By Allan S. Boress, CPA, CFE
One reason professionals and others hate to sell is that they don't understand what selling truly is. They have negative misconceptions about the sales process that turns them off to seeking out new business. Selling has developed a bad name because of the many poor sales types we have run into in our lives, and the stereotypical image of the used car or insurance salesperson.
Here's what selling REALLY is:
- It isn't “doing something to somebody”
It's not harming someone or pulling something over on them.
- Selling isn't manipulation
Selling isn't forcing someone to do something they don't want to do or coercing them to take an action they will later resent. The hard sell doesn't work; people resent it and it causes a negative reaction. When people perceive they are being sold, via the use of outdated techniques or ignorance, they put up their defenses and don't buy.
- Selling isn't talking!
Very few people care about what you have to say - especially a prospective client. There is a direct inverse relationship between the amount of time the seller talks and the likelihood of securing the client or getting the referral.
It's very hard to convince people to do anything; they have to discover it by themselves. That doesn't happen when you are blabbing away about how great or smart you are, or how wonderful your company or product is.
- Selling isn't lying
Unfortunately, some people do just that. They make promises they know they can't keep and say they can perform services they can't, just to get the client. Lying poisons the client relationship, and creates incredible bad will and negative word of mouth advertising.
- Selling is helping
We don’t help our clients or prospects when we wait for them to come to us with problems. Often they don't seek help because every time they talk to us we are so busy. The worse case scenario is that your client doesn't know you want to help them so they go to someone else.
You not only lose good work, but have now infected the client relationship through the intrusion of a competitor. Because humans still cannot read minds, we must ask how and if we can help someone.
Selling is very akin to being a doctor. "Where does it hurt?" is something a doctor would think and say. Not only do we need to proactively see how we can help our clients, but there are others out there in the business world that need helping, too. How can we know, except by talking to them?
Change your mistaken perception of what selling is and find you are motivated to help people, instead.
Allan Boress, CPA, CFE is the published author of 10 books on marketing and selling professional services, including a best-seller, The “I-Hate-Selling” Book now in its seventh printing. He has trained over 200,000 people in the art of selling and personal marketing worldwide. Visit www.allanboress.com for all sorts of articles and ideas. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.