partner of Diamond and Diamond Lawyers, a national law firm based in Canada

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Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

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  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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