If you are a salesperson, it may be time to change your way of thinking.
- First, embrace the fact that everyone is a salesperson and learn from them.
- Second, accept that your job as a salesperson is not to sell a product or service, it’s to help people
Everyone Is A Salesperson
No matter who they are or what they do, everybody is selling somebody something. In fact, we spend more time selling than we realize. Virtually every interaction during the day is partly sales, whether or not you are working. When you call a repairman, he says he’ll come out next Tuesday, and you say, “Don’t you have something sooner?” you are selling him on the idea of coming out now. When you let the neighborhood kids play basketball in your driveway, you are selling them on the idea that you are the “cool” parents, when in reality you want to keep an eye on your kids. When your hairdresser uses “product” in your hair, they are selling you on the idea of using it at home. When teachers reward students for returning homework on time, they are selling them on completing their work. In fact, some of the best sales people in the world are your own kids. They sell you on the latest trend, cartoon product, or ice cream. And when you say know, they always ask, “Why?” They don’t sell on price; they sell on value. They don’t know how much a product costs, they just know it tastes the best, is fun to use, or is just like the one their friends have.
It is estimated that people spend 40 percent of their time in non-sales selling, either at work or home. We persuade, influence, and prevail upon others to act, think, believe, or choose a certain way.
Everyone is selling something.
Professionally, one out of every nine workers in the United States earns a living by selling, by trying to get others to make a purchase. They sell insurance, stocks, cars, T-shirts, art, machines, food, tickets and thousands of other items. They work in fancy offices, in simple stores, in call centers, in carts in the mall, or from their own homes. Using technology, they can showcase their products and services anywhere and anytime, create a customized experience, and enable personal interaction.
Everyone is a salesperson. But, what do successful salespeople sell? It’s not what you may think. Let’s look at all the “salespeople” in a grocery store.
- Store managers who provide carts for children so they can enjoy shopping with their parents are selling parents on their store (a more pleasant shopping experience, an educational opportunity for your children). As a bonus, they sell more products because parents often purchase at least one item that their kids put in their carts.
- Baggers are usually the last person you talk to in
the market. In most stores, they stand quietly and pack your goods. Yet even with this seemingly mundane job is a sales function. By asking questions about the kind of bag you want, whether or not you want your groceries separated, and whether you need help to the car, the bagger is selling you on their ability to efficiently and carefully pack your groceries. They give customers confidence that their food will make it home safely. What better reason to come back?
- The “samples” staff sell by creating and serving food, providing free recipes, and by keeping the ingredients conveniently close for customers to purchase.
- The meat department and deli counter staff always ask two questions: “Would you like to taste?” and “Can I get you something else?” They are selling your food that you might not have tried and that you may buy now or in the future.
- The produce manager inspects, stocks, and arranges produce throughout the day. He is selling you on quality and creating the perception that everything you get is fresh and unspoiled.
These individuals don’t sell price or products. They sell value. There is value to the parents shopping with kids; value in being able to quickly and easily create a new, tasty meal; value in being able to try new foods before you buy them, and value in knowing you are buying the best.
When you change your perspective not only will you realize that everyone is selling something, you’ll learn valuable lessons you can learn as a salesperson.
Your Job Is To Help Customers Buy
Salespeople who create an exceptional experience for their customer know that a sale will follow. Extraordinary salespeople don’t sell products or services; they know their job is to help customers buy. They are intent on helping customers find the right product or service for their situation. They know the customer always comes first.
Recognizing this, salespeople must develop an ability to listen actively and quickly find the fine line between what customers need and what they want. They must strike the right balance between the two to delight the customer. A single person with a dog who is house hunting most likely isn’t interested in a five-bedroom home or a two bedroom condo. While they need a place to live, they want a place with enough room to live comfortably and play outside, like a two bedroom home with a yard. They need to find a home that works for their dog first.
Building long-term customer relationships is extremely important. It comes down to having a consistent process that is adhered to at every step of customer interaction by every person. Salespeople learn to listen, evaluate variables, identify key drivers, overcome objections and find ways to reach agreement—without burning bridges. Salespeople learn to ask for what they want. Closing a sale is part art and part science. Great salespeople know how to close relationships. They are persistent and inventive and look for solutions for overcoming obstacles and objections.
Professionally or as part of daily life, everyone is selling. As salespeople or not, the skills we learn and use will be invaluable for the rest of your business — and personal — life.
Who knew? Like everyone else, you are a salesperson. And to be exceptional, you need to stop selling and help customers buy. Are you ready to change your way of thinking? Let’s go.
- Observe salespeople all around you. Find out what works and how they succeed. Make notes about how they create value and a positive experience that results in the actions they want.
- Check your attitude. If you don’t believe you can change or succeed, you won’t Embrace a positive attitude, believe change will happen, and you’ll succeed.
- Identify the things you can influence and control. There are always things you can control and things you have no control over. Even so, everyone has a choice in every circumstance.
- Think about how things can be changed to drive a different outcome. Be careful not to overlook yourself and focus only on things and others around you.
- Think about where you want to go professionally. Put a plan in place and work it. Include small, simple actions like changing how you dress or identifying people you wish to emulate and then studying them and learning from their success. Small changes can lead to huge successes.
- Follow through, consistently. If you stumble, and you will, get back up and keep going.
- Evaluate – honestly – and re-adjust. Failure isn’t fatal.