Are You Buying or Selling?
Estimated Lesson Time: 4 minutes (self-evaluated option) / less than a minute (instructor-evaluated option)
When I once again entered the web hosting industry, after the Internet bust, we assembled a sales team of about 30 people who would call on select businesses and introduce them to one of our new hosting products. This hosting product would be part of an irresistible deal that included a free 30-day trial. To determine the success of this program, we held weekly conference calls in which our salespeople would share the results of their sales calls. The results were fairly consistent across the board: no takers. The vast majority declined the offer based on the poor economy, uncertainty of their business, lack of resources to expand their business, and many other reasons having nothing to do with our product or price. As it turned out, this sales team was not selling anything; they were buying the excuses and hard luck stories of the prospects.
We were selling a product that could act as a substantial revenue generator for any business with an existing customer base of other businesses. Along with our free trial, it was a no-lose opportunity that could do nothing but improve the prospect’s current situation. However, salespeople who accept their own hard luck stories and make excuses for their own behaviors and actions, have a tendency to sympathize with prospects who do the same. Salespeople who believe that the excuses given are legitimate reasons conclude that the prospect is better off not buying and fail to see the benefit that the product or service being sold would bring.
Change your perspective. If you find yourself doing more buying than selling, a change of perspective may be all you need. Begin by working on yourself. Don’t make excuses and don’t sell yourself hard luck stories. Realize that only you are responsible for your own life, and while you cannot control everything that happens to you, you can control your attitude. The same holds true for every prospect that you will ever meet.
Be an optimist. An optimistic attitude, especially in sales, can be one of your greatest assets. Being an optimist is seeing the good rather than the bad—it is seeing the brighter side of life. Seeing situations from this perspective opens the mind to creative solutions to problems. Optimists can see solutions completely overlooked by pessimistic prospects. After all, it is the salesperson’s duty to demonstrate how the product or service can solve the prospect’s problems.
Use tact. Tact is basically the ability to communicate without offending others. Tact separates the pushy or aggressive salesperson who annoys or offends his prospects from the assertive salesperson, who persists despite rejection or objection, having the best intentions of the prospect in mind. If a prospect tells you, “I can’t buy because of this uncertain economy,” contradicting their statement will only put him or her on the defense. Use tact when you respond to objections and think in terms of the prospect’s point of view. An appropriate response may be, “I can certainly understand why you would hesitate in this economy. In fact, our customers appreciate our product most when the economy is slow because of the money it saves them.”
In every situation where one person is attempting to sell another person a product, service or idea, a sale is made. It is either the prospect that is sold the product, service or idea, or the salesperson who is sold on a reason for the prospect not to buy. Do not let your own personality flaws interfere with your success. Cultivate an optimistic outlook on life and take responsibility for your own situation. Then, you will be more effective in helping others solve their problems by seeing the benefits your product or service can bring.
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Some discussion questions (some may not apply to this lesson):
- Have you implemented this idea in your life? How has it been working for you?
- Do you have any interesting stories related to this lesson? Do tell!
- What do you admire most about this person? (success biography days)