Why ‘selling’ is a dirty word. And how to ensure you sell well

7th October 2014

Today, you’ll make lots of sales. You might be selling:

  • your firm’s services to customers
  • your proposal to your boss
  • the idea to your children that it’s time to go to bed. Right now.

But, despite its importance, many of us don’t like the thought of ‘selling’. It’s a dirty word.

This is partly because, I guess, we’ve all been on the receiving end of an idiot salesperson’s pushiness.

But also, have you noticed: all the words to do with selling – selling, proposing, pitching, influencing, convincing, persuading – are from the sellers’ point of view. They are the ones who are selling, proposing, pitching, influencing…

So sellers tend to feel that ‘selling’ is something you do to someone.

And the recipient can therefore often feel they’re having something done to them.

But selling shouldn’t be like that. It isn’t one-way; it’s two-way. It’s a joint thing. You and your ‘customer’ are agreeing together to work together to do what you propose, whether that be to:

  • buy your services
  • accept your proposal
  • go to bed

So, when you sell, be joint.

And the easiest way to do this is to start with their objectives, and then show how your suggestion fits with them. Using these same three examples:

  • ‘You’ve explained that you want to be more efficient at work, so you can get home earlier to see your young family. We can help you do that by…[now sell your services]’
  • ‘You’ve told us our company’s #1 goal is to wow your customers more than your competitors do. I have a proposal which will help us to do just that… [now sell your proposal]’
  • ‘It’s time for your favourite story upstairs. So, lets hurry up to bed then I can read it to you’

So, keeping this really short and simple, this means your preparation has two steps:

  1. Find their objectives (the best way to do this: ask them)
  2. Work out how your suggestion (your ‘sale’) will help achieve them

Do it this way and you both benefit.

You both value it.

And you both enjoy it.

And, since you’re both happy, ‘selling’ has become a joint thing.

Action point

Who’s the next person you’re selling to today?

Work out how your suggestion (‘sale’) will help her achieve her objectives. Make your sale by starting with these objectives, and working back to your solution.

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