I started my career in sales. It’s a bit like a baby learning to run before they can walk. I didn’t really understand business. Let me take that back I didn’t understand ANYTHING about business. I knew that people owned businesses and that they seemed to make money and when they had enough money they hired employees, which is what I guessed I’d be for the rest of my life, an employee. Diving into sales head first was a great experience. The first year of my sales career provided more valuable training than any other business experience I could have had. Once I was familiar with sales and marketing it became very obvious to me that not many people liked the profession of sales. Sales seems to be the greatest hated and feared of jobs in the free economy. For many reasons too lengthy to list, people hate sales and often hate salespeople.
So why is sales so important?
Sales is the engine that moves a company. If you don’t have sales you don’t have a business, you may have a nonprofit, but you don’t have a business. I talk to a lot of people who would like to start a business but are worried about how to execute the sales and marketing portions of their company. This one little activity holds them back from accomplishing their dreams. If you feel like the fear of selling is holding you back from taking the plunge I’d like you to consider the following.
Do you hate salespeople?
If you tell yourself that you hate salespeople and you’d never want to be like a salesperson then you’ll never want to do any selling. Why would you? You’ve decided that salespeople are despicable and that certainly isn’t something that you’d want to become. Change your thinking when it comes to salespeople. Next time someone tries to sell you something listen closely. Watch what they are doing and how they’re doing it. Is it something that you could repeat? Do you like what they are doing or how what they say makes you feel? If you dislike it, think about why you dislike it. What about the way they are talking too you makes you feel uncomfortable or put off? If you ever have the opportunity to be sold by a really good salesperson take note! Why do you like their methods? What about their approach do you like? Try your best to banish the thought “I hate salespeople.” Instead say, “I wish they’d take a different approach. Or this salesperson must really need to make a sale today. Perhaps they have unpaid bills or they are going to get fired if they don’t make this sale.” By repositioning your thought process not only will it give you empathy for a fellow professional, it will allow you to respect the role of sales. When you respect the role of sales you’ll be more likely to embrace the idea of you personally being a “salesperson.”
Sales is all about people
If you like people than you’ll like sales. As a “salesperson” you are facilitating the buying process. Your prospect wants something that you have and you need to help them buy it. Approach the sales process as a problem that needs to be fixed. Once you are able to help your prospects satisfy their needs you will have done a great service. In the process of this service being offered you have the opportunity to build deep rapport with that person. You have the ability to build a great relationship. The best clients you’ll ever have are also great friends because through the buying process you get to know people. What they like, what drives them and how you can help them.
People hate to be sold, but they love to buy
This motto created by author and sales trainer Jeffery Gitomer revolutionized the way I viewed sales. Why do you think we use the term “retail therapy?” It’s because people LOVE to buy. Do you remember the last time you found something that you really wanted in a store, perhaps it was a pair of shoes that fit just right, or a shirt you just had to have. It could be any number of things, but I’m sure you can think back to the last time you bought something you wanted and how good it made you feel. When we get something that we really want we feel good about it, no matter how much we pay for it. Prior to making a purchase people try to reason through the expense. Is it something they need? Could they get it somewhere else cheaper? Do they really want it? And the list goes on. After people make a buying decision they rationalize their purchase. They think about what a great deal they got, what value the product or service provides, how its going to positively impact their lives and so on. People love to buy! When you are going through the buying process remember that your prospect will be happy when they purchase from you and not only because they want to buy something, but because they are getting a great product or service.
Be confident in yourself and the what you’re selling
Don’t question the price, the value, the service or the product in front of a client. If you aren’t totally sold out on your product/service and its value and price then don’t sell it! Having confidence in yourself and what you’re selling will speak louder than anything you say. Your client wants to be confident that they are making a good buying decision. If you aren’t confident then why should they be and why would they buy from you? Do whatever you need to do to gain confidence in yourself and your product before you hit the streets to try and sell your product.
Don’t misguide yourself into thinking that if you sell an online product you won’t have to sell. If you are in business you are in the business of sales. Also, don’t believe that you can just hire an experienced sales rep to sell your product and it will all be taken care of. As the owner of a company you need to know your product and have the ability to sell your product. You have to perfect the process internally prior to hiring someone else to take the lead.
The number one reason people buy is because of you! People buy from people they like and trust. If you can establish yourself as someone your prospects like and trust they will buy from you. The big misconception is that people buy because of price. I always think of mattresses when I think of the price game. If you needed a new mattress would you buy one for $199? I wouldn’t! Who knows what you’d be getting. I’d guess you’d be getting something you’d need to haul to the dump in just a few months. People don’t buy based on price, they buy based on value. If the product you are selling delivers enough value then the purchase will be made.
You have to ask for the sell. I’ve had so many employees over the years who use the sales pitch: you don’t want to buy this do you? Guess what, that doesn’t work! You have to be in control of the sales process and you have to assume the sale. It gets back to confidence. The words you use and the tone you set will change the way people interact with you in your sales process. Make it easy for them to buy and get what they want. When the time comes ask how they would like to pay for their purchase, with cash, check or credit card. It’s the best closing technique I’ve ever used. More often than not people will give you the money, but you do have to ask!
If you’ve never sold and you’re worried that you might not be able to, take a class, read a book or hire a coach to help train you! You can sell, it just takes practice and unless you want a non-profit organization, you’d better learn to sell!
Tips to Embrace Sales:
- Don’t hate salespeople: you’ll never want to become something you hate.
- People hate to be sold, but they love to buy help your prospects and in the process build strong relationships.
- Be confident in yourself and the product or service you’re selling. If you aren’t confident your prospect should buy they won’t be either.
- Don’t misguide yourself into thinking you can get out of selling. If you own a business you need to be able to sell your product.
- People buy because of you. You are your best unique selling proposition.
- Ask for the sale. If you don’t ask people won’t buy.
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