I’m going to say a dirty word… Sales.
Cue cringes, eye rolls, slimy feelings accompanied with the desire to bathe, flashbacks to uncomfortable conversations trapped on car lot/front door/furniture store…
That single word can invoke a plethora of feelings that society prides itself on feeling.
You’re taught from childhood not to talk to strangers who have something to sell, they’re bad!
It only gets worse as you get older, you’re inundated with sales pitches left and right.
If you don’t believe me, the average 40 year-old who watches one hour of tv a day will have seen 1,944 hours of commercials.
Do the math, that’s 81 days of your life or 230,400 thirty second commercials you’ve spent being sold.
We see billboards every day on our drive to work, the drive-thru person tries to get you to upgrade your fries, people off the street walk in and try to show you how great their product is.
Then we go home and watch commercials with some TV mixed in.
This is a safe space so let’s be 100% honest, I’m sick and tired of being sold.
I was sitting on the floor battling with the assembly of some Ikea furniture when our doorbell rang.
My husband answered and it was a door-to-door sales team plugging security systems.
My husband kindly told them they were already on camera and that we didn’t need their services. They would not take no for an answer despite my husband slowly trying to close the door in their face.
After 45 minutes, he finally succeeded.
We didn’t get a security system that night, but we did lose an hour of our life that night that we can never get back.
The only thing I got out of the deal was an aggravated and annoyed husband, tightly wound and red faced.
Just what every girl wants!
It’s Not Polite to Interrupt
We hate being sold because we’ve been conditioned that it will automatically be negative based on our past negative experiences. Sales have become dirty in the consumer’s mind.
Think of your automatic reaction when you’re approached with something to buy.
If you’re like me, my arms cross protectively over my chest, skepticism and resistance becomes my new middle name, and the barriers are set on high.
Poor dude (or dudet) never had a chance.
We hate an experience that adds little or no value to our lives, like the car salesman following you around the lot talking about the car you don’t want.
Always Be Listening
That’s why selling the old way is such hard work.
That’s why, without even knowing it, the old school sales guy just by his sheer presence has triggered that hostile confrontation.
The consumer is going to win that battle every time.
Here’s Some Real Irony
I am a salesperson.
Call it whatever you want; producer, Executive VP, business development, consultant, small business owner etc.…
We can dress it up as fancy as we want, but at the end of the day, most of us are selling something.
Your goals may look different then other agencies, but most of us wake up wanting our business to grow!
How we reach our goals varies for every single person, but working on the family owned agency side, let me tell you that I can’t afford to waste time or energy being bad at growing our business.
I had to figure this out and figure it out fast. So I started with the most important question…
“What is my biggest obstacle?”
You know what I came up with? For me, the biggest obstacle was overcoming every past experience potential clients had during a sales process.
FUUUUUDGGE, I thought to myself, I’ve gotta over overcome billboards and commercials, and being stalked at the furniture stores…
How do I overcome that?
The answer was easier than I thought.
Your competition is everyone else, so be different than anyone else.
I can hear the outcries coming my way with that one, “Avery, that’s such a typical millennial thing to say.”
Be different they say, it’ll be fun, but how do we be different? Also, you can’t say fudge.” Cool, my bad, but glad you asked.
A good starting point is to forget what you know about selling. Throw it away and block it out. I completely forgot everything I knew on how to sell and instead I remembered how to help.
I remembered what it felt like when someone helped me without feeling pressured and the positive experience I wanted to have.
For me that changed the game.
Instead of selling features and benefits and telling the buyer what they want, now I ask what they need.
Then together we figure out how to reach that goal.
Your presentation may have a ton of awesome coverage’s, but if you don’t know why your customer should care then you’re missing the whole point.
Remember that people hate being sold because it typically adds no value to their life!
The Big Takeaway
Always add value to someone’s life and to do that you have to define what value means to them.
You can do that by simply having a conversation, not a confrontation!
Conversation equal sales.
Confrontation equals no sales.
You already know the consumer is geared up for a confrontation so you have no choice but to BE DIFFERENT.
Here’s the Deal
We’re in a people industry.
Our PURPOSE is to help people when life crashes down.
More importantly, the experience I leave a customer with can change their day for the good or not so good.
You best believe if it’s a great experience I’ll talk about it, just in the same way if it’s a bad experience I’ll write about it in an article for everyone to read.
Being different starts with a perception change focused on helping people.
Helping people leads to better conversations, which leads to what the customer truly want. What you’re left with is a happy consumer, which leads to a positive experience.
And people say sales are hard….