Unless you come from a sales background, “selling” is probably something you’ve never needed to do before, but have to do now in order to sustain and grow your business. And – as many of the business managers and owners who attend my business-growth workshops tell me – trying to sell can be disappointing, disheartening and downright hard work!
In which case, I tell them, STOP SELLING!
Stop viewing every encounter with someone you want to be a customer like you’re a salesperson… which you’re not trained to be… and view the encounter instead like you’re a customer… which you know a lot about.
If you look at the encounter through the customer’s eyes, if you could read the customer’s mind, you would recognise that there are 5 fundamental and irrevocable truths about sales transactions – truths that are blindingly obvious, and yet may change your approach to “selling” forever.
- When you’ve decided you want something, you want it
Whether it’s a new car or a new computer, there comes a point when you recognise you need a new ‘un. Or another one. You’ll reach that decision over time and having given it a fair amount of thought… and then you decide you need it or want it and you’re gonna have it. You don’t need anyone to “sell” it to you. If it’s true of you, it’s true of the people you’d like to become customers. The reverse is equally true…
- When you’ve decided you don’t want something, you won’t have it
You either want/need something or you don’t. When the idea first pops into your head that you could do with a new car, computer, whatever, the most difficult person to persuade is YOU. If you talk yourself out of buying, it’s doubtful there’s a salesperson on the planet who can convince you otherwise. If the people you’d like to become customers think like you do (and they do!) then all the so-called “selling techniques” in the world are useless, futile and a waste of time. Because people can’t be sold something they’ve decided they don’t want.
- When you want something, you know what you want
By the time you’ve argued yourself into buying the car, computer or whatever, you’ll have a pretty good idea what make/model you want and how much it costs. You don’t need a salesperson to try and sell it to you, you just want them to help you confirm your decision by providing you with some more information. At which point, you’ll be ready to buy. Or not, depending on what the salesperson tells you.
- When you know what you want, you can afford it
If somebody visits your premises, phones you up, picks up a brochure etc… if they’re talking to you… they have already decided they want to buy the goods/service that you offer. Though not necessarily from you. They are already “sold”. They “sold” to themselves before ever encountering a salesperson. What’ll make them decide to purchase from you rather than a competitor is if they feel you have engaged with them in a personal, interested, committed, connected way.
- When you can afford it, you’ll buy it
And if you can’t afford it, you won’t. No amount of “overcoming objections” or “conquering buyer resistance” or restating the features and benefits or haggling over price – or other arcane “sales techniques” – can make someone afford and buy something they can’t afford.
Salespeople frequently lose sight of these basic truths of buyer behaviour – they seem to forget that they themselves are customers – and only focus on making the sale. Which is why business owners and managers who have no background or training in “selling” often make the best salespeople.
Another great post. Thanks for sharing.
Excellent post and ideas! Thanks!
Great article and so true, thanks for sharing.
Bruce Swartz, Executive Vice President at MED3000
Dignity Health, California State University, Northridge, Greater Los Angeles Area
Agreed it is all about customer experience
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