Tuesday, July 12, 2011

OMG!! A word in business so dirty even Mike Rowe won't touch it!

There is a dirty four letter word in business that no one ever really seems to want to embrace. It isn't as scientific as marketing or analytics, isn't as glamorous as being an executive bigwig, or even as simple as being an intern. In fact this word is so loathsome to a lot of people that it needs a whole FIVE letters to describe it!

SALES. Scary, stomach wrenching sales.

Regardless of what you may think, no business can function without sales. One can argue that marketing is what gets the message out, or analytics helps us figure out who to get the message to. The fact remains with no sales there is no revenue. No revenue is a surefire way to tank your business. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out. What good is it to be passionate about something if you can't sell it?

Believe it or not we sell everyday. We sell ourselves to potential employers, we sold ourselves to our significant others. So why is there such a nasty misconception of selling? I'm no genius but I'm pretty sure it has a lot to do with the hard sell. If you don't know what a hard sell is you aren't looking hard enough. Have you ever heard things like "If you don't put an offer on the house now you risk losing it"? Or, "Don't make the biggest mistake of your life and not buy this car". If you haven't directly experienced this surely you know someone who has been in a high pressure sales situation at some point in your life.

Selling doesn't need to be high pressure though. In fact it can be a pleasurable experience if you remember these 3 things.

1: The worst thing that can happen is you will get a no. How awesome is that? You will not be sent to Guantanamo Bay. You will not be physically harmed. You will simply hear one tiny 2 letter word. The best part of a no? It allows you to ask questions! Once a person has decided to not purchase your wares all the pressure is off of you as the salesperson. This is a great time to ask for more information as to how they formed their decision. The information you get from them is front line market research! You didn't even have to pay someone to sit down and figure this out because the customer is giving you the feedback right then and there!

2: The decision to buy is emotional. If you want to see yourself in a Porsche GT3 RS, what good would it be for me to try to get you to buy a Porsche Boxter? You made a connection with that GT3 RS. It stirred your soul. You knew this was what you wanted. There is an emotional connection that you made before I even met you. It is my job as a salesperson to help you realize that. No one wants to buy something they aren't going to love or enjoy or feel good about.

3: Selling ain't telling. It's understanding. Listen to your customers. Understand their needs, wants, and desires. Don't bombard then with reports, graphics, features, benefits, or advantages unless they ask for it. Ask open ended questions to gather information about your customer and what exactly they are looking for. Then tailor your presentation accordingly. If all your customer cares about is how your new widget is going to streamline her operation, don't spend your time telling her about your easy low interest payment options. She won't buy it from you.

I could go on for pages about selling but you would probably fire up angry birds at some point. What kind of salesperson would I be if I let that happen? If you have any questions, feedback, concerns etc feel free to post in the comments. We would love to hear your thoughts.

PS. We here at Startup-Post think Mike Rowe is awesome.

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