When a survey asked the question “what comes to mind when you think about salesmen”, the most common answer was… “pushy”.
And I think it’s something we can all relate to. We’ve all seen the Carry On films and similar where someone (literally) sticks their foot in the door (and the laughter when the lady slams it on his poor toes).
But it’s a stereotype that’s come from somewhere and no one likes the thought of it being applied to them.
And that’s particularly true in Britain, I think. For that reason, most business owners are averse to selling and will go to extraordinary lengths and make all manner of excuses to avoid doing it.
The truth, though, is people actually enjoy being sold to if it’s done tastefully and with them and their needs as the focus. It’s the “hard sell” no one likes. And the really good news is not only is the hard sell uncomfortable and unpleasant (from both sides), but it’s also probably the worst way to go about selling anyway.
Why the “hard sell” damages your whole business
The biggest and most obvious reason is the “hard sell” plays havoc with your long term relationships and hence your long-term profits. Let’s face it: no one likes being browbeaten into buying something… and once they’ve got your product, then what?
It’s highly unlikely they’re going to want to have anything to do with you ever again, and if you’re offering any kind of guarantee, “buyer’s remorse” is going to make sure you have horrendous rates of return.
Perhaps even worse than the returns is the smouldering resentment and the vow never to buy from you again. When you consider your greater profits are always to be found in the lifetime value of the customer, you’ll begin to realise alienating them with pushy sales tactics is a bad idea.
But never mind the sales you’re missing out on further down the line, because then there’s a less subtle effect you’re going to notice it has on your business… because it destroys your positioning.
You see, if you’re bullying people into buying your products and services, then what does that say about your confidence in them and in yourself? If you’re trying too hard to sell… what does it say about the quality of what you’re offering.
Real quality goes a long way towards selling itself — I seriously doubt the Ferrari or Rolls Royce sales people have to work very hard to sell their products. In fact, they go in the opposite direction — there’s a waiting list for these cars (and it’s not that many years ago that you simply were not allowed to buy a Rolls unless you had a chauffeur to drive you!).
Pushy sales tactics scream a very loud message about you, and it’s not one likely to draw anyone towards you (and the ones it does draw in are likely not the kind of people you’re going to enjoy doing business with anyway).
Changing the way you do business
At the root of the problem is the desperate need to make the sale. Pushy sales people are generally unaware of lifetime customer value and are also coming at the sale from a “scarcity mindset”. They are emotionally bound up with the need to sell and be accepted.
But the truth is there is always another sale to be had, and any rejection you encounter isn’t of you, personally, but is rather of the product or service, or even the circumstances at the time. And just as with buses, when it comes to customers and clients, there will be another one coming along in a minute.
So I’m going to recommend you make a point of disassociating yourself emotionally from every sale you try to make. In fact, I’ll go even further and say you’ll be a lot happier and a lot more effective at selling if you not only let go of the emotional need to make the sale but actually realise in most cases that is indeed the most likely outcome.
Two things will happen when you start doing this.
First, you’ll be more relaxed about your work and business and will be more easily able to focus on educating your prospects rather than selling to them. You’ll listen more and talk less, and become more focused on their problems than you will be on your solutions.
You’ll also feel more comfortable putting many of the positioning and premium price strategies I share with you to work in your business because you’ll be less afraid of losing sales. You won’t be afraid to turn people away. Remember 80% of your profits come from just 20% of your customers and clients, and the message is clear:
not all customers and clients are equal, and by letting go of the need to treat each one as if he or she was the last one you were ever going to get, you’re going to make it much easier to pick and choose whom you do business with.
The second thing you’ll find is you immediately become a much more attractive proposition for buyers because you’ll necessarily be more focused on your prospects, customers, and clients need to have their problems solved rather than your need to sell something. The big mistake I see business owners making all the time is trying to sell their solutions before they’ve even properly discovered what the problem is. It’s like when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. I know it’s counter intuitive and probably even scary, but by standing back a little, by making yourself a little less needy and less available, and trying less hard to sell yourself and your products, you’re actually going to increase your desirability in the marketplace. This is fundamental human nature and we see it at work all the time every day of our lives in the age-old dating game between men and women.
This then means you’ll earn the liking, trust, and respect of the people in your market, so when they do decide to buy, they’ll be less price resistant and they’ll tend to spend more and keep coming back, because you’ll have their loyalty, too.
CHRIS KEY TAKEAWAYS
The art of sales is at the core a simple one: it’s really about listening to what people want and then giving it to them. It’s no more complicated than that.
Please share here your thoughts on this article about Chris Cardell, share it on social media and express your views. To learn more about Chris Cardell visit his website chriscardell.com or Chris Cardell’s Media Company, Cardell Media Ltd. There is also an interesting video interview with Chris Cardell. His next life changing event is The Sovereignty Summit with Chris and Dan Kennedy on 29th – 30th of September 2015.