Next week in Baltimore I’ll present a “How to Sell” class to a group of professionals. Not sales professionals, in fact, these professionals may very well have a certain disdain at even the thought of selling.
As I prepared for the presentation I knew instinctively that a traditional sales training session was out of the question. No sales process or technique would be of interest or value to this group. While “selling” is important to their profession it is not something they are comfortable with and not something they do on a daily basis.
That got me to thinking about the essence of selling and what it really takes to sell effectively. The answer that popped into my head was trust and relationships.
People buy from people they like and trust. People don’t buy from companies or machines. Yes, we sometimes buy stuff online and through vending machines but usually even then someone, a person, has previously convinced us that it would be a good purchase.
The presentation morphed into a “Building Trusting Relationships” session and it quickly occurred to me that this isn’t just a great topic for non-traditional salespeople, it’s a valuable topic for all sales professionals.
Salespeople, at least less successful salespeople, tend to focus all their energies on “telling” their prospect about the product. They spend far too little time on building the type of relationship that will help the prospect trust them as a person and as a result the prospect remains suspect about most everything the salesperson says.
The most successful salespeople don’t focus on themselves or their product, they focus on their customer and their customer’s wants and needs. They start that process by learning about their customer’s goals and objectives and it is from those conversations that a real relationship blooms.
The most successful salespeople treat people with courtesy, politeness, and kindness. They listen to what others have to say before expressing their own thoughts. Successful salespeople do not insult, disparage or knock another person’s ideas. Even if that other person is a competitive salesperson. Especially if that other person is a competitive salesperson!
The most successful salespeople have long ago thrown out the Golden Rule and replaced it with the Platinum Rule: Treat others as they wish to be treated.
The most successful salespeople don’t play the blame game. They accept responsibility for their actions and they honor their commitments. They share credit for their success knowing full well that no salesperson can succeed long-term without a lot of support from others in their organization.
The most successful salespeople avoid wasting time and are consistent planners. They are genuinely interested in other people and believe they can learn from anyone. They smile often and always, always, always maintain control of their attitude. Simply put, they are the type of person we all enjoy being around.
Now, for those of you who have never sold a thing or are in a position that requires a non-traditional sales approach, just remove the word “sales” from every sentence above. What you’ll discover is that the way to sell more of anything is to be a successful person.
Once you have developed the skill of building trusting relationships, sincere relationships, well then you can sell most anything to most anyone.
You see, great salespeople are also great people.
11 thoughts on “How to Sell More of Anything”
Should be an interesting talk in Baltimore. One of my best experiences was when my daughter was 12 (now 30) and the whole take your daughter to work craze started. She looked at me at the age of 15 having travelled with me for 4 years and said “Dad I have gone to work with you for one day for each of the last 4 years and I still have no idea what you do”. “You ride around in your truck visiting your customers and talking on the phone”. That is funny. She is in sales now in Chicago and doing quite well. Makes you wonder if I had anything to with but I will take credit for it! I have always thought that my task is to give people what they want period. Yes, you must have a relationship but also you need product knowledge an ethic beyond reproach and ability to keep your customers, suppliers and your company happy. It’s a juggling act. Just like the guy on the Ed Sullivan Show spinning the plates (before your time). I have never sold anything that someone did not want. I had an elderly couple that wanted to purchase a Polar Trac for their home. I tried to tell the wife that this was too much for them. She looked me straight in the eye and said “Honey give my husband Walter what he wants! “. “He has had three heart attacks plowing our driveway with an ATV”. $45,000 Walter is now the most popular guy in his neighborhood. Especially this winter.
Three things: Lucky Walter! I DO remember the spinning plates! Your daughter is blessed to have you as a role model, in sales and in life!
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Treat others, the way they want to be treated.
In my work with clients; leaders, salespeople, entrepreneurs, I discuss this concept after they’ve taken my behavioral assessment called Trimetrix HD.
I can feel their ah ha moment over the phone. They get it. Usually, that’s where it ends. They do nothing with the concept.
To be a better communicator, understand the behaviors and values of the other person. What makes them tick? That’s what you want.
In the end, your followers, customers, etc. will think more highly of you. Think of you as someone who’s easy to deal with.
That’s what we want. Push where it’s easy.
Wish I could see your presentation. Good luck.
Thanks Steve! Those are the saddest words people like you and me can ever hear “they do nothing with the concept” – if only people did what they know to be right our work would be done.
Great insight. Likewise for leadership – people follow (and desire to give of their best for) great people (not “leaders” nor fame nor titles…)
Very true, success, in any field is really about relationships, building trust and respect.
Steve, you said the presentation wasn’t to salespeople. Who was the audience?
It was to a large group of Golf Course Superintendents. It went well, I hope it helps them manage their part of the golf biz more effectively.
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