Assertiveness is one of the most important properties of a sales person, but it is often confused with aggression. Aggression is about invading your prospect’s personal boundaries, and forcing your will on them. Assertiveness is about respecting their boundaries yet convincing them that the course of action you recommend is the best option for them. So how does one develop assertiveness without coming on too strong? We recommend the following simple steps.
1. Practice Before You Pitch
Before you go out in the field and start with your sales pitch, do a little homework. If you are reading this article, it means that you are interested in developing assertiveness as a salesperson. It also means that you have recognized a few occasions in the past, where your lack of assertiveness cost you the sale. Now picture those events, or similar events, in your mind and imagine what you could have done and how you could have been more assertive.
Practice assertive techniques of conversation in front of a mirror or with a friend. Learning where to use “you” and where to use “I” in the sales pitch is an important step.
2. Improve Your Body Language
Assertive people have a friendly smile, a firm handshake, and maintain eye contact with their prospects. They dress to impress and have a positive, open stance while standing or sitting. Their voice is confident, yet their approach is friendly and warm towards the prospects. Your second step should be to improve your body language in order to give off that assertive vibe.
3. Give and Demand Respect
As a sales person, you have to give respect to your prospects. However, in some cases when the prospects do not give back the same respect they receive, the situation goes awry.
When aggressive salespeople find themselves in a tough spot, they go on the offensive. Passive salespeople usually go on the defensive in similar situations. In both cases, the prospect is lost. The key is to be assertive.
The sales person has to control the conversation without coming off as too strong. If at any point during the conversation the prospect becomes rash, you have to politely explain to them that you deserve to be treated with respect. Make sure that you are respectful towards the prospect throughout your conversation, which is the only way you can demand their respect in return. You will find that being respectful and being respected has improved your assertiveness a great deal.
Try these three steps and let us know how they worked. Leave your opinions/experiences in the comments section below.