December 16, 2012

How to sell if you hate sales

molly published this at 3:00 am

Sales people get a bad reputation (some may say undeservedly so). However, the best sales people never sell at all. Not one iota. The perception of sales people as pushy, overbearing sleazeballs is pervasive however. …unfortunately. Most people do not wish to identify with the caricature of strong-armed “persuasion,” and so miss many opportunities to grow their business… their interests or their life in general.

The best sales people know the secret that I am going to divulge to you now: *everything* is sales. Every time you have been hired for a job, gotten people to help you sell cookies for your kid’s band camp or even gotten a retweet on twitter, you have sold something.

The best, most sustainable form of sales is not a feverish, hyperfocused “positive affirmations on steriods” Annette Bening’s Real Estate Saleswoman from American Beauty: “I WILL SELL THIS HOUSE TODAY.”

Real sales is not plaid sport coat-clad WKRP’s Herb Tarlek; nor is it Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’s Sam Beauregarde (With Sam B, it’s a Guarantee).

As you build your business or organization, bringing people on board is crucial to your success. Whether you need investors, vendors, employees or ultimately clients/customers, you MUST first understand that the intrinsic value that YOU bring to the table and your vision is part and parcel of what people “buy.”

“The can’t BE you so they BUY you.”

When people do business with you, they are extending a symbiotic representation of who they either are or aspire to be. They believe in you/your product or service so much that they are willing to exchange energy for it. They co-opt and incorporate their worth with what you offer.

This exchange of energy may be manifested as political will, clout (or Klout), money, influence… any number of things. In order to learn how to accumulate “sales,” there are certain actions you must take.

1. Understand what a value proposition is and how you can create/offer one
2. Embrace and contribute to reciprocity
3. Deliver what you promise
4. Educate your “buyer” as to the features and benefits of what it is you offer and
5. …make it relevant to THEIR needs.

Being able to articulate and deliver these aspects of your business is essential to your success, regardless of your endeavor.

1. Does your product or service fill a need?
2. Do you have competitors? If so, how does yours truly differ?
3. Why have you entered the market?
4. How can you contribute to/elevate the options available?
5. Do you actually care about what it is you offer?

Here’s where I disagree with Michael Corleone. It IS personal. Entrepreneurs don’t launch businesses because they are bored. Or need a hobby. They invest their blood, sweat and tears into their efforts. So, yeah; it’s personal. Once you’ve become crystal clear on the above, you’ll find that traditional sales isn’t necessary.

Alignment with who you are and what you have to offer activates a polarity to which people will respond. “Qualifying” prospects becomes easier and “closing” is assumptive rather than forcibly achieved.

Determine who it is that you are, what you have to offer, why you exist (and for whom) and watch how much more easily “sales” comes to you.

Have you found this to be true in your experience? Have you grown into a more natural “sales” mindset? What are obstacles for you that still may remain?
——-

Molly Cantrell-Kraig is a woman with drive. Possessing an innate sense of purpose and a pragmatic, solution-based approach to empowering people, she fused these two traits in order to establish Women With Drive Foundation. Based upon its founder’s personal history, Women With Drive Foundation is a means through which Cantrell-Kraig may effect change on both a micro and macro level. By providing women with something as essential as personal transportation in order to transition them from poverty to prosperity, she, through Women With Drive Foundation, seeks to empower women to help them help themselves. Through this action, the individual applicant benefits, as does society as a whole. Follow Molly on twitter as @mckra1g or @WWDr1ve (Women With Drive Foundation).

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