Being in sales is a tough business. In the past there was a certain allure to the idea of travelling from town to town, selling your wares in the homes of willing consumers. Nowadays, the consumer is inundated with adverts and people trying to peddle their products – with the rise of social media and DIY website builders, starting a business without a sales team is easy. Add to that the fact that there is legislation limiting the window during which sales staff can contact people and it’s clear that it’s not as glamorous as it used to be.

When you consider that 12.3% of all American jobs are full-time sales positions, it becomes obvious that the determined men and women in the world of sales need as much innovative help and tools as they can possibly get.

One such tool is Influence, a book designed to explore the psychology of sales and ways in which you can use tried and tested techniques to manage the sales encounter and guide the consumer to a purchase decision.

Feel like this is a sales pitch? Keep reading to gain some valuable insights into what it takes to become a successful salesman.

Reconsider your rhetoric

The idea of constructing a sound argument to convince someone else of your point is not a new idea, and it forms the heart of the modern sales transaction. While you can undoubtedly learn a lot by studying the Stoic philosophers and the original rhetoricians like Plato and Aristotle, chances are you need to update their thinking to suit your needs. Influence outlines six key principles that will help you reformat your rhetorical approach to become more comfortable convincing your potential consumers.

By breaking the art of persuasion into reciprocation, consistency, social proof, liking, authority, and scarcity, you arm yourself with the sales equipment you need to turn a discussion into a decision.

Practice your psychology

If making sales was as easy as highlighting product benefits in a matter-of-fact way, then it would be the easiest job in the world – provided of course that whatever it is you’re selling is worth buying. But the customer is not that easy to impress and there is a definite need to understand them on a deeper psychological level. Learning how to read, interpret, and interact with your consumer in a way that resonates with them is key to sales success – and it is a skill that can be taught.

Self-confidence breeds success

Consumers can pick up on whether or not you really, truly believe in what you’re saying. Self-confidence is key to sales success, because it allows you to deliver a more natural, compelling pitch. But Influence takes things a step further by empowering readers to discover their inner self-confidence. Becoming more self-assured will benefit you not only in the professional arena, but also as an individual – now that sounds great, doesn’t it?

Find your formula

There is no set routine, script, or process that you can follow to secure a sale every time you pick up the phone, contact a lead, or approach someone in your store. Each situation is different and that’s what makes it such an electrifying industry. Having said that, there are steps you can take to assess any interaction and use gentle persuasion to try and generate a positive outcome – remember, you need to use this new-found power within ethical guidelines, and try and use your sales superpowers at the office only.

Find the mixture of approaches that works best for you, customize them and try to remember that great sales are flexibility.

Respect your customer

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of making a sale, especially when you hit a streak. Once you realize that you have the skills to try and persuade whoever you are interacting with, Influence will soon teach you that you can find a new level of interaction that’s not a façade but rather a relationship built on mutual respect and honesty. Sales is a trade that’s built on your ability to deal with people and to move into the space between sales showmanship and real influence based on something more.

Closing the deal

The sales interaction has been made increasingly difficult as technology grows to empower consumers to shop online, review products, and avoid direct human interaction at will. As a sales person you don’t need a script, formula, or even a talent for the sales dance – you need to know how to exert influence at the crucial moment, and that’s exactly what you’ll be armed with when you have Influence guiding you to sales success.