Much has been said about the various skills and personality traits that a sales person needs to have – he needs to have excellent communication skills, should be persuasive, should have the ability to negotiate a deal…. The list is endless! Yet, a salesman (or woman) may have all these qualities, yet fail to make a mark with his potential customers if he doesn’t have that one vital quality – Presence of Mind!
To better understand the importance of having Presence of Mind, let us look at an example. You make a very convincing pitch to your customer, and have all but closed the deal. Suddenly, the customer asks you about the truth of a recent news that has been circulating about your organisation which isn’t very positive. The customer is waiting for your response. What do you do? Evade the question? Lie through your teeth? Stumble on your response? In such a scenario, it is your Presence of Mind that is going to come to your rescue!
So what is this elusive quality all about? Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Common sense tells us that Presence of Mind simply means you have to be able to think on your feet, that you have to be able to come up with a relevant response when your customer throws you a googly. It is having enough mental agility to change course mid-journey, to address the unexpected when it comes up and do course correction without batting an eyelid. Indeed, for some of us who naturally possess this quality, this is simple enough. It is these people who can quip that when Life gives you lemons, make Lemonade! But for many of us, who tend to work within a given structure, the moment something out of the box is thrown to us, we tend to get flustered. So how do we learn to deal with such situations?
In order to become more adept at dealing with unexpected situations when making a sales call, it might be worthwhile to explore what this truly means. Presence of Mind, at its very basic level, essentially means being fully present to the moment. It means being completely tuned into your customer’s thought process, so that you anticipate the unexpected before it is uttered, or you are quickly able to relate to it from the customer’s point of view. If your Mind is fully Present in the situation, it will be easy for you to effortlessly go with the flow, address the unexpected that the situation throws up in an unfazed manner, and move on to successfully close the deal. You would have addressed your customer’s query without damaging your sales prospect and maintaining your integrity. This is what Presence of Mind is all about! It is not about lying to the customer, making excuses to wheedle out of the awkward situation or question, or ignoring it. It is about remaining in your integrity, addressing the issue tactfully and honestly and still being able to carry on with your deal.
To know more about where you stand on Presence of Mind and other Sales Skills, take our Sales Skills and Personality Profiler (SSaPP)!