Sell: to exchange or deliver for money or its equivalent
Many people have an automatic aversion to the idea of selling. I was one of these.
The way I said it when I first considered owning my own business was “I quit the Girl Scouts because of the cookies. Don’t talk to me about sales.”
Did I object to someone putting money in my hand in exchange for cookies?
No, that’s not what bothered me. It was opening myself up to the possibility of rejection. It was approaching people for the sole purpose of getting something from them. It was being perceived as pushy or grasping or even greedy.
When my daughter Mayme was around 10 years old, she loved to collect mistletoe, tie sprigs with red ribbon, load up her wagon and head out into the neighborhood. UNTIL someone opened the door and transferred her bad day to little Mayme and her friend, and made it their bad day. Mayme came home in tears and her entrepreneurial days were over.
Maybe you had an early experience like this. Do we internalize that feeling of being rejected? Do some of us turn that feeling into a determination to NEVER sell anything again?
Most, if not all of us have stood on the other side of an unpleasant transaction -- being pitched and pushed by a salesperson. In any profession there are those people who care only about their sales bonus-- not your needs, your budget or your satisfaction. When we’re hustled by one of these people, the little voice inside says, “I NEVER want to be like that!” Now, I think of the occasional pushy salesperson I come across as a lesson in what not to do.
It comes down to this, what successful people in business do to arrive at that moment where someone does offer money in exchange for a product or service is a two-step process.
This process NEVER involves chasing someone down, stalking them at the mall, knocking on their door or calling them repeatedly. This process doesn’t involve pursuit.
Here are the two-steps:
- Converse and listen until your candidate/client has expressed a need or desire. Ask questions. Explore this need or desire and what it means to them.
- Make a recommendation. Be willing to recommend someone else’s product or service if it answers their need or desire more effectively. If you’re willing to be there for their benefit, next time they have a need for what you have to offer, they will think of you first.
When you make your recommendation, will they always say “Yes!”? No, but if you passed around a platter of your famous chocolate chip cookies, some people would say “No” too, would you take it personally and feel rejected? Or would you just assume they were either on a diet or preferred peanut butter bars?
You’re just offering a recommendation, not badgering for the close.
You’re not trying to convince someone, you’re just laying out a possible solution.
Yes, technically, this is part of selling. You could call it pre-selling, but what you’re providing is a willing ear and a helpful spirit. What you’re "selling" is YOU -- a sympathetic friend they’ve come to trust. A product, service or opportunity is the short-term solution to their immediate needs, but YOU are the longterm solution to future needs and desires.
Just practice these words: “May I make a recommendation?” and more often than not, the selling part -- the exchange-for-money part-- will take care of itself.