Last week Philip Schuman, of the Schuman Group, came onto our campus for a BYOBiz Selling Skills workshop. I was lucky to attend and I learned a lot about sales in general and some great ways to help sell myself as I move into the unknown abyss that is the job search market.
Some major points I learned about sales are:
- How to build rapport
- The distinction between features and benefits
- How to connect while pitching you or a product
Building rapport is one of the most important things you can do when you are in business. Connecting with others and establishing a good image for you in the eyes of others is key to success in any industry, but especially business. Some stats that Phil showed us revealed how important each aspect is to building rapport. These aspects included physiology, and your voice tonality and quality. 55% of building rapport was dependent on physiology, how you looked to the client, your reactions and your basic attitude towards them. Voice tonality had an influence of 38% and your overall voice quality was at 7%. This shows the important to connecting with someone is determinant on how you represent yourself to the other individual. It is important to find commonalities, to ask questions and most importantly listen. If you can show someone you are truly listening to what they’re saying, they will start to trust you and that is the key to doing business.
There are features and benefits to everything on this planet. The features are the distinct parts of the product or service, while the benefits are the values to the customer. Knowing when to bring up these is especially important when selling something because they will explain how the customer needs the product. One line that Phil used that I liked was “features tell, benefits sell”. So it’s apparent it might be in best judgment to initially bring up the features to explain the product or service and then bring up the benefits to finish the sale.
The last key point that I took away from Phil’s presentation was making the connection when in a pitch. It’s important to create a sense of connection with the other individual so they will remember you and think of you when your product or service is brought up. Doing so creates an image of your product or service along the path of their decision process. If you can initially stage yourself positively in the process than build off that, then you’ll be a likely candidate when it comes to decision-making time. Some ways to make this connection are some thing I mentioned earlier like listening but with the intent to understand not reply. Making eye-contact and emulating the same style of conversation as the other are important practices to follow as well so this connection can be positive and trusting.
Overall I learned a lot from this presentation. I thank Phil for coming to our campus and sharing these practices he’s developed throughout his career. These types of workshops are just a small reason attending Champlain College’s Stiller School of Business is an excellent way to increase your marketability as a professional.