I don’t know everything you’re responsible for doing during the day, but one thing I know with absolute certainty is that…
YOU’RE ALWAYS SELLING SOMETHING.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics states that only 1 out of 10 people have the official title of salesperson. Their top priority is to sell products and/or services in exchange for money.
The rest of us are non-sales professionals selling our point of view in conference rooms, class rooms and living rooms. We may not think of ourselves as salespeople but if we define selling as attempting to influence and persuade someone to “buy in” to our ideas to solve a problem or take advantage of an opportunity, we’re all selling something.
Experts on this subject estimate the average person, not in an official sales role, invests about 40% of their day in sales.
What about you? What percent of your time do you think you spend “selling” the people you work with, live with and interact with outside your home or office? How many of your face-to face conversations, phone calls or emails are encouraging others to support your way of thinking? It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to convince a co-worker to change their mind or child to keep their room clean, it’s still selling.
If you agree that a significant part of your day is spent in “sales”, then it would be beneficial to get better at doing it.
Here are 3 positive actions that will help you improve your “sales” skills. I encourage you to try them for 7 days.
Treat everyone like your company’s best client. Everyone in your organization knows the people you choose to serve have choices and their business needs to be earned day after day. Just because a client had a positive experience with your company in the past doesn’t mean you’ll be their resource of first choice forever. As a wise man once said…”Yesterday’s home run won’t win today’s game.” Imagine the positive impact you could have on the people in your world if you treated everyone every day with the same level of respect, kindness and caring that you want your team to give your number one client. Remember your co-workers, family members and friends have choices too. If you want to be successful selling them something, you’ll need to treat each person like one of the most important people in your world.
Apply the New ABCs of Selling. In the past, those letters stood for ALWAYS BE CLOSING. Today, the highest performing sales professionals define those letters like this…ALWAYS BE CONNECTING. The best salespeople spend more time connecting with their clients than trying to close them. Connecting is all about creating harmony, building rapport and finding common ground. It’s building a positive relationship before producing results. The successful salespeople know…people who are like each other tend to like each other. By investing time to learn more about someone’s values and goals, hopes and dreams, challenges and concerns, you will be in a much better position to make a sincere connection and establish trust with that person. It’s nearly impossible, no matter how good your ideas are, to help another person make an intelligent decision on how to get from where they are to where they want or need to be unless you create a meaningful and sincere connection with that person. The art and science of connecting has to be practiced every day. It’s not something you do once and check it off your ‘to do’ list. The people in your world are constantly changing. The more you know about the current highs and lows of their life, the more influence you can have on the choices they make.
Listen to learn the other person’s point of view. People don’t want a lecture about what they should or shouldn’t do. They want someone who will listen to their story without being judged or distracted by cell phones, emails and other priorities. Your advice is important, but you don’t want to lead with a solution to a problem they may not know they have or one they don’t have a sense of urgency to solve. Listening to someone is a gift. It demonstrates you care about them as a person…not a means to accomplish something you want done. The only way to improve your listening is to practice it. The next time you want to sell someone on something or offer unsolicited advice to your colleagues or children, take a deep breath and inquire about their point of view before advocating for yours. I think you’ll find the quality of the solution you were going to present will be greatly enhanced if you learn to listen a little longer.
If you practice these ideas for a week, you will be amazed at how much more enjoyable and productive your conversation will be. I also think you’ll close more sales.
Let’s Get Better. Together! Bill Durkin