This is a guest article by Michael Martine.
Do you find the thought of selling distasteful? Does it conjure up in your mind’s eye images of peddling an unwanted product or service to a dour-faced prospect whose objections are impossible to overcome? It doesn’t need to be this way. You can love selling!
The secret of loving to sell is to not do it. Don’t sell. Was Ghandi “selling” when he presented his vision for gaining independence for India without violence? Was John Lennon “selling” when he communicated his ideas about peace through his words and music? Was John F. Kennedy “selling” when he gave his speech about putting a man on the moon? Were these people selling?
Yes… and no. The reason why they were so successful at gathering people to their ways of thinking is because they presented an impassioned vision of hope. We all want to feel hopeful. We all want to feel that we can live up to our potential. Hope is an attractive force that draws the hopeful in to ideas that offer the possibility of meaning and fulfillment in our lives. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech is one of the most hopeful “sales jobs” ever.
“Yes, but I’m no JFK!” I hear you say. True, but neither am I. You don’t have to be a JFK or a Ghandi. All you have to do is examine how they “sold” and emulate that. Consider the following:
- Are you presenting your prospects with a stale list of features/benefits? No wonder selling is painful! Where is the hope and potential in that? Demonstrate, show, and tell stories of success about how your product or service has empowered and enabled people to achieve their dreams. Communicate and demonstrate that feeling of hope, that unlocked potential will be realized. This simple dynamic is why testimonials have always been so powerful: other people are telling your story of hope for you.
- Are you forcing yourself on prospects? That is not the act of someone with a message of hope! Use the power of the internet (especially business blogging) and word-of-mouth referrals to meet your prospects halfway. Remember that for long-term robust sales, it isn’t quantity, it’s quality. A high volume of cold calls that don’t ever convert is worthless compared to even a tiny handful of highly qualified prospects who are already predisposed to be open to your message of hope. Referrals save you the time of having to break down barriers to get to decision-makers.
- Are you focused on what you want? Don’t be! Instead, focus on what your prospect wants. Your prospect wants that emotional rush of hopefulness and fulfilled potential. You can’t help them into that feeling unless you’re focused on what they want. That’s the big difference between merely “selling” and closing the deal. Remember that all buying decisions are emotional, not rational. If they were rational, your canned arguments for overcoming objections would work every time, like a computer program. You cannot offer hope to your prospect if you don’t know what she really wants. Listen to the subtext, the underlying needs and wants she’s communicating to you.
- Are you concerned about a lack of resources? People who fail blame a lack of resources. People who succeed credit their resourcefulness. There is a huge difference in meaning between resources and resourcefullness. What resources did Ghandi have? If you’ve ever read or seen anything about the early American space program, you cannot help but be impressed by their resourcefulness. Resourcefulness requires knowledge, adaptibility, and imagination.
It has long been said: “sell the sizzle, not the steak.” While it doesn’t condense into a pithy soundbite, what I’m saying is: sell the hope of a satisfying, fulfilling meal and family togetherness, which are the rewards of a life well-lived. The purchase of a steak is an outward symbol of that feeling that reinforces and amplifies that feeling.
When you change from selling people to offering them hope, you can go from detesting selling to loving it.
Michael Martine has a vision of hope that entrepreneurs grow and strengthen their customer relations and revenue through blogging. To achieve this vision, he helps them set up and run successful blogs.