This is the first post in the FIRE-PROOF selling series contest, in which we’re giving away almost $13,000 in prizes. This post kicks off the contest by setting the record straight on what sales is really about. (Hint: it’s not about convincing people to buy your stuff!)
The word conjures images of sleazy used car salesmen, infomercial hosts spouting clichés about getting an extra one for free if you order in the next seven minutes, and people going door to door trying to sell you vacuum cleaners.
Not an appealing picture, is it? No wonder people cringe!
Yet selling is critical to every business, including yours – if you don’t sell, then you don’t make any money.
Here’s the good news – you can sell… and be better at it than the used car salesman or infomercial guy… all without feeling like you need to shower when you’re done.
It all comes down to one secret about selling. Ready?
The secret is that what most people think of when they think of “sales” is just plain wrong!
Sales is not about convincing people to buy your stuff. It isn’t about self-promotion, begging, or strong-arming.
So what is it?
Sales is simply an earnest exploration of fit.
That means you and your potential customer are working together to examine how well your product or service fits the wants and needs of the potential customer.
Instead of trying to project false confidence and remember body language tricks that are supposed to magically persuade your customers to buy, but never work, here’s what you should tell yourself before walking into your next client meeting:
“I am going into this sales relationship with the intention to serve my prospect well. I want to identify the best solution for my prospect and I will ask the questions that will get me the answers I need in order to find out what that is. My only goal is to explore whether there is a fit. If there is then we can proceed, and if not, then I will tell them where they can go for help.”
Now that’s not so scary, is it?
Of course not – and even better, it guarantees that you will get better and more profitable customers, who respect you, and are happy to pay more because you’re delivering to them exactly what they need. This process is actually easier, because once your prospects realize that you’re just trying to help them, they do a lot of the selling work for you!
So if this is so great, why don’t more people do it?
There are a bunch of reasons, but none of them are good enough to risk the damage and lost sales that a pushy, sleazy sales approach will cause your business. Most of the reasons fall under one big umbrella, and that is that people are too hungry.
No, we don’t mean hungry for a cheeseburger – we mean hungry for business.
This is by far the most common reason why people try to adopt the tactics of a used car salesman. They feel desperate for a sale, and want to close any deal they can. Instead of looking for the right deal, they want the “right now” deal.
This is understandable, but it doesn’t achieve the real objective, which is to get more customers and make more money. It’s not just that the tactics aren’t “cool” – people actually see through them, and they just don’t work the way they used to.
Trust the product, and reap the benefits…
You need to be totally comfortable with your product and its benefits to the customer. This will make you comfortable addressing any questions or concerns that your customers might have (which are a good thing – you’ll learn why later in this series!). Moreover, you need to be confident and calm when talking about your product or service to prospects. If they sense that you’re not sure about what you’re saying, they will be much less likely to explore the possibility of fit with you.
There are huge benefits to looking at sales in this way, and at the top of the list is that your earnest exploration of fit will come across to your clients as sincere and helpful. Suddenly you’re not a salesman trying to make a buck – you’re a professional looking to establish a good working relationship, and they will treat you as such.
This credibility will be incredibly valuable throughout your relationship with this client. If you put their interests on par with yours, they will be thrilled to recommend you to friends and colleagues, give you referrals, and become repeat customers.
You will benefit from this outlook even more than your customers will. You will be able to rationally and objectively determine if you’re a good fit for the customer, and they will be able to do the same. You will save time, money and the thousands of headaches that come with trying to serve the wrong customers.
Don’t forget the contest… you could win over $10,000!
Don’t forget that the FIRE-PROOF Selling Series is part of a contest, with some amazing prizes that we’re giving away on January 31st. If you want a chance to win, you need to:
- Sign up for our free 7-Day “Business Fireproofing” Video Course.
- Subscribe to receive blog updates by email.
- Comment on each post in this series, answering the comment question at the end of the post.
- Share each post in the series with your friends by email, Twitter, Facebook… whatever works best for you. Just mention in your comment how you shared it.
You can also read the more detailed instructions, but that’s the gist of it right there. Okay, time for your comment question:
Comment Question: What really makes you respect a salesperson?
Danny Iny (@DannyIny), a.k.a. the “Freddy Krueger of Blogging”, teaches marketing that works at Firepole Marketing. Together with Guy Kawasaki, Brian Clark and Mitch Joel, he wrote the book on building engaged audiences from scratch (available on Amazon, or as a free download).