So now I’m in “sales”…but is it all about the sale.

“A sale is a transaction between two or more willing parties in which the buyer receives tangible or intangible goods, services, and/or assets in exchange for money”

I guess looking back on my work and personal life “sales” is ever present. As a young person on the dating scene, I needed to present in a way that’s appealing to others with the best opportunity of a “yes”. As a Police person, it involved selling my ability dealing with either the public or NZ’s worst criminal. Thereby building trust that outcomes would be fair and relevant rules, regulations and laws applied.

In everyday business people need to sell a service or product to remain in business.  Take a Dairy Farmer selling his product to Fonterra. The product is processed and adapted. Finally to be retailed to the end user. Even a Doctor needs to be able to communicate his competence. In order for his patient to accept his prognoses and follow his advice with confidence.

Does society undervalue sales, salespeople and the selling process? Society might, a business should never.

As a new sales person I was hell bent not to be classified as a typical sales person. I told myself, “I was going to be different”, without realizing I was guilty of stereotyping. Until one day it became clear to me. Speaking to a client, customer or prospect about my services was all about communication. Communicating my knowledge and my commitment to “do the right thing” by that person.  In the words of the old sales proverb. “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” 

Irrespective of the nature of your business. Getting the product out there is important, yes. More critical though it is how you go about it:

  1. Relationship. Build trust and rapport
  2. Discover client’s needs and make them the main focus
  3. Meet the client’s need with the right product at the right price
  4. Never take the client for granted. Ask for the sale.

Many years ago a Jeweler in Fiji showed me the skill of a true Salesman.  He noted our interest in some jewelry in his shop window. Like a flash he was outside to meet us. Inquiring about our country of origin. The moment he heard we were from New Zealand, he said “Kia ora, kia ora. I love the All Blacks!” Seizing the moment he quickly linked back to the product. Chatting away about the quality of the piece. He invited us out of the midday sun into the air-conditioned shop and offered a cold drink. My wife was made to feel comfortable and he was polite and complimentary. Time was of no importance as he took interest in understanding our needs. The haggle was friendly, open and honest. He concluded the transaction by confidently asking for the sale.

Very happy with our purchased we left his shop. As the customer I walked away with a sense of huge accomplishment. I had a happy wife and received free lessons in customer care and sales. I didn’t feel as if I was just sold a piece of jewelry. My feeling was that of accomplishment taking part in a mutual beneficial exchange. A willing seller exchanging goods for money with a willing buyer.

Indeed ensuring your clients associate a positive exchange experience in doing business with you, creates the opportunity for future interaction. Unfortunately, my recent visit to my favorite book shop might indicate the end of a long standing relationship. On entering the shop a little shy of 4:30 pm the shop assistant informed me the shop closes at 4:30 pm.  The interaction made me feel undervalued. After years of positive feelings the shop assistant stirred a negative connection. The negative connection would, without a shadow of a doubt result in me never trade with the shop again.

  • Analyse your interaction with your clients and ask yourself some direct questions. More importantly answer the questions honestly.
  • How do I make my client, customer and or prospect feel?
  • Is my approach reflecting the negative conversation had with the previous customer?
  • Does my client feel as if they have my undivided attention and time is of no consideration?
  • Do I treat all my customers in the same manner no matter how big or small the sale?
  • Does the entire company embrace the same customer centric approach?
  • When interacting with a client today. Remember, no matter how you look at it. The experience will long out live the product or service life cycle.