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The Seven Signs Of Desperation – And How To Avoid Them [Guest Post]

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The following entry is a Guest Post from author Peter Sheahan, who built two multimillion-dollar businesses by age 30 and has advised some of the world's leading corporations. Don't forget to turn to the NASE team of experts with your business questions.

As a small business owner, you are your own sales person.  You’re responsible for finding new business and clients and keeping them coming back for more.  And when you’re just starting out, it’s hard to make those early sales.  I’ve been there, working furiously to get your business off the ground, and desperate for someone—anyone—to buy.

It’s important for you to know that nothing kills your credibility more than appearing too eager to sell to the buyer. In a way, the art of influence is actually not to sell, but in fact to get the buyer to buy. When you focus on selling, you come across as trying to shove your offer down the buyer’s throat.

Here are the telltale signs of a desperate seller:

  • You talk way too much.
  • You fidget and seem uncomfortable in the meeting.
  • You don’t seem to be listening to what the buyer is saying.
  • You answer questions with pre-authored answers, even if they do not address the real question.
  • You appear frustrated and defensive when the buyer asks you for evidence to back up your claims.
  • You keep trying to convince them after they have committed.
  • You say things that suggest you are scared the buyer will renege on his or her commitment.

The bad news is there are no techniques or tools I can give you to make this easier, but I can give you some pointers that have worked really well for me through the years:

  • Talk less, listen more.
  • Ask a truck load of questions, especially directed questions such as ‘How can you see your business solving problem X?’ that elicit the pain points we talked about earlier and also let the buyer come to the conclusion himself or herself that he or she needs what you have.
  • Study the buyer’s world, his or her company, industry and role, before meeting with that person.
  • Where possible, let the moment of clarity come from the buyer’s mouth, and not yours, and then of course gently remind the buyer that what he or she has just decided he or she needs is what you are in the business of doing.

A buyer is much more likely to believe you if it is indeed he or she who came to the conclusion to engage you without you having to hammer it home.

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