“Dare to be ….A Salesman!”
So what is it about the concept of “selling” that so many people feel so uncomfortable with?
When we work with people involved in sales we often ask “when you were growing up how many of your mothers had a vision of you being a salesman?” and “what adjectives would your mother use to describe a salesman?” Usually the response to the first question is: “none” and to the second words such as: “pushy, manipulative, dishonourable, fast talking, sly, underhand, shady” are common.
No wonder that so many people I work with are hesitant to sell themselves, to sell their products or services. And yet without “selling” there will be no business, limited advancement, limited innovation and many more dissatisfied people/businesses.
For those uncomfortable with the concept of “selling” we have to help change this negative view into something positive, maybe even beautiful and empowering. Selling can be seen as a process that connects us to people and empowers us to help them because whilst people hate to be sold to – they do LOVE TO BUY!!
Selling doesn’t have to be seen as negative. How we decide to deliver the selling/buying experience to “customers” is completely within our control. It is a conscious choice each of us can make.
How you define the process of “sales” in your own mind will be powerful in influencing how you deliver the buying experience. If you start with a negative view you will unconsciously project or mirror your beliefs in silent, powerful, and unseen ways through your choice of words, body language, and through your overall approach to the entire process.
Your underlying motives and beliefs have everything to do with how you present yourself and your ideas to people.
That’s why we must redefine the term “selling” and give it a more positive and purposeful meaning that can guide us towards delivering a more positive buying experience to our customers.
The great philosopher Plato said “the beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms.” Our new improved meaning for selling should be based on the process of what we are really trying to achieve when we sell to customers. It could be a very technical definition such as: “an engagement system required to effectively develop, manage, enable, and execute a mutually beneficial, interpersonal exchange of goods and/or services for equitable value.” or more one that is more simply put: “selling helps people make decisions that will add to their quality of life.”
The all too common one-sided regurgitation of product features and benefits must be altered to become a more interactive process that gets customers involved and guides them towards discovering for themselves that which is in their best interest.
When you sell with ethics and integrity you don’t approach people with the intent of selling them something. Rather, your goal will be to gain rapport and understand their problems, their business, their concerns so you can help them advance, improve and get what they desire.
Human beings are emotional creatures who process decisions they make with their emotions and feelings. To “sell” well we must start with basic communication skills – asking questions, listening, understanding, and having empathy and rapport.
Selling is a process of guiding people towards self discovery. It’s a process of engaging a person’s heart and imagination towards something that does not yet exist in their lives.
The two greatest skills as a salesman are questioning and listening to the answers! People really don’t care how much you know or what you can do until you have first understood their needs, their “pain” and clearly identified what it is they are seeking to improve (clients really do not like “product dump” speeches).
If you need to sell but want to do it with integrity and achieve success then I suggest the following 10 tips:
1. Adopt a healthy view of selling – helping your customer solve business problems and aligning our approach to the way they buy, is key.
2. View prospects as someone you want to help not a “target”
3. Take the time to connect on a personal level
4. Begin by asking open-ended questions
5. Listen twice as much as you speak
6. Identify needs/pain
7. Ideally get your prospect to verbalise their “ideal solution”
8. Fit the solution to their “specific and stated” needs
9. If you don’t have a solution to their need be honest, walk away until another time.
10. Your values and attitudes are projected – be open and honest and people will trust you.
You don’t have to be obnoxious to sell. The best salesmen sell by engaging with their customers. They understand their problems and help them resolve them.
Selling isn’t a dirty thing – we’re selling all the time – our thoughts, our ideas and our beliefs.
There’s nothing wrong with selling when you have to someone who needs your products/services and you make money, even a lot of money, from it. It’s just an honourable, mutually beneficial exchange!
Be proud that you’re a salesman!
Be proud that you have made someone’s life or job easier as a result of your products and services.