What do you think of when you think of sales? Most likely you think about a used car salesman who isn’t completely honest. You might think of the annoying person that shows up at your door trying to sell you something you don’t need. If you’re a good salesperson it isn’t about that. Sales is about helping the customer find something they need and will help them. It’s not about making as much money as possible.
What I Thought Sales was About
I was where you are. I thought sales was just trying to get as many people to buy your product as possible. After all, isn’t it about getting your business to make lots of money? While money is obviously important for sales, what really makes a good sale? The fact that you manipulated someone into buying a product they don’t really need? Or selling to someone that was actually interested in your product?
I’m going to guess that the second option sounds more appealing to you. If you sell to the people that want/need your product they are more likely to be a consistent customer. Why? They will remember you and the great experience you gave them. Customer success even plays a role in this. You are helping the customer by making it about them instead of about you.
Think of sales as a way to help people. You’re selling something that will help your customer achieve a specific goal or make a task easier. We all want to make hard tasks easier. If you think about it that way it’s much easier to wrap your head around.
How I Can Apply it to My Job
For the longest time, I was wary of sales. I thought I was bad at it so I tried to avoid it. After learning what sales was really about, it changed my view. I can apply it to my job at Barnes and Noble. Sales is a huge part of our business. We try to hand-sell books to customers so we can get sales up.
Over the summer we had a competition. We had two teams and all of us needed to hand-sell the monthly book picks that month. Every 5 we sold gave our team a point. I didn’t really like to do it because there was a lot of pressure and it made me nervous. I felt like I was forcing a book on a person and that made me feel bad.
Now that I know what sales is really about I can change the way I sell a book. Instead of feeling nervous and worried that I’m manipulating someone into buying a book, I can tell them why a book is good and why they would love it. It becomes more about helping them find their next great read than just getting them to buy more books.
How does manipulation make you feel? If someone manipulates you it makes you feel small or insecure. You are less likely to trust that person again because they were using you for their own gain. No one wants to feel like that. Don’t use that to sell someone something! Sales is supposed to be about the customer not about the seller.
I hope this changed your view of sales. You may not like sales but without it, your business won’t make money. When you think of a salesperson don’t think of someone trying to manipulate you. Think about someone who wants to help you find something that will benefit you and maybe change or improve your life.