Remember when you could eat almost anything, including broccoli, by plugging your nose? Do you use the same strategy when it comes to Sales? “If I can hold my breath long enough, my business will eventually grow!” NEWSFLASH! That doesn’t work! So, what’s the secret to making Sales more palatable?
The word Sales is defined by the Business Dictionary as “the activity or business of selling products or services.” Seems simple enough… But, I bet you had an emotional reaction to the word ‘Sales’ and the reaction was stronger than your reaction to the word ‘broccoli’. Well, guess what? According to David Skok, customers hate Sales, too. Turns out, mentioning your company or product during your relationship building efforts makes you sound like you are selling! So, stop doing that!!
“…It is better to build a relationship and trust in a way which sets you up as a person to trust for advice about their business.” ~ David Skok, For Entrepreneurs
What if Sales wasn’t about closing the deal at all, but about building a relationship and building trust?
- Building a relationship requires you to know what is important to your connection. What are their needs today? What will they be ‘tomorrow’? If you know the individual, company, and/or industry well, you can share important information THEY care about. It is especially impactful if you share information as relates to your product or service. For example, if you happen to be a Career Coach, sharing an article titled How to Prepare for a Job Promotion will be more meaningful (if your connection is gunning for a promotion) than sharing an article about the vacation spots you both discussed. Each interaction strengthens the relationship, as long as you don’t close with a sales pitch, like, “So, call when you’re ready to hire me.”
- Building trust is not about being trustworthy or honest. Building trust means you are seen as an expert. Your leads begin to say, “I trust you with my business; you are a great source of advice.” As you develop an understanding of their needs and the needs of their competitors, your advice becomes even more valuable. Eventually, you’ll find yourself giving advice on how to use your product or service. Then, and only then, are you allowed to close the deal. It’s so easy. It’s like you’re not even selling– which is the whole point! (For more tips on establishing yourself as an expert, read David Skok’s article titled: When Selling is the Worst Way to Win Customers.)
Nurturing genuine relationships while demonstrating your knowledge and helpfulness is a lot more palatable than Sales. No nose plugs required. Strengthening these efforts with people in your target market (and your target market’s sphere of influence) will earn you the privilege of a growing business.
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Bible says about Sales. —
|ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michelle Sugerman, an Executive Business Consultant with Leading Synergies, helps high-performing executives refine strategy, inspire teams, and delight clients (specializing in information technology, project management, consulting, and franchise management). She also leads Synergy Groups, weekly 55-minute virtual business mastermind calls for REALLY BUSY Christians in leadership. Michelle lives in Colorado where she hikes fourteeners and enjoys gourmet meals with her loving husband of 20 years.|