Norfolks Voice

If you don't like selling, change the language

An article aimed at the negative assumption around sales and the difference between the language and the process

Selling is not a word that often conjures up a warm and positive feel for lots of people.

Selling is something that is absolutely vital in any business, without exception.

Yes, that does include yours.

If you’re not selling, then you are not surviving. Disagree with that if you dare!

Why do we have those two highly relevant statements above with such distance between them and yet they are so closely connected?

Why is sales seen so negatively? Well, I believe it isn’t as a process and yet it is as a word. The word often has us think of people who are not like us. All those smarmy snake oil folks who would strong arm us into making decisions using hoodoo magic and NLP techniques.

And yet if we are in business, we have to persuade people to buy what we sell or we don’t make money and we don’t survive. So, what do we do?

Well, a start is to think properly about the exchange of goods or services (the process not the word). When we set up a business, we do so to help people by providing something we believe they need. A solution to a problem that exists for them (let’s call them our customer).

It is a big enough problem that they will be really thankful when we have solved it (let’s call that selling)

We would also be sensible to really understand that problem and listen fully to how it affects them. Physically, emotionally and as a cost to the organisation. We must listen fully with our ears and our thoughts as the more we connect emotionally with their plight and see it through their eyes the better aligned we will be to them and the thing we are solving. We want to solve it too. We really care about the outcome just like they do.

This cost could be time, hard earned cash or both. Then, we are aligning to what we could save them by solving this problem. That is getting into territory where the solution may actually become cost zero for our good new friend, the customer. Immediately, or over a set time period.

And of course, once we have agreed that this thing is the solution, we have to tell them how much it is, or they may of course ask. That’s ok though as it is solving their problem and the problem has a cost too as outlined above.

That’s already better isn’t it as we are not selling anything, we are helping people to solve their problems. This means we make their day better and is almost like a community service right there. Our parents would be so proud.  

To help someone with a problem we have to identify who they are and then find them. (We could call that prospecting and marketing). Who are the other people that have this problem too? Is it all organisations in a certain sector for instance, or a particular type of person? We must really understand this to better identify who our customer will be and where they reside so we can more easily approach them.

I think you get the point now. Problem solving or selling is the lifeblood of business and organisations as we all are ‘selling’ an idea, a concept, a cause a solution and so on. If we engage with another, we are in relationship mode and for me that’s when we are selling ourselves and that ‘something’ we want them to believe in too, like we do.

Brian is a Business Growth Specialist and works with organisations across the public and private sector helping them to increase their sales and market share. If you think he could help you then please get in touch as a discovery chat is free.