Salespeople: Don’t Sell! Educate Instead.
The average perception of a salesperson
At some point in time, most people have this preconceived image of what a salesperson is. This image tends to be one of two things:
1.A sleazy used car salesman, the kind of manipulating money-grubbing monsters who want to squeeze all of the cash they can from their customer, with little regard to the product’s quality. This quality shown has damaged a salesperson’s relationship with the customer by making them feel like you only want to take here money and not help them find a good product.
2.The annoying telemarketer that calls you at the most inconvenient moments to sell you something you don't want or need. his quality has damaged the relationship with the customer by pestering the customer by calling them at the most inopportune times and bugs them by trying to sell them something they might not need.
Whether or not it’s buying a lemon of a car from a shady car salesman, or being incredibly annoyed with a telemarketer for bothering you at random parts of the day and try to sell you something you would never want or need. I’m sure we’ve all experienced or known someone that has had a negative reputation with these two
These Images, over time, have cast a negative light on most salespeople. Which shouldn’t be the case. A salesperson needs to have the trust of their customer. And these two have done some serious damage to the reputation of the sales community.
What is a good sale?
Now before we begin, we should take a slight detour and ask ourselves. What is a sale?
A sale is the mutual exchange of goods. The seller exchanges their product for the buyer’s capital (money). It’s both party’s goal to find a way to get what the other person has.
A good sale is a mutual exchange of needed goods where both parties feel like they got what they wanted out of the exchange. A win-win.
This is where the problematic preconceived image was conceived.
The sleazy car salesman spends his time taking advantage of customers by overcharging them for a product of questionable quality. and the telemarketer spends their day trying to cram products that you don’t want or need.
And in doing this, These two have ruined the reputation of the modern salesperson. Between conning customers into buying half-broken down cars and the constant pestering over the phone, these two have made it pretty hard for a positive sales exchange.
Mostly because the general population has forgotten what a good salesperson is. So let me tell you.
What makes a good salesperson?
Now, unlike their less savory counterpart, a good salesperson connects to their customers, rather than conning them. A good salesperson tries to help their customer improve their life through selling them valuable products and services.
The aspect these salespeople use are all share is a combination of knowledge and insight.
The marks of a good salesperson are:
Extensive knowledge of the company’s customer base
The ability to empathize and connect with their customer
Great communication skills
Extensive knowledge of the company’s product
The perseverance to see any prospect to its conclusion
The marks of a bad salesperson :
A lack of knowledge of your consumer base
The lack of insight needed to know how to help your customer
A total disregard for what the customer actually needs
Motivation to make a quick buck without improving the customer’s life
Okay, now that we have established what a good sale is, and what a good salesperson is, we can finally move on to how you should completely change the way you think about sales.
As counterintuitive as this sounds, to succeed in sales, you must forget the concept of selling your product to your customer.
Entering a business with only a selling mentality could build some unintentional bad habits in even the most seasoned salespeople.
Imagine this: You are a salesperson, and you walk into an establishment trying to move your product. Once you meet up with your prospective customer, you get to talking. You spend the entire time only thinking about selling your product. Suddenly, you see your customer simply as a paycheck and forget to connect with the person standing in front of you.
Now I believe that's an ineffective way to interact with your customer. Don’t do that. Instead, be an educator.
A good educator is not only an expert in their field but also an expert in connecting with the people they’re trying to teach. This is the mentality you should adopt when trying to connect with your customer.
With this ideology, you never run the risk of forgetting to connect with your customer.
You momentarily throw the monetary aspect of the job out completely. And only focus on educating the customer as to why your product will help improve life for your customer. By using this mentality you never run the risk of seeing your customer as nothing more than a paycheck.
This is a sales technique that my father used to tell me about and is something I’ve taken to heart. Instead of actively trying to persuade his customers to buy his company’s product, he would start his conversation by trying to empathize and understand the customer’s problem, then use that information to help them find the solution that would help them out the most.
His whole philosophy was to let the product do the selling. And his one goal was to point them in the direction that would best help them with their problem.
Doing this quickly developed a good reputation with his customers
And once he left his sales role to move towards more managerial roles, this is something he would always tell his sales staff. And this mentality not only improved customer relations but this would also increase the company’s sales numbers.
So by spending your time trying to help your customer improve their business, they are less likely to think you’re just there to take their money and be more open to listening to what you have to say.
So through our collective experience with poor salespeople, and the techniques that were given to me I believe salespeople should stop having a “let’s sell my product mentality” and should have a “how could I best help my customer with their business mentality”.