Selling is tough right now. The economy has seen better days. Heck, it’s seen better decades.
Not only do consumers have less expendable income than they used to, but they’re also much more discerning than they used to be.
The ease of obtaining vast amounts of accurate information has made the average consumer smarter – and more aware of alternatives to your offer.
Why Should I Care? I’m Not In Sales.
Yes you are. This whole “I’m not in sales” thing is a misconception.
Don’t think for a moment that there has to be a currency exchange in order for a sale to be made. That’s just one type of sale.
You’re selling when…
- You convince a family member or co-worker to do something you want them to do.
- You change someone else’s opinion about something.
- You negotiate a pay raise or a day off.
- You ask (and get) someone to take action.
Get the idea?
Selling is simply identifying someone else’s problem, need, or desire – and then finding a way to solve that problem, fill that need, or quench that desire. Most of the time, there are financial overtones – but start thinking of sales in broader terms.
Whatever you do, if you ask people questions about their situation, identify a need they have, and then help them fill that need – you sell. I don’t care what your business cards say. Trust me.
Something Has Changed
Aside from the abysmal economy, something has shifted in recent years that has begun to change the playing field in business. Consumers have figured out who is really in charge of the buyer-seller relationship.
The A-B-C’s Of Selling
We’ve already established that if you want to get people to do what you want them to do whether or not is involves an actual exchange of money – then you had better get good at selling.
We’ve also acknowledged that consumers are evolving and getting smarter. Unfortunately not all businesses are. (I could go on and on as to why you are a business – but that’s a post for another day)
There are basically three attitudes toward business and selling today.
A Is For Apathetic
Believe it or not, there are still businesses out there that don’t really focus on sales at all. These are the throwbacks who put up a sign, buy a yellow pages ad, and then wait for the phone to ring.
They either don’t know any better, or they have the attitude that sales is distasteful or beneath them somehow. If you run into any of these folks, take a picture because they’ll soon be extinct.
B Is For Bullying
While the apathetic people may be annoying, at least they’re not shady. The same can’t be said for the Bullies. Bullies are those fast talking, over-promising, pushy salesmen. These are the people who bombard you with their offers – be it in person, in your snail mail, or in your email inbox.
They pound their offer into your head with repetition and volume in an effort to wear you down. They’re in charge of the sales process from beginning to end and they only need your input when it’s time to pay. Consumers are hip to these bullies and in larger and larger numbers are resolving to no longer take any of their crap.
C Is For Connection
The Connectors are the people who will thrive. You could just as easily call them engagers – because they take the time to know and understand their customers. They know that the only way to achieve long term success with today’s consumers is to deliver stellar service and quality products with sincerity and integrity.
They connect in a very real way with and legitimately care about the welfare of their customers. Consumers respond to the Connectors. In my Free eBook, How To Alienate All The Right People, I refer to the kind of selling done by these Connectors as Integrity Selling.
Which One Are You?
If you’re apathetic and wait, half-ass it, or just ignore the problem – I have bad news for you. Your future is certain. You’re not going to make it.
If your intention is to be an old-school bully, things don’t look too rosy for you either. If your attitude is to do what you have to do and say what you have to say to separate people from their money – then you don’t get it. While money can be made by bullying, it often doesn’t stick – and it surely doesn’t inspire loyalty or repeat business.
My advice? Become a connector. Adopt an attitude of servitude, create useful solutions, and start to behave more like a consultant than a traditional salesperson.
Future posts will delve further into connection, engagement, and Integrity Selling. But for now, let’s all discuss today’s selling environment…
Your Turn To Engage!
Tell me your experience with the three types of sales attitudes mentioned in this post.
Which one most closely matches your strategy for engaging customers?
Share your thoughts and stories in the comments section.