Selling is both a science and an art form. I recently heard this while listening to a podcast on how to effectively sell. I am not proud to admit that sales are not my strong point.
My brain is wired more towards logic and, therefore, I mistakenly assume that if it makes sense to me, then it should make sense to everyone else listening. Not so. I recently got a crash course from a friend who is a great communications expert, which is fundamental to the selling process.
But there’s also a reason why sales experts advise to avoid the word sales or selling – being sold to comes with negative connotations involving buyer’s remorse and being fleeced to hand over our hard earned money for a product that did not fulfill its purpose.
Even more importantly is the understanding that we are always selling whether it’s directly by getting compensation for goods and services, vying for a promotion or a payrise. There is always an exchange of something for monetary or in kind value.
How then do you effectively sell when you have no prior sales experience?
Listen to the customer’
Clients, bosses, etc — they are all your customers. And they have needs or pain points that they want resolved. Keep your ears open and ask questions to identify the bottom line value being sought, especially where they say they want one thing but are looking for a different result.
Then frame your pitch according to this – is your boss looking to reduce inefficiency in the department, or to shift certain responsibilities that s/he feels does not add value to their role, or is your client looking to maximize shareholder wealth?
The same applies to fundraising and strategic partnerships – it’s less about what you want and more about what the person sitting across from the table wants.
Trial and error
Sometimes, especially when exploring an industry where there are few scripts, the best way is to test different approaches and identify which ones are most effective.
Different methods will have varied results among different targets or demographics, therefore one message will not appeal to everyone. It is important to keep in mind that most people ‘buy’ from an emotional and not a logical place, and this will enable you structure your messaging.
Listen to the pain points the person you’re sitting across it trying to solve, even those not explicitly expressed.
– Remember overcoming objections to selling requires appealing to the emotional rather than the logical part of people’s brain.