July 24, 2004


Everyone is a Salesman...
 
At least that's what we're told in this commerce-based society. It's one way to look at what we do.

Children sell parents on giving them a piece of chocolate -- or the car.

Parents sell children on cleaning their rooms and doing their homework.

Employers sell employees on doing a full day's work.
Employees sell their employers on how valuable their work is to the company.
Salesmen sell.

 While sales is an inevitable fact of life, all sales is not created equal. Some sales experiences set our teeth on edge and send us running for cover. Other sales experiences are so smooth and natural that we hardly know it's going on.

 

What's the difference?
 
Soft Selling If you're having difficulty with sales, consider the following qualities I've observed in the sales people who have earned my business and my loyalty:
 
Service -- The best salesmen in the world are service-minded. They strive to make life -- and buying -- easier for their customers. They go the extra mile to deliver on a buyer's expectations.
 
Open & Personal -- It's all in the approach. A salesperson who is approachable and helps others feel be comfortable and appreciated is much more likely to win trust and confidence...and business.
 
Friendly -- Successful salespeople don't phony up and pretend that they're your life long buddy. But, they do strive to (honestly and sincerely) understand others and help them make decisions that are in their best interests .
 
Teacher -- It takes time and patience to help others understand and appreciate you, your product and your service.


Successful -- Salespeople don't presume that a buyer has the same knowledge and
insights that they do. They don't expect a buyer to take a blind leap of faith based on incomplete information. Sales requires patiently working with people, willingly answering all questions/objections and exploring all viable options.
 
Solution-Focused -- People have problems, wants and needs. People buy solutions to those problems, wants and needs. The best salespeople know this...and offer the best possible solutions.
 
Empathetic -- Watch the salespeople you admire most. These are the people who step into their buyers' shoes, feel their pain, experience their concerns and mis-givings. They're the salespeople who take great pains to understand where the buyer is coming from before,
and during, the selling process.
 
Listener -- Buyers will tell you how to sell to them, if you listen. We each have two ears and one mouth...great salespeople use them in the same proportion. They ask lots of questions to be certain they fully understand the buyer. They recognize that words can be
misleading so they frequently repeat back what they hear in a slightly different way to help buyers clarify their expectations. They encourage buyers to correct them when they're not exactly on target.
 
Leader -- Salespeople who practice the soft sell approach are master leaders. They influence by example and walk hand-in-hand with their buyers...not pushing them to an immediate decision...not pulling them along...but inspiring them to move forward toward a decision that is in their best interest.
 
Investigative -- Professional salespeople are master researchers and learners. They constantly study the market and find out everything they can about their buyers. They check out the competition. They verify the strengths and weaknesses of their product or service. They verify that there is indeed an appropriate match between the buyer and
the solution both before and during the sale.
 
Non-Judgmental -- The best salespeople never second-guess buyers or their ability and willingness to buy. They never make snap decisions or assumptions about people. They don't believe that "Buyers are liars" or "Buyers don't know what they want". And, they recognize that the buyer may very well have legitimate reasons for their decisions.
 
Giving -- No, outstanding salespeople don't need to give away the store, or drop their prices, or work for nothing. They simply give the same respect to their buyers that they expect. And they deliver what they promise -- and more.
 
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Revised 04/04/2005