Prior to the meeting, ask the organizer how you can best contribute and what ideas you might be able to support with your knowledge.
Within the first two to five minutes of the meeting, challenge yourself to say something complimentary about the agenda: “Thank you for remembering that we need to talk about membership at this meeting.”
Within the first 30 minutes, vocalize your support of an idea. “I can see how that policy change would be helpful…”
At the end of the meeting, summarize what was agreed upon and the next steps (do this every hour in a longer meeting).
After the meeting, go back to the meeting organizer and ask how you can support the decisions that were made.
A year ago, I needed to replace the walkway leading to my office. I called three landscapers to estimate the project. The first landscaper was affable enough, took some measurements, and left.
The second assessed the area and then turned to me and said, “What mood are you trying to create?” I had no idea, so he offered to drive me around to look at “mood.” He had me show him what I liked. When we returned, he looked at the surroundings and he explained how the atmosphere created by the path would influence how people felt when they walked into the office.
As we talked more, I was excited by the possibilities, but nervous about the potential cost, which must have shown in my face. “Don’t worry,” he said. “We’ll start with the walkway, and then you can do the rest of the plan in stages, if that’s what you choose. I want to give you a whole plan, so that it will all work together.”
When the third landscaper pulled out his measuring tape, I had already been won over by the second landscaper’s approach. He had created a compelling vision for the walkway and allayed my money fears.
He got my business because, unlike the other two landscapers, he was more than just an order taker.
In training programs, sometimes participants say, “Oh, I don’t need sales skills. It’s not part of my job.” Regardless of your work, it pays to be persuasive, and it’s important to have a little sales mojo.
All of us need to be able to influence, which is essentially what “sales” is. When we work with our members, patients, clients, employees, and customers, getting to know them as individuals is key. What are their goals? Concerns? Wishes?
It’s only when we know people as individuals that we can truly influence and persuade. And persuasion is something we all need to do, even if you think you’re not in sales.
You may be a doctor encouraging your patient to quit smoking, an HR manager asking an employee to fill out a timesheet – or a landscaper building a walkway.
Whatever your role, sales skills will make you more successful.
- they are asking questions such as, “Can you tell me more? Can you be more specific?”
- they thank you for sharing your insights
- they appear relatively calm
- they are attentive and listening
- they start giving excuses
- they aren’t making eye contact
- they appear agitated
- they are red in the face
- they tell you why they did what they did