Selling without permission is coercion.
You can’t morally or ethically have a sales conversation with someone who hasn’t given you permission for that type of conversation.
Besides: selling without permission is ridiculously ineffective.
You’ll have heard people talking about ‘handling objections’ – but, isn’t it better to not have any buyer objections at all?
Then seek to gain permission first, before ever talking about your offer or your solution.
When you do, you’ll get people saying “Tell me more”, instead of “Yes, but…”
That’s why you want to constantly, ongoingly, obtain deeper levels of permission.
Level 1: Permission to ask questions
You get that level when someone agrees to meet with you. Not that difficult.
Level 2: Permission to ask deeper questions
This enables you to find the problems behind the problems, and the causes behind the causes (Google ‘the 5 whys’ for more on that kind of inquiry – it’s damn useful).
Level 3: Permission to discuss how you might be able to help
This isn’t where you’re selling: it’s where the two of you are exploring if you’re a good fit, mutually.
Level 4: Permission to ask for the sale
Asking for the sale is often the most daunting part of the entire sales process, but it won’t be if you first took care of gaining the first 3 levels of permission.
When you do, asking for a sale will be as easy and natural as saying to a friend ‘So shall we catch that movie tonight?’.
It’s not for nothing that Seth Godin coined the term ‘permission marketing’.
Well, there’s permission selling, as well.
So how do you gain permission from your buyer?
Normally, we say too much, recommend too much. Expound and reason and explain and persuade and… well, we waffle a lot, don’t we?
Especially when we’re uncomfortable with the sales process, which is largely due to not having paid enough attention to what level of permission we have from a buyer at any given time.
Instead of talking, listen more.
Questions are the currency that buys you permission, including permission to ask for the sale.
On another note:
I’m building an app that coaches you on working your pipeline, moving your deals forward – and closing them faster and at better rates.
It’s called SalesFlow Coach, and we’re scheduled for beta-release in June 2022.
Register here to be notified when it goes live.