Thank you for joining me in this ponder and I hope it sparks something in you to create calm, inspiration or just amusement.
This week I am talking about the art of achieving sales without being a hustler, by purely being interested in the person you are seeking to help and by being deeply interested in other people.
I am very aware that few people have been trained in sales, and many have never been a ‘sales person’, yet, we all have to inspire, to gain trust, to promote what we believe in and to earn a living. So many business owners I talk to, especially micro or solopreneurs, have no reason in the past to be the salesperson in a company, and yet, they now find they need to close sales. Selling as a concept too many feel is ‘dirty’, they are so desiring of the opportunity to help, but they feel wrong trying to sell. Dirty is a word I use wisely, but I have heard it so many times when I confront this barrier. I respect salespeople massively, in fact, I should, as I built my career in sales from 19 as a ‘telesales person’ through to running a team of 80 salespeople as a Director by the age of 25, I also know that we are all sales people, we just don’t know it.
Last week I did a talk in Lisbon called ‘The Human Touch in a Digital World – mastering emotional selling’, it was to the Sales Teams within a large, global, e-learning platform company. I shared the story of my fear as I accidentally entered the sales world. Despite being sent away to learn how to sell, my fear grew daily, I was terrified every time I had to make a call and attempt to sell. It all changed one day when I went ‘off script’ and purely empathised with a potential buyer at the end of the phone as he was unwell with a nasty cough, I apologised for troubling him, suggested he went home and wished him well.
At lunchtime that day I bought him some cough sweets and popped them in a jiffy bag with a note saying that I hoped he felt better. There was no agenda or thought of a sale behind this action, it was just ‘a human touch’.
Four days later, he called, and placed a large order with me. I discovered that we had lost his account in the past, and that this order was the largest order we had received in our department for 3 months. No script, just humanity.
I stayed in a sales career and loved it, I loved becoming a leader, and I applied the same heart to my role in leadership. My desire from a young age was purely to be of service.
Sales is not hard, it is not dirty, it is purely showing you care, that you are interested in someone for who they are, and it is about taking time to deeply understand them and in doing so gaining their trust.
So next time you have the opportunity to win a customer, or next time you make a call to a prospect, remember Seth Godin’s words “turn strangers into friends, and friends into customers“. Let them make the decision to buy from you because they sense that you genuinely care about their need. Selling is about the art of questions and the art of listening, and it’s also about loving the process of getting to know strangers and seeing where that can lead to. At a guess, I would imagine the best sales people are coaches, their natural ability to ask open questions will be their winning formula.
In a digital world, we all need a human touch, a friend, a voice, someone that takes time to know us. Social Media has stunted this beautiful act of humanity, placing technology between our hearts. It’s time we all reclaimed the emotion within the sales process. While social media is critical for branding and awareness, nothing replaces your heart and your real drive to make a difference.
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