“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”
– Walt Disney, American entrepreneur, animator, writer, voice actor and film producer
A lot of us cringe a bit when we think of sales. No one wants to be the hard-driving, overbearing, used-car-salesman type.
But the image we have of the overbearing salesperson is really an image of sales done poorly. When sales is done right, you don’t notice it at all. And what most people miss is that it takes hard work to make sales look easy.
People involved in day-to-day operations or engineering typically look down on salespeople. It’s easy to see why: Salespeople are sitting on the phone all day, going out to fancy lunches with prospects, and then leaving promptly after work to go for drinks. All this while the rest of the team is slaving over a computer at their desk. Salespeople have it easy! Right?
Not quite. In this piece we’re going to discuss how sales might be the most important part of your business, but if you feel like you’re being a pushy “salesman”, you’re probably doing it wrong. Building relationships with prospects takes time, and the only way to do it is through repeated, positive interaction.
So all those lunches and drinks? Hard work. Phone calls all day? More hard work.
So is “selling” really a dirty word? Only if you do it wrong.
The way to think about sales that will skyrocket your business
Sales is all around us. We’re constantly being sold to. And most of the time, it doesn’t feel like sales at all.
Think about it: If you’re scrolling Facebook or Instagram (Instagram especially) how many of the posts in your feed are from influencers, or even just normal people, sharing about a product they love? How many times have you caught yourself thinking “Oh, I want that”?
You’ve just been sold to. And no, it wasn’t a result of a run-in with a pushy salesman. It was subtle, driven by your own innate interests. That is the secret to all good sales.
In order to sell in an effective way, you don’t have to “convince” or coerce someone into buying your thing. You don’t need to be so charismatic that you somehow get them to do something they would have never otherwise done. All you need to do is be there to help when the desire for your solution arises. Can you help that desire to arise in the first place? Maybe, if you pique their interest first. Mostly, all you can do is to create awareness, put yourself and your product in the best light, emphasize benefits (and risks of not using your product) and be genuinely helpful. But the most important thing is to just be human. Don’t worry about all the used-car-salesman mumbo-jumbo.
You don’t have to talk loud to be good at sales. In fact, many of the best salespeople are fairly quiet. How can that be? Because of one counterintuitive fact: Sales is about listening more than it is about talking. It’s about listening: Listening to the prospect’s words when they talk about their problem; listening to what they say when they approach the issue that your solution might solve. Once you listen, it’s a lot easier to frame your solution in a way that meets them where they are. That is the true secret to doing sales right: listen!
Sales is only a dirty word when you don’t listen, and when you’re trying to coerce rather than help. It isn’t when you do listen, when you drive for a win-win situation that helps everyone, and when you play the part of the authentically human person. Now, is that so hard?
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