Old school business consultants and sales coaches love to tell you to 'always be selling' -don't do it!
Taken in the most literal sense, which is understandably how most people interpret this advice, you focus on the sale and ignore all the value in your conversations with customers, and worse still, you alienate customers, putting them off buying from you.
Don’t believe me?
Take a minute to think, have you ever enjoyed being ‘sold at’?
How did it make you feel?
What was the person doing?
More than likely they were trying to sell you their product, and not listening, to what you were saying... leaving you feeling frustrated and hoping to escape.
If this is how being sold to made you feel why would your customers feel any different?
So what do you do instead?
I’m sure you have also had good sales experiences?
A time when the sales person was really helpful and you didn't feel 'sold at' at all... What was the difference?
More than likely they listened to what you needed and sold to it, asked lots of questions, found at what you truly needed and then aproned what best fits those needs.
Pressuring people into a sale isn't the way to create long-term relationships with customers.
Imagine if you started a romantic relationship like that?
So why is listening so important?
There's a number of reasons for this:
- 1Only when you understand your customer and their situation can you effectively sell to them
- 2If you don't know their needs it becomes very difficult to sell to them: your customer is likely to feel misunderstood and like you don't 'get them’. Often important to your customer to feel heard and understood, they are often dealing with a 'Challenge', although you might have heard this 100 times it is unique them-they want to feel that you understand their situation.
- 3The more you understand your customer base the better you can sell to them: you want to become a specialist in your niche, fully understanding them, their needs and challenges not just so you can understand where your offering fits for them but also so you can see other potential opportunities for products or services.
Every interaction is an opportunity to learn more: some companies pay thousands to get ‘market research’ on their ideal customer so you can better understand them, their needs and how to sell to them.
Everytime you are in front of a customer regardless how into your product they are, if they are happy to use a competitor, or better still, totally not interested in what you have to offer this is your opportunity to do market research...for free!
You can't be listening for those nuggets of information if you are too busy pushing your own agenda and selling at them…so do your future self (and sales) a favour: listen.