The traffic light, patented in November 1923, happened before selling became labeled a profession. Over the years some salespeople may stray from the ethical and altruistic meanings originally given to the profession. Traffic lights and roundabouts, however, have always stayed their purpose.
Color coded: In many cities across the world, selling actually happens at the red lights! Street sellers approach your car when you come to a stop to sell you a newspaper, wash your windshield or maybe someday offer you a cup of coffee. That may be the only straying from the original purpose of bringing your vehicle to a stop. Still the red light communicates a steady action – stop. Take your stop, caution and go commands from the prospect. In business-to-business and most business to consumer selling, if your prospect gives you signs to slow down, then do it. If your prospect gives you signs to keep on, then continue with your questions, your presentation and your helping them to buy. This makes for easier selling. And introverts may this most comfortable.
Sequenced: Years ago my husband and I wanted to buy a home delivery service. There was one company in our area so we called them and they sent a representative out to talk with us. My husband and I both generally are decisive. After we learned the basics and then the pricing, we were ready to buy and told the representative, “Let’s do it.” Unbelievably, he said, “Oh, no. We can’t. I have to complete my presentation!” Informed and top sales people take their Stop, Caution, and Go commands from the prospect. If your prospect is ready to buy, then go with them. If your prospect has concerns, then they likely need more information and it is your role to find out what that is. Introverts may have to let go of the urge to follow the planned approach.
Certainly there is more to traffic lights, like flashing, combinations and even pedestrian lights. For now let’s consider life without traffic lights: European and Asian countries regularly use roundabouts, a traffic circle. At a road junction, vehicles yield and go into and around a central island. Studies in general prove roundabouts to reduce accidents. How is a roundabout relevant to selling? Just as you approach a prospect, Yield – ask questions to find out about the prospect. Slow down – take time to build rapport and focus on what the prospect wants and needs. Like a roundabout is one way, a salesperson’s one way will get results if the one way is with more attention on the prospect rather than on the sale. And that, the yielding, is something an introvert in sales may find energizing.
Follow your customer’s stop, caution and go commands, as you would follow a traffic light to avoid accidents or mishaps. When you do, you’ll be more comfortable, gain more confidence and sell more to more people more often.
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