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The Misconception People Have About Sales

THE MISCONCEPTION PEOPLE HAVE ABOUT SALES

If you think “sales” is a bad word, then you’re thinking about it wrong.

You may think of it poorly because you’ve had a bad experience or maybe even because you’ve had bad information.

“Sales” sometimes gets a bad reputation because even sales-people often misunderstand their role and the value they provide.

Too many salespeople think of selling as “talking people into things.”

But sales is not about talking people into things at all.

Sales should be thought more of as serving people.

In fact, at Southwestern Consulting, we often use the term Servant Selling to help reinforce the core of what true professional salesmanship is all about.

Servant Selling is about helping people make decisions about what is best for them.

Servant Selling is about helping people make their lives better.

Servant Selling isn’t something you do “to” people; it’s something you do “for” people.

People need help understanding options.

People need help coming up with solutions.

People need help finding answers.

People need help overcoming fear.

People need help pushing past procrastination.

People need help making decisions.

And those are all things that a highly trained, well coached, professional salesperson will help them with!

Professional sales people help people make better decisions.

And that is an extremely valuable service.

When someone has a negative connotation around “Sales” it’s because they typically understand it as adversarial.

As in, it’s the salesperson vs the prospect. And it’s a battle and a fight to the finish about who is going to win…

Will the prospect be able to hold out or will the salesperson have the magic words to convince someone and pressure them to buy something they don’t really want?!

Yuck.

That’s not selling.

Servant Selling isn’t adversarial at all.

Servant Selling is never about the salesperson winning and the prospect losing; its always about the prospect winning.

Because Servant Selling isn’t about the salesperson vs the prospect; it’s about the prospect vs some challenge, opportunity, or problem the prospect is trying to overcome in their life.

In that way, Servant Selling is the salesperson and the prospect together, on the same team, working side by side to try and find a solution to make the prospect’s life better.

The salesperson is serving the prospect.

The salesperson is supporting the prospect.

The salesperson is helping the prospect.

And sales doesn’t happen through one way communication; it happens through a conversation.

It happens through a dialogue.

It happens through the salesperson asking questions, listening, and understanding the prospect’s situation first.

And then offering solutions to help them make their life better.

So if you want a more accurate way to think of professional salesmanship…

Think of it as a conversation about someone’s needs, where we ask them questions and understand their situation.

Then, we enthusiastically show them options that will hopefully solve those problems, and then we gracefully lead them through a decision process that helps them make a choice that’s best for them.

Sometimes they buy and that’s great! Sometimes they don’t, and that’s okay too.

The role of an expert sales professional is to just help them make a decision about what’s best for them.

Think of it as a partnership.

Think of it as helping.

Think of it as serving.

What You Need to Know Before You Write a Book

What You Need to Know Before You Write a Book

Many people want to write a book.

I think it’s great.

Books are a fabulous way to document your philosophies, share your beliefs and experience, build credibility around your expertise, and drive leads for your business.

But there is one important realization that virtually all first-time authors completely overlook.

Before you write a book, you need to build an audience.

Before you create the book, you need to create the audience that is going to buy it from you.

Before you think about what your book is going to say, you should first think about how you’re going to sell it.

Every author loves to write but very few know how to sell.

And this creates a conflict because…

Writers write.

Editors edit.

Publishers publish.

Distributors distribute.

Retailers retail.

But no one actually ever SELLS the book!

And what good is all of the work of creating a book if it never gets sold and never gets into the hands of those it was intended for?

Which is a good reminder of why Robert Kyosaki said “Remember, it’s not called New York Times best writing author; it’s New York Times best SELLING author.”

And in order to sell it, you have to have someone to sell it to.

You have to build the audience for it.

You have to build a sales plan for it.

You have to do the work that most people aren’t willing to do.

You have to “Take the Stairs.”

So, before you start daydreaming of all the pearls of wisdom you’d include in your life’s work, spend some time thinking about how you would sell it.

