“Timid salesmen have skinny kids.”
I often hear people say, “I’m just not a salesman.” The truth is that the moment we get out the womb and start crying we’re selling our mother silence in exchange for some milk and soothing. A sale is simply an exchange. Success as a human being depends on our ability to exchange our ideas, skills, services and sometimes products. We sell ourselves through words to everyone from our boss and clients to our spouse and kids. We can have great value to add to someone’s life or business but if we don’t effectively communicate that value we or our products will stay on the shelf.
My friend Bob Burg likes to remind people that the word “sell” comes from the old English “sellen” which means “to give”. Great sales people are givers. They give value, time, attention and care. If you’ve got something to sell, you’ve got something to give. Okay, a sell is reciprocal, you get something in return. That’s good, people generally don’t value what they’re given for free as much as what they pay for. But top sales people actually give more than they receive, they under promise and over deliver. Instead of feeling like they’ve lost, their clients feel like they’ve gained. There is no buyer’s remorse here because the salesman/giver remains in the relationship, ready to follow up, back up and continue to give.
When you’re convinced of the value you have to give you’ll never feel like a “pushy salesman” you’ll feel the generosity of spirit that comes with giving the best product, price, idea or service. Instead of feeling rejected when they don’t buy you’ll feel compassion because they lost out on all that you have to give. That’s why as long as you’re convinced that they really need what you’ve got you’ll keep going back to sell them. (Not everyone sees the value the first time. Most people need about five exposures to a new product or service before they are comfortable enough to buy.)
If you’re struggling to sell yourself, service or products ask yourself this question: “Why would I buy from me rather than anyone else?” What are the benefits that you have to give? It could be the intrinsic value of what you have to offer but maybe it’s the relationship that you will provide, the care attention and the fact that you genuinely care about making sure the person you’re selling is going to be better off as a result of buying from you.
Watch this short video from my talk The psychology of Sales Superstars to find out how one man became the world’s greatest salesman.
Check out a new 5 star review of my latest book Quest, Inc. Read review.
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Siyabonga Gama, CEO Transnet