Brace yourself – here comes the pitch!
We’ve all been sold to before. Nobody likes it, and nobody wants to do it. Face it though, selling is the most fundamental part of business and nothing happens until someone has bought the thing you have. If your product is not in the hands of customers, it doesn’t exist. It’s simply just an idea.
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No one wants to be “salesy”
When I work with sales teams and entrepreneurs, we often discuss how they’re being perceived in their process of selling. If you have ever been to a networking event, you know what I’m talking about. Amateurs trying to pitch their business and making others feel uncomfortable. When you get that uncomfortable feeling, you probably think to yourself, “I don’t want to come across like that.” Does that sound about right?
You’re not alone.
At the same time, however, selling MUST be done for your business to succeed.
So study how to sell more effectively without being salesy. Simple, right?
Your psychological association with money
Often, a major setback when dealing with customers is how we feel and think about money. How many times have you been in a situation where you felt like you needed this sale to make your business grow, and you knew that the customer could sense it? Have you ever wondered why that happens?
Well, research in psychology proves that we do some very interesting things when we think about money. In his book Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman talks about the concept of priming. Priming is essentially a stimulus that prepares us for a response to another stimulus – or the thing that happens before the thing (in Joe-speak). Priming is a very powerful tool in helping shape behavior in ourselves and others.
Let’s talk about MONEY.
“Money priming” is a really interesting concept. Kahneman references studies where they exposed subjects to subtle hints of money such as conversations about money, a screensaver that had cash on it, and a number of other things that had to do with money. Then they performed activities and analyzed people’s behavior. What they found was eye-opening.
In a study, they put a group of people in a room, and while they were filling out a survey, somebody would drop pencils. The people that were primed with money, picked up about half the amount of pencils as the people that weren’t primed with money.
They also asked people to set up two chairs to have a conversation with another person. The people that were primed with money would set up the chairs on average 118 centimeters apart, and the ones that weren’t primed with money would set them up at about 80 centimeters apart.
What this tells us is that when we are thinking about money, subconsciously we are more selfish and we distance ourselves from others. Whether we know it or not, you are creating barriers to having that sale, and that’s what I mean when I say you can smell somebody selling something to you.
How can you sell without being salesy?
The number one tip that I give my clients, is to figure out before you go into a meeting with your customers what you are actually offering them, rather than what you want from them. What value are you going to give them, in exchange for what you want them to give you? When I talk about selling in stages and getting customers to make micro-commitments, it is all about this great value-exchange at each stage.
Sometimes you just want their attention, sometimes it’s their contact info, and sometimes you ask for their time. People value these things just as much as they value money, so what will you give them in return? And yes, ultimately, you want their money.
But the way selling works, is that in order for me to give you MY money, I need to feel that what you’re giving me in return has value to me. So your intention should be about, “how can I give value to this person?”
Now this may sound like common sense and everybody will nod in agreement, but you have to actually take action on this. Knowing and doing are two different things. More importantly, are you actually testing, evaluating, and improving your processes? Will you go and try this to see how it works? Will you get a bit uncomfortable or keep doing more of the same?
Before you go into any conversation involving selling, you need to adopt the mindset of “I don’t need the business.” What you should be thinking is, “How can I help this person without expecting anything in return?” Then think about how to then build a process that will increase the amount of yeses, and decrease the frequency of nos.
Go apply this today to your own process. As long as you are a good person selling a decent product, this will work. Remember that the majority of failures are a result of the system and not a reflection of the person. You may mean well, but are doing or saying stupid things. It happens to me all the time! The only difference is how you learn from the things you do. When you do dumb things, do you even notice? And do you stop?
If you apply this lesson, I guarantee your conversions will increase, your referrals will be more frequent, and your sales conversations will be more authentic.