Selling is one of the most useful skills that everyone can learn. Nearly all social interactions in our daily lives can be associated with selling, in one form or another. You’re selling your products, your services, your ideas, desires or even or your personality. If you really think about it, you’ll realise that everything you do can be likened to selling something to someone.
Hello everyone and welcome back to my success series! In this instalment, I’ll go over the art of selling. Personally, I believe that everyone, no matter who they are or what they do for a living, can benefit from learning more about selling. And today, I’ll tell you exactly why I think that is.
Let’s start by looking at what selling is. In essence, selling is the process of convincing someone to follow a set of actions, that will, in return, yield a positive outcome for both parties involved. It’s essential to emphasise that this is a win-win scenario. If this requirement isn’t fulfilled, you’re going to have a hard time getting your pitch through. And, in reality, you’re rarely giving people something that’s worth to you as much as it’s worth to them … or you wouldn’t be trying to sell anything.
Therefore, the key to successful selling lies in your ability to convey perceived value.
But then why do people buy things? Because they’ve got a problem to solve, or a need that they want to fulfil. And you’ve got the just the thing — you’ve got the solution to their problem. It might not be the most revolutionary (and if we have to be real — it rarely is), or even the most practical of solutions. But it’s what you’ve got for sale, and hopefully — it’s what they’re going to end up choosing over the competition.
If you played your cards right and hit all the required checkboxes, you will successfully convert your potential client to an actual one. Then, it becomes about how much the person is willing to pay to solve the problem.
Because of this, many salespeople and marketers erroneously assume that they need to be aggressive and they need to keep pushing their idea until the other side concedes. But that’s rarely the right approach. More often than not, your potential client will end up irritated, scared or bored of the incessant peddling attempts.
And this goes beyond business and into social interactions as well. Think about it, whenever you’re trying to build contacts at a networking event, or even when you’re out on a date with a potential partner — you’re still essentially selling them something. In that case, it’s the benefits of choosing your personality over that of everyone else.
If you’re looking to become good at selling, you need to think about the problem-solution paradigm from a friendlier perspective. You have exactly what they need, and you just have to demonstrate that they can only benefit from picking you over the sea of competitors. Ideally, your customer won’t even feel like you’re selling anything to them. They’d feel like they’re receiving a fantastic opportunity to better their life.
But how do you get there?
How do you sell anything?
You go back to the basics. You look at what your product is. What problems it can solve. Why would people need it? Which people would need it. How can it make their lives easier?
Know your customer
The customers are the lifeblood of a business. There’s no way around it. You can have amazing products, brilliant team members and exceptional customer service. But without making sales, you can’t even call yourself a business owner in the first place!
The more you know about your customers, the better you’ll be at selling to them. As an aside, you will ideally conduct this research before you begin developing your product. The most successful products that you’ll find today have resulted from extensive prospective customer and psychological research. Most marketers will tell you that you want to know the following things about your customer:
- Their gender
- Their marital situation
- Their location
- Their interests, hobbies and tastes
- Their employment situation
- Their preferred hangouts
- Their shopping habits
The better you understand your prospective customer; the better grasp you will have on what their problems are. And the better you understand the issues, the better your solution will become. Additionally, if you happen to have a product on your hands already, and you’re just looking to sell post-factum, it will help you understand which benefits you want to focus on.
The above applies to every single product or service in existence. You can always gain more customers by leveraging the knowledge you have of the people that you’re looking to sell to. If you do your homework well, you should be able to present your product in the right light without any issues.
Your personality and how you handle yourself plays a huge part in being good at selling anything. Looking and acting the part is crucial. Especially important if you’re trying to make a face-to-face sale, your clothing, self-esteem and first impression. You need to dress appropriately, not just for the occasion, but for your prospective customer’s expectation as well. A businessperson is much more likely to take you seriously if you show up at the conference wearing a suit than if you came in with your flip-flops and hoodie.
Regardless of whether you’re selling online or in person, you should never push. You don’t want to be pushy, because that only makes you appear desperate to finalise the sale. Instead, you’re looking for an air of confidence. After all, you’ve got this incredible product that everyone would love having. They should be the ones wanting to get the product. You just happened to be nearby, and this presents them with the wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to better their lives with whatever you’re selling.
Don’t act as if your customers are stupid — we both know that this isn’t true! Instead, kick the conversation off in a friendly manner and strive to build a trustworthy relationship with them. That’s how you get repeat customers.
In order to be a convincing salesperson, you need to come off as trustworthy. Failing to create the right image in your prospective customer will result in you sounding like an annoying, or even worse — shady peddler. And that’s the last thing that you’d want. Everything that you’ve worked so hard to establish — your image, your pitch, your product — will immediately lose all of their perceived value in the eyes of the customer.
Learn how to close!
No matter how much the prospective client likes you or whatever you’re selling them, you need to know how to close. More often than not, aspiring salespeople will go through the entire motion of the sale, have the perfect product or service at hand, give off all the right “vibes”, build rapport, and then fail to seal the deal.
This is what sets a good salesperson from all the rest — if the client wants their problem solved or their pain gone, and if they realise that you have their solution, it’s just a matter of closing. Once you’ve addressed all of their concerns and you’ve convinced both yourself and the client, that you have precisely what they’re looking for, you’re (almost) doing them a disservice by not closing the sale. This is very important when you’re looking to sell anything.
Finally, your client has found the cure to their “pain”. They’ve probably even seen themselves free of the pain already. And by not closing the sale, you’re essentially leaving them hanging. You’re crushing their newfound hopes and dreams by pulling away in the last second. And that’s a terrible thing to do to a person!
Keep working on your product or service
Even if your product is selling well, nobody says that you shouldn’t keep working on it. It’d be a mistake not to do that. And no, I’m not advising you to try and “fix what ain’t broke”. If your formula happens to work correctly, you don’t need to alter the product itself. Instead, you can create promotions, package deals, include additional benefits or even expand your market. You can always come up with a new product line, retaining the design of the original, but adapting it to the needs of a different audience.
And that about wraps it for this article. Selling is a vast topic, and many people, much better at selling than me, have addressed it in countless books. If you’re looking for more in-depth information on the subject, I’ve got a list of interesting further readings down in the resource section below.
And what about you? What is your experience with selling? Would you say that you’re a good salesperson or a great one? What advice would you give to all of the aspiring people reading this article trying to sell anything? As always, feel free to leave your thoughts, opinions and ideas in the comments below — I love hearing from you!
Thank you all for reading, and I’ll see you next time!
Stay green and motivated!
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