Quite an intriguing opinion. Isn’t it? Some of you might be skeptical about how is it even possible in between the cutthroat competition where closing a deal is much more important than being morally right. While others would be keen to know that if it’s at all possible and then how? How exactly can anyone sell right by just listening and loving?
So, let’s just jump right into the basics. Shall we? What is selling according to you? What comes to your mind when asked about it? By the way, when I asked a bunch of people around me, they all had different say. But still, there were a few common responses (and dreadful too) - “It’s so so so Tough!”, “I find it Cheesy!”, “It’s Pushy!”, “Hella Annoying, bro”.
And that’s where, I feel, the biggest trouble is. The job I try to do with so much passion makes the other people uncomfortable and is often perceived to be awkward.
I mean, just think of it in this way, that we’re practicing selling at every point in our lives, be it while pitching a concept to our boss, asking someone out on a date, or calling a friend to watch a movie together. Don’t believe me? Just check the last message you sent to anyone, you’ll find that in some way or the other, you’re trying to convince, persuade or influence through your message! See. Told you!
So, don’t you feel it’s time to shift our mindsets? And stop taking selling as one of those pushy tasks (and here’s how not to be pushy) that only salespeople have to carry out. By now, we should realize the fact that we’re all sales person and selling is and will be an integral part of our lives. So why not change that perception (which is somewhat true) by selling right. And doing it as humanely as possible just the way we do our other tasks like taking care of our granny or giving career advice to our little siblings.
“I am a firm believer that any successful organization has people in all capacities who have the ability to sell. In the sense that they will be willing to listen to the client, empathize with his pain and not be afraid to disagree if it matters. They are willing to take risks and never stop looking at the big picture. I have many a time advised a potential client with money to spend, that he is not ready to make a video and he needs to work on certain things to get ready to make one.” - Shankar Iyerh VP Sales, Broadcast2World
Thinking of selling with a new perspective is indeed very simple. You just need to stop manipulating your prospects and start inspiring them, if you don’t; even better, avoid sounding aspirational, instead figure out ways to inspire your potential prospects. Because whether individual or organization, we like to follow those who inspire us. This will automatically motivate your prospects so much that they would take the next action all by themselves.
”Manipulation can lead to a sale but inspiration leads to brand loyalty. Knowing you have a loyal customer not only reduces costs, it provides massive peace of mind. Like loyal friends, you know your customers and employees will be there for you when you need them most. It is the feeling of “we are in this together,” shared between customers and company, voter and candidate, boss and employee, that defines great leaders.
In contrast, relying on manipulations creates massive stress for buyer and seller alike. It’s not an accident that doing business today, and being in the workforce today, is more stressful than it used to be. Many of the ills that we suffer today have very little to do with the bad food but in the way, Corporates developed that has increased our stress to levels so high we’re literally making ourselves sick because of it. We are suffering ulcers, depression, high blood pressure, anxiety and cancer at record levels. All those promises of more, more, more are actually overloading the reward circuits of our brain. The short-term gains that drive business in the World today are actually destroying our health.” – Simon Sinek in Start with Why.
Now, it might sound a little unconvincing but you can actually build real connections simply by listening to your prospects. And that my friend, is the most crucial part of any communication.
When you truly pay attention and listen to your prospects (actually listen), then you can naturally visualize the challenges they’re facing. And therefore craft your product or service as a solution to their pain point. A start-up might not have the same problems as of a mid-sized organization, so the only way to figure out that is listening to both of them.
And remember, there could be many out there ready to offer their service but it’s only you, who is actually giving attention to their opinions and trying to think from their perspective.
Another tip, let your prospects talk more than you do because then you’ll eventually get to know their likes, dislikes or what’s important for them at the moment. And when you start knowing your prospect so well, you start building the trust which is too rare these days.
As you practice to be an active listener, you also need to speak in a way that you’re heard! And not only heard but also felt by your prospects. I’m positive, you’ve got great speaking skills. But still, just be careful of making any bad statements about anyone (especially about your competitors), that’s too much of negativity. Nobody likes it!
“Everyone likes talking about themselves. All you need to do is ask your leads the right questions- and LISTEN. Talk to them about the challenges they are facing, and the goals they are trying to achieve. Ask them if they can quantify their goals with a definite timeline. Talk to them about the consequences and implications of achieving or not achieving their goal. A good salesperson is just like a good doctor - you ask the right questions that might not sometimes be comfortable to answer, but the prospect knows that you are doing this for their best interest.” - Kabir Krishn Inbound Sales Lead, Broadcast2World
Also, make sure, you don’t exaggerate about your services (you’ll be sorry about it later anyway) or start off with a complaining or judgemental behavior. You do you, be responsible and respect promises you’ve made.
“This is a common symptom of desperation, many a time sales people overpromise and when the production takes over, the client has a poor experience, he is going to talk about it. The brand damage is irreparable in this case.” - Shankar Iyerh VP Sales, Broadcast2World
Another aspect of selling right is ‘loving’. Truly successful salespeople think that selling is an act of "love and caring". As a salesperson, our real job is to get in touch with our prospects with a pure intention of helping them out. And, no matter how you look at it, helping is an act of love.
“It is almost hard to compete in a market such as ours where the products and services are comparable and prices vary significantly. A typical prospect when making a decision, would need to be steered beyond just the product offering and the price and needs to understand the intangible. In this case, it is his experience with you as a salesperson or anyone in the organization. If you are enthusiastic about what he is about to do, as he is, he will definitely move you up in the ladder irrespective of your offering being more expensive.” - Shankar Iyerh VP Sales, Broadcast2World
One time, a prospect was so overwhelmed with our heart to heart (Absolutely no sales pitch involved) conversation that he referred me someone who was actually looking for the kind of solution I provide. Even though we didn’t close the deal but I’m grateful that at the end of our conversation, we both had smiles on our faces. That’s what I aimed for.
You can think of so many different ways to express the language of love. You could use your words, a softer tone of voice while describing the solution or have gestures that communicate complete devotion and affection toward your prospect’s problem.
Treat your prospect just as your friend and selling as helping them. As cliche as it may sound, it does work! Tell me something, would you ever advise your friend something that’s not in their favor. Of course, NOT! Then why do it with a prospect? Initiate meaningful conversations and look for a mutually beneficial experience. Such real conversations have helped my organization achieve long term results much more easily. I’m sure doing this, will help you too.
“Did you know that today's empowered buyer is 57% decided on making a purchase decision before even their first interaction with a salesperson, especially in B2B industries. It's therefore essential to befriend the lead when you get a chance to. I was in discussion with one of my leads who, fortunately (for me!) had visited the part of India that I belong to (The client was from the travel industry to be fair).
That was all the fuel I needed to have a valuable conversation with him, as friends. Our frequencies matched, and in addition, I was able to give him value by listening and asking the right questions. He did end up signing for us and here's his video - Indus Travels” - Kabir Krishn Inbound Sales Lead, Broadcast2World
There is another perspective to loving, which is to believe in what you sell and most importantly, truly love what you sell. Because honestly, to be successful in sales over the long haul, you need to love what you sell and that’s a really important way to sell right. Just ask the right questions to yourself.
Once you start selling in a more humanistic way, you’ll end up doing it better. So, let me ask you again..What do you think selling is? How are you doing at it?
Please go ahead and bombard your thoughts and inputs about this blog in the comments section below. I would love to read them!