The number one skill in business is selling. You do not have a job or income unless you or someone on your team makes a sale. Life does not move forward unless someone sells their ideas. The rest of people who play it safe choose to stay oblivious to this one truth. The reason they do is because it is hard. It takes guts and an immense amount of talent, thinking and commitment. Nothing happens unless a sale is made.
You are either filling orders or making things happen in business and life. To make things happen means you must understand selling. And the first rule of selling is this:
Don’t get caught selling.
That is correct. If you are caught selling, you lose. Why? None of us likes to be sold. Think about your emotional reaction to someone selling you. Your defenses go up. The script between you and the salesperson is the same as always. You are programmed to offer resistance proportional to their pressure and enthusiasm. The same goes for the person who you have to sell to. They feel the same things.
Selling is a losing proposition. The reason is because selling is about you, not your customer. It is what you want.
Your customer does want to buy. They want to buy things that bring value to their lives. They will pay for those things. The question is whether it is from you or someone else. They want things that do the following:
- Make them more money
- Make them feel more important
- Help them enjoy life
- Strengthen their relationships
- Help their kids
- Increase their health
- Get more efficient
- Have peace of mind
When you speak to these things, you are speaking the buyer’s language. When you are selling, you are just using sales speak. Do a quick exercise. Next time you catch yourself selling, take a moment to examine yourself. Don’t let the script proceed towards the inevitable – no sale. If you want to truly win the deal, help them buy. Here’s how:
- Perception: What you do to shape the customer’s perception dictates your starting point in the conversation. What they see, feel, hear about you shapes an impression which you are working against. Have you given yourself the opportunity to be perceived at the highest buying temperature? If you are not paying attention to this, it is why you are having to sell. There is a deficit in the initial perception about you. Write down ten adjectives of what you want your customer to think about you. Design every physical aspect of your presentation to communicate this. If you are having to use words to convince someone, you have ineffective presentation.
- Designed Experience: What you sell is likely a commodity. How you sell it, service it and do business with people that want to buy it is the true product. It is why they eventually choose to do business with you or your competitor. If it comes down to price, it is because your true product value was not noticed. Everyone who does not think, believes that their service is what makes them unique. Thus, by definition, they are not unique. They are just using platitudes. What is step one of your customer experience? Step three? Step 17? Who on your team does what and at what time? How well you design and execute your experience is the difference between future business and referrals or just doing a transaction.
- Leadership Questions: Effective selling requires you to lead. You are leading your customer to think about something different than they had previously. Thinking is hard. It requires someone who can ask great questions. Questions which are open-ended and help the customer come to new conclusions shape their buying. Ask “What if” questions. “What if you could have a system which made it easy to do business? What would it look like?” “What if you could be more efficient?” “What if you could get stronger and more fit?” Listen carefully. You will get clued in to what your customer cares about and why they want it. Speak to that.
Nothing will happen for you unless you or someone on your team sells. Sell to win by learning to help your customer buy through your leadership, intentionality and substantive value. At the end of the day, cute charisma and slick salesmanship will pale in results to the person who understands how to create a buying experience. Be that person by first thinking and then executing on the ideas here. Happy selling.