Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Is "Sales" a Four Letter Word?

"Sales ... p-thew" (that was me attempting to capture the sound of spitting in disgust)

That word, "Sales" has a stigma attached to it. We hear it and we think of the piranhas that hover outside the door at the used car dealership, we think of the people that so conveniently call you at dinner time to get you to buy their personalized pens that can write underwater or in space. (I actually had that call come in. I told them that when I started taking on clients who were space artists or under water poets I would give them a call). In short, we usually bring to mind bad experiences we have had with sales people. Then the stigma kicks in, "Sales ... patooohey!" (Did that spit sound better?)

In reality, sales need not be a dirty word. We all do it every single day. We sell our products to our customers. We sell ideas to our partners. We sell the fact that studying will be worth it someday to our kids.

No matter what your business does, you need to sell it to others somehow. You can be the most talented carpet layer in the world, but if you don't sell your business, you will have a hard time making a living of it. (On the other side of that, you can see may example of people who are mediocre at what they do, yet have great success due to understanding sales). Imagine your success if you are great at what you do and know how to sell properly!

The thing is, those who are good at sales, don't seem like they are selling. They probably don't feel like they are selling either. Why? Because good sales come from listening to the buyer.

People love to buy, but they hate to be sold. The sales person who tries to convince someone they need something will turn most people off almost instantly. The sales person who listens to what the buyer says they need and then tries to meet that need will find loyal clients everywhere.

Zig Ziglar famously said, "You can get everything you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want."

This is the heart of good, honest, not-slimey sales. Don't approach sales with the attitude of "How much can I get from this person." Instead approach it with, "What can I do to help this person." If people view you as someone who genuinely wants to help, they will keep coming back to you. That creates repeat business and also referral business. If you come across as someone who wants to get them to buy as much as possible with no regard for their actual need, you will never see them again.

Sales is not a four letter word, literally or figuratively. (Although a lot of pushy sales people deserve some 4 letter titles) Sales, if done properly, is a pleasant form of communication in which both parties have their needs met.

The next time you are selling your product or service, ensure that you really understand the client's needs. Address those needs sincerely and provide the solutions you have to offer. It won't feel like "sales" to you or the client. It will feel like being helpful, and that is a way better feeling.

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