What are you trying to sell? Products, services, solutions, yourself, ideas? Who are you selling to? B2B, B2C, to buyers, or end-users? Why does the idea of selling someone something terrify many people, including those with jobs in Sales? “I don’t like talking about or selling myself. I feel like I’m manipulating others to do or buy something they don’t want to buy. If they don’t buy they must like or trust me.” And there are other reasons selling strikes fear in the hearts of many.
Winston Churchill is remembered for many things, including memorable quotes. Inspiring, tough, insightful, providing perspective, and often hope. One of his more obscure (I think) quote is… “I’m always ready to learn, although I do not like being taught.”
This quote not only teaches us much about the psychology of learning, it sheds light on the nature of human interactions. And human interaction is the element in which the world of selling revolves. So let’s change a few words in his quote to… “I’m always ready to buy, although I do not like being sold to.”
Reflect on that for a moment. You walk into a store, just to browse, and a sales person tries to sell you something. How’s that feel… ready to leave now? Or you walk into the store interested in buying, but the sales person tries to sell you something. How well do they know you and your needs/interests, and is what they’re pushing really what you want? You can tell me all about how wonderful a vehicle a Mercedes-Benz is, it’s various features, safety, ride, luxury, comfort, handling, performance, etc… but if I’m not ready to buy a car, you’re wasting your breath.
So what you ask, what’s that got to do with the changes you want to make in your business? Organizations trying to implement change, whether structural, systems, management, culture, etc, struggle with the implementation. They have apparently sound rationale, but it’s still resisted. Why? Employees aren’t buying your idea of change, not because it’s not a good idea, but because they aren’t interested in buying.
So stop selling. You’ll have considerably more success if the other party is ready to buy. And readiness to buy happens in stages. What stage is the other person(s) you’re trying to sell to in?
- Awareness 1: They have to be aware of and declare a need they have, or a pain point. Questions are your best friend here.
- Awareness 2: They learn about what you have to offer that will satisfy that need, or remove the pain.
- Curiosity: An exploration of what it is you have to offer. “That sounds interesting, so how does it work?”
- Interest: Deeper exploration of what you have and how it may be right for them. “I see, so how would that apply in my case?”
- Desire: Nearly there. “So can I get it in red, and how much does it costs?”
- Enthusiastic: Hallelujah. Almost guaranteed emotions in this stage.“Can I get it right away?”
Future blog posts will deal with how to recognize the stage the other party is in, approaches to help them move to the next stage, and obstacles preventing movement and how to deal with them. In the meantime, stop selling, and here’s your tip… have conversations, ask questions, be curious, be interested, want to be with them, and express how you feel. Check out how our sales training can help.