Pretend for a moment that the book is done and you’re holding the first copy in your hands. Then what would you do?

Who would you tell about it?

How would you tell them?

What would you do to compel them to buy it from you?

If you don’t know how to sell, or are afraid to, then you might consider getting a sales coach.

If you have a book and you don’t know how to market it then you might like this free 1 hr training on doing book launches.

But if you’re an aspiring author, build an audience first.

Develop fans and followers first.

Construct a platform first.

Create a sales plan first.

And then once you have it, write the best book ever that captures everything you believe in and go out and sell it like crazy!

Why most stories will never help you sell but how yours can!

stories

The story is in the struggle.

If there is no struggle there is no story.

You can’t have a hero if you don’t first have a villain.

You can’t have an exciting climax if you don’t first have a dramatic conflict.

You can’t have a win if you don’t first have a chance of a loss.

The story is in the struggle.

That is the secret to storytelling.

If you want to tell better stories then you have to become better at describing the struggle.

Why do stories matter?

Because stories are one of the most powerful, communication tools we have.

Stories are persuasive because they are what people relate to.

Stories are one of the best strategies you can use to influence people to change their behavior, buy, donate, or take action.

The human mind loves stories.

Part of the reason why is because the human mind loves to complete things

It loves to finish things.

And it doesn’t like unfinished things.

Which is why stories are so powerful.

The start of a story begins something and then our brain stays engaged until it is finished.

The opening of a story draws us in and our mind doesn’t let us release until the story is closed.

Think about it, haven’t you ever finished watching a movie or reading a book that you really didn’t like?

Why did you do that?

It’s just because you couldn’t handle not knowing how it ended!

Expert leaders, salespeople, marketers, speakers and of course authors know this and that is why they use stories to communicate their points rather than just delivering information by itself.

And the single most important ingredient to any story is the struggle.

The story is in the struggle.

It is the conflict.

It is the drama.

It is the uncertainty and unknowing of what is going to happen.

We’re not interested in a movie where a man meets a girl and they immediately fall in love and they get married and live happily ever after.

That’s nice but it’s boring. It doesn’t engage us. It doesn’t get us emotionally bought in. And so it doesn’t capture our attention.

But you could make the same exact movie a thousand times just using different characters that follows this plot:

Girl wants love but is unsure she is worthy of it and will ever find it.

Man loves to party and is unsure if he’ll ever trade in his independence to settle down and become a family man.

Upon an unexpected meeting, they both feel a spark.

But neither is sure if it’s real or if the other person would go for them.

Still unsure about the relationship possibility and their own selves, they flirt and it starts to come together.

They start to casually date and all is wonderful as they begin to fall in love.

But then something terrible happens and they separate. It all falls apart.

Just when there seems to be no hope, one of them has an epiphany and comes back to the other desperate for forgiveness.

For a moment though we’re not sure if their partner will ever take them back.

But then they do and THEN they live happily ever after!

Sound familiar? It should.

It’s the formula for just about every romantic comedy ever made. (I love all of them!)

But it works because it’s littered with conflict!

It’s loaded with self-doubt, uncertainty, challenges, and odds.

The story is all about the struggle.

We think it’s the climax that we care about but it’s really the struggle that’s more important.

How do stories apply to business? 

Smart marketers know that you can’t just talk about the results you provide – that is just skipping ahead in uninteresting fashion immediately to the conclusion.

Rather, you have to write about and describe the problems you help solve.

Smart salespeople know that when you’re third party selling, don’t just tell a story about the results your client experienced.

Make it interesting, more engaging, and more influential by first telling us about the challenges they were experiencing and the obstacles they had to overcome.

Tell me a story specifically about what they were struggling with BEFORE they met you and if I can relate to having a similar problem in my own life then I will be more likely to buy from you as well.

You have to sell the problem as much as you sell the solution!

If you’re a leader don’t just tell us about a new strategy the company has. Give us the context for why you made the decision based on a real-life story of what happened that triggered the realization that we needed to change.

