“Sales is nothing more than a transference of feeling. If you can make the customer feel the way you do about your product, then your customer will buy your product.”
Most people dread sales. Let me rephrase: I dread sales! But I’m learning to be comfortable with it since it’s not really an option: everyone’s in sales. We are always selling something. We just need to learn to do it right. I’ve been reading Dave Ramsey’s excellent book EntreLeadership*, and it has taught me a few vital truths on selling. Here are a few:
- Everyone is in sales. A wife sells an idea for home redecoration to her husband, an executive sells a product idea to management, a musician sells his latest song to his fans. Whatever your role in life, you are in sales.
- Don’t teach your team techniques to pressure people. Teach your team to serve. A major reason why I dread sales is because I see it as getting someone to buy a product at all cost. It is skillfully applying pressure on someone until he signs the cheques or hands over the cash. But now I see otherwise. To sell well, you need to honestly connect your product to the person’s need or want. You need to truly care about his desire. You need to serve him.
- Every sale is a progression through 4 stages: Qualification – Rapport – Education/Information – Close. If I ignore any of these steps, I will appear (and will actually be) pushy.
- Qualifying buyers is the most overlooked and ignored step in the buying process. I need to be certain that my prospect is someone who really needs my product, and who has the time to use it, money to acquire it, and power to decide on buying it. If I fail in this, I would have wasted time, energy and even money.
- Never sell something to someone that you don’t believe they should buy. This is integrity, pure and simple. Selling is not manipulation; it is service. You don’t want to just make a sale and lose a relationship. No. A good relationship built on trust will generate a whole lot of sales in the future.
- Sell and serve by describing the benefits, not the product. To put it plainly, people don’t buy a TV, they buy entertainment. You don’t buy a house, you buy the shelter, comfort, security and everything else which that house provides. Even when people purchase a luxury good or a luxury brand of a commonplace item (say, a Rolex wristwatch), they are buying the purpose of the item and the status which owning that item confers on them. So don’t sell the features of your item, sell the benefits.
- Business is more relational than transactional. You are not out to just make a sale; you are to build relationships. My favourite Biblical passage on service captures this well:
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace (1 Pet. 4:10).
This applies to Selling as well.
*Dave Ramsey, EntreLeadership. Howard Books, 2011. 306 pp.