I don’t know about you, but whenever I hear about selling there is still a little part of me that thinks of that common image of the smarmy, slicked back hair and suited man, making you feel a little guilty about things and forcing you into buying their product. Now this is an image that I have mostly managed to get rid of in my life. This is because your attitude towards selling is completely informed from your opinion of it, therefore to become better at it I had to amend my ideas about what selling was and how it was done. One of the things that really helped shift my perspective was hearing the phrase “helping people to buy” which showed me see selling from a completely different perspective. So what is the difference between selling to someone or helping them to buy? And what, if anything, are the benefits of either?
Now both these perspectives are regarding sales themselves, and there is a difference in your approach depending on which of these ideas you adopt. Selling is thought to be a bit more traditional, it is about outlining the benefits and trying to show the potential customer why they should buy it. It is about you leading the conversation with the customer to really show them what your product can do. The focus is very much on you and your product rather than the customer and their needs. You want to sell as many as you can and you will try to convince people that they need them. Although this method can provide some immediate results, it can often leave the customer feeling unengaged and not listened to. In the short term it may work, however, it really damages your relationship in the long term.
Helping People to Buy
Now this second approach, and the one that shifted my personal perspective, is much more focused on the customer and their needs. The key skills you must have as a sales person when using this approach are listening and questioning. These abilities help you engage and understand the customer, so the traditional talkative trait of the sales person is not so high up on skills needed. What is important in this approach is understanding the needs of the customer through listening. It is then your role to help them see how your solution will help fit their needs or not. Given you have set up a company to provide a solution you will find that the customer already knows their challenge. This means that more often than not, your solution is already needed and you don’t need to oversell your product because they will already be looking for it.
The biggest fear in selling is losing the sale, which sometimes you have to accept that as a possibility. By understanding their needs and helping them see this, whether that is your solution or something else, you will create excellent, lasting and trusting relationships, which will grow and grow over time. This method has massive short term and long term benefits. As long as your marketing is well targeted, you will more often than not be in front of someone who needs your solution. However, in the event you are not, you will help them find a solution rather than forcing them into something they don’t need. This method will help build your reputation and generate trust from others towards yourself and your brand. It will make the most of those who need your solution and those who may not, and will provide many more opportunities in the future.
This blog is a simple explanation on two perspectives on how to go about generating those sales in your business, something which helped change my attitude. It is your attitude that will inform your approach to sales and hope this may have changed your perspective a little.
If you want to know more about how to help people buy, come and take part in our free sales workshop on the 17th of September or 15th October. It’s full of everything you need to know to master the art of helping people to buy.