Ever have a bad sales experience? I mean a really bad sales experience? One so bad, that if given the choice to finish the sales call or be at the dentist getting your tooth pulled out you would choose the dentist?
Well I had one about a week ago, and in fact it is one of my favorites. I collect bad sales experiences, because I am fascinated by the way some people have been taught to sell, and continue to sell despite lack of success.
This story involves my mother and her investment advisor. My mother decided about a year ago that I should meet her advisor, as I am the executor of her will. Sounded like a good idea to me, so I set up the appointment. I met “Bob”, began to ask him questions, and he immediately turned the conversation to me. Bob wanted to know what I do, my views on finances, and who handled my investments. Then Bob promptly asked me for my business, to which I declined. Then Bob and I started this sort of cat and mouse game we play. Every few months Bob calls me on the phone, pretends to care about my weekend, never mentions my mother and then promptly asks for my business to which I decline. Now, I could end this game, but I don’t because as I said I am fascinated by it. I mean poor Bob, did someone really teach him to sell this way? It can’t be fun; on some level he knows I am going to reject him and on top of that it is completely unproductive as he never gets as much as pretend interest or a meeting with me. For me it just feels pushy, irritating, aggressive and quite frankly a little rude. Unfortunately for many of us that is the way a sales experience feels, whether we are doing the selling or we are being sold to. No wonder many of us hate to sell.
Now, have you ever been to a great movie, read a terrific book, or had a fantastic meal at an amazing restaurant, and you were so moved by the experience that you felt compelled to run home tell your spouse, your friends, your co-workers, anyone who would listen that they just had to go out and have the same experience you just had? Of course you have, we all have, we love to recommend. I had a great experience when a friend of mine called to suggest a hike. Gail knows I love to hike, and she felt she had found the perfect one for me. She insisted I go, and even provided me with a map. She was right, it was an amazing hike. But I knew it would be. You see, I trusted her, and I felt she listened to me and must care about me to go to this much trouble. For Gail, this was a great experience too, she felt she was helping me, she felt selfless, and good about herself for doing something nice for a friend. Yes, we love to recommend.
When you really think about it though, selling and recommending are just two sides of the very same coin. The ultimate goal of each is to get people to do whatever it is we think they ought to do. Bob wants me to invest my money with him, and Gail wants me to try this new trail. The same goal, yet I hated one experience and loved the other. What is the difference? This difference is the MOST important element in effective selling. The emotional high we get from helping other people.
When we sell we often feel we are pushing, being too aggressive, and bothering people. When we recommend, we feel we are helping, making a difference, and doing something to strictly benefit the other person. Sales lacks the emotional high, and recommending is rooted in it. If you begin to think of sales in the same way you think about recommending, you will take the first critical step in tapping into your natural sales ability. That one paradigm shift is the all important step to unleashing your natural sales talents.
And yes, we all have natural sales talents. Ever talked a child into eating their vegetables, a spouse to shed a few pounds, or your friends to try a new restaurant? Then you are a sales person, and a master one at that. Yes, selling is so natural we don’t even realize we are doing it.
Take this first step and this new approach, and you will take the stress, fear and anxiety out of sales and watch as it becomes fun, easy and effective!