I hate sales. It was spring of 2006. Like many about to be college graduates there were choices to make. On a recommendation and referral from a personal friend I decided to take a sales job. I hated sales. The role was to help small business owners develop and grow their businesses through software and marketing tools. I would travel the globe (which was awesome!) and get to know a wide variety of people and businesses. I learned to ask questions. I learned to focus on the pain and then find a remedy for that pain. I worked hard to learn how to sell – and now I try and continue to keep learning how to sell everyday.
My official stance is I still hate sales. Yet, I fell in love with the process… After a few months on the job I realized sales is all about helping other people. I love getting to know other people. I love solving problems. I love helping others.When you sell, if it is only for your benefit you still can do very well, yet many of us are not built that way. We need to feel like we are adding value, like we are productive.
There are countless ways that you can serve and help others. There are numerous products and services you can promote and sell. As long as you feel good about yourself and the end results are wins for all involved everything you do in sales can then be for the sole purpose of helping other people. Once I realized this, my ability and desire to help more people skyrocketed. The sales flew in – my eyes were opened
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“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar
The CEO and Founder of Hearsay Social Clara Shih said:
“Whether in financial services or any industry, customers appreciate businesses(sales reps) who understand their needs and provide personalized service.”
Since that first job I have grown to love the selling process: the act of discovering needs, providing solutions, and then prompting positive action.
“When you work hard, serve and help people, and try to change their lives – Amazing things will happen.” – Russell Brunson
All business requires sales (internal ideas, external products, etc…). When consulting or selling (they should be the same thing right…?) make sure to askopen-ended questions that:
- Require deeper thinking to be answered.
- Build trust through expertise.
- Cannot be answered with just a yes or no.
- Do not manipulate, control or pressure.
- Enable more conversation.
- Begin with the words “what”, “how”, “when,” “why” or “where.”
- Encourage the other person to express feelings.
Most of these ideas are common sense, yet in business situations we often forget about the person and think solely on the product, on the deal, or on the sale. Caring for others opens doors that were previously closed. Finding ways to help allows us to become an asset rather than an annoyance.
When you are trying to help others not everyone is going to accept what you have to offer. But, when your desire to help other people is LARGER than the fear and pain of rejection that is when your sales career can truly take off:
“One of the best predictors of ultimate success in either sales or non-sales selling isn’t natural talent or even industry expertise, but how you explain your failures and rejections.” – Daniel H. Pink
It really comes down to your mindset and the meaning you create:
“Human beings have the awesome ability to take any experience of their lives and create a meaning that disempowers them or one that can literally save their lives.” – Tony Robbins
Sales is helping other people. Find out their story and help them create the journey they want. Once you know the story of your customer, then you can share your own story. Don’t just throw up information. Tell a story. Professor and Bestselling Author Jonah Berger teaches:
“…when carefully designed, stories also serve a larger purpose. They illustrate the main point of an argument in a way information alone can’t.”
Helping others through questions and stories are the ingredients that allow you to sell well. The process is:
- Discover the Needs (ask questions)
- Provide Solutions (stories)
- Encourage Positive Action (close and follow-up with support)
by Mareo McCracken