If you’re a fundraiser don’t just tell us about all the thousands of people you’ve helped as a collective body. That’s wonderful but we sometimes have a hard time connecting with a mass body of faceless people.

Instead, tell us the story of one person and what they were struggling with and what their life was like BEFORE they found you. THEN tell us about what your cause or charity did for them and how it changed their life.

Do that and I’ll double the amount of the check I’ll write to you.

It’s important that you share the results. It’s important that you tell us what ended up happening. But that is most powerful when you first tell us what the need or the pain was before.

We do want to know what happens. We do want to know how it finishes. We do care about knowing the ending.

But if you want to engage us, if you want us to pay attention, if you want us to care…

Tell us a story.

Tell us a struggle.

Tell us about what the challenge was, what the villain was, what the darkness was, what the problem was, what the doubt was, what the uncertainty was, what the hopelessness was…

Then tell us how you overcame it.

That’s a story that will sell.

That’s a story that will influence.

That’s a story that will lead people to action.

That’s a story because the story is in the struggle.

The Potential Principle and Bettering Your Best with Mark Sanborn – Episode 202 of The Action Catalyst Podcast

potential principle

Mark Sanborn, CSP, CPAE, is president of Sanborn & Associates, Inc., an idea studio dedicated to developing leaders in business and in life. Mark is an international bestselling author and noted expert on leadership, team building, customer service and change.

He has created and appeared in 20 videos and numerous audio training programs. His video series Team Building: How to Motivate and Manage People made it to the #2 spot for bestselling educational video series in the U.S.

Mark’s list of over 2600 clients includes Costco, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, FedEx, Harley-Davidson, Hewlett Packard, Cisco, KPMG, Morton’s of Chicago, New York Life, RE/MAX, ServiceMaster, ESPN, GM, IBM, Avnet, Sandvik and John Deere.

Show Highlights: 

The only thing holding you back from getting better is the lack of desire to do so. @Mark_Sanborn

Strength overused becomes a liability. @Mark_Sanborn

Use all four areas of the potential matrix to create synergy in improvement. @Mark_Sanborn

The path to improvement is the potential matrix. @Mark_Sanborn

The first step to getting better is to disrupt yourself before someone else does. @Mark_Sanborn

Most people change only when they have to; Leaders change before they need to. @Mark_Sanborn

Who or what in my life needs to be disrupted? @Mark_Sanborn

Your life change is only possible if you first take responsibility of where you are and where you are going. @rory_vaden

You have to own it before you can change it. @rory_vaden

You have to be in charge of it before you can improve it. @rory_vaden

You have to accept it before you can update it. @rory_vaden

You are responsible for your life. @rory_vaden

Your life is your fault. @rory_vaden

It’s not about hard work or smart work; It’s about both. @rory_vaden

Find your performed mode and the potential matrix at Potentialprinciple.com

The Action Catalyst is a weekly podcast hosted by Rory Vaden of Southwestern Consulting every Wednesday. The show is regularly in the Top 25 of Business News Podcasts, has listeners from all around the world and shares “insights and inspiration to help you take action.” Each week Rory shares ideas on how to increase your self-discipline and make better use of your time to help you achieve your goals in life. He also interviews special expert guests and thought leaders. Subscribe on iTunes and please leave a rating and review!

The Magic Truth of Overcoming Call Reluctance and the Fear of Selling

Reluctance

Being in sales can be tough.

On any given day, you deal with objections, rejections, and typically some level of self-doubt wondering if you have what it takes to ultimately be successful.

There is a pressure to produce that can sometimes be debilitating and discouraging.

When we think about what it takes to sell someone, we can get overwhelmed and paralyzed with fear.

This fear to a salesperson is commonly known as call reluctance.

But there is only one time when you feel fear, and that is when you are thinking about yourself.

Fear is so self-centered.

It comes up when you’re worried about if you’ll say the right things, if you’ll do the right things, and if you’ll make enough sales.

Fear shows up when it’s all about you.

But there is one magic strategy to eliminating fear, call reluctance and creative avoidance when it comes to selling.

It’s to shift the focus off of yourself and to instead be focused on the people you’re trying to help.

Or as Southwestern taught me years ago…

 “It’s hard to be nervous when your hearts on service.” 

It’s hard to be scared when we’re thinking only of helping people.

It’s hard to have fear when we’re focused on being selfless.

We don’t feel the fear because we’re not focused on how we’re feeling; we’re only focused on who we’re helping.

It’s hard to be nervous when your hearts on service.

This is something that we, at Southwestern Consulting, refer to as “Servant Selling.”

It’s a completely different and counterculture way to think about selling.

Because you’re thinking as much or more about serving as you are about selling.

It shifts your focus away from all the pressure that sometimes shows up when we think about selling to people, persuading people and influencing people.

And we instead additionally focus on helping, educating, and serving.

And that makes a difference because in any given sales presentation…

You may or may not make a sale; but you can always make someone’s day. 

You can always concentrate on making people smile.

You can always concentrate on brightening up someone’s day.

You can always focus on serving and not just focus on selling.

It’s Servant Selling.

If you’re struggling with call reluctance, fear, or creative avoidance then perhaps it’s because you’re putting too much pressure on yourself to sell, persuade, and influence.

If that’s the case then don’t think about it that way.

Instead think of yourself as a “Social Ambassador who is also fulfilling people’s needs”

Think of yourself as a perpetuator of happiness who is also solving people’s problems .

Think of yourself not only as a salesperson but also as a servant.

Because it’s hard to be nervous when your hearts on service.

Selling Through the Written Word with Ray Edwards – Episode 183 of The Action Catalyst Podcast

written word

Ray Edwards is a Communications Strategist, Copywriter, Author, Speaker, and host of one the top iTunes Business Podcasts. He has worked with Fortune 500 companies, and with some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business. His clients include New York Times best-selling authors Michael Hyatt (author of Platform and co-author of Living Forward), Tony Robbins (author of Unleash the Giant Within and Money: Master the Game), Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (co-authors of Chicken Soup For the Soul), Jeff Walker (author of Launch), and many more.

Show Highlights:

  • Copywriting is salesmanship in print. @RayEdwards
  • We communicate in a way that is either credible or puts people off. @RayEdwards
  • The keys to writing in a way to that is influential without being manipulative is to be: relevant, enthusiastic, aspirational, congruent and helpful. @RayEdwards
  • “Salesmanship is the transfer of enthusiasm” – @TheZigZiglar
  • Make sure you are truly enthusiastic about what you’re doing and in an unbridled way. @RayEdwards
  • If you persuade me to do something, that is a decision I will later celebrate. @RayEdwards
  • If you manipulate me into doing something, that is a decision I will later regret. @RayEdwards
  • We should be helping people to develop internal pressure for their reasons, in their best interest and leave the decision to them. @RayEdwards
  • Marketing should be something you do for people, not something you do to them. @RayEdwards
  • Your email should be positivity anticipated, relevant and personalized. @RayEdwards
  • No such thing as copy that is too long, only copy that is too boring. @Randy_Gage
  • Stories are the most powerful form of persuasion. @RayEdwards
  • Marketing should be a sample of what they are going to get. @rory_vaden
  • It’s not about the pain, it’s about the promise. @rory_vaden

Get more information about selling through the written would by visiting: rayedwards.com/vaden

The Action Catalyst is a weekly podcast hosted by Rory Vaden of Southwestern Consulting every Wednesday. The show is regularly in the Top 25 of Business News Podcasts, has listeners from all around the world and shares “insights and inspiration to help you take action.” Each week Rory shares ideas on how to increase your self-discipline and make better use of your time to help you achieve your goals in life. He also interviews special expert guests and thought leaders. Subscribe on iTunes and please leave a rating and review!