What We Have Here is a Failure to Sell
You have to sell. We all sell. In fact, 40% of our time involves selling. At home, you sell your spouse on things you want. Your kids are always selling you on something. Of course, at the office, you’re selling your peers, bosses, and subordinates on all types of matters. And regardless of how you’re set up (i.e. for profit or non-profit), you’re always selling to prospective customers or donors. So it really is safe to say we all sell. So why does selling or the word "sales" still have a bad rap — and should it?
In a survey of 5,000 people, as presented in Daniel Pink’s Master Class on Persuasion, when people were asked “what picture comes to mind when you think of a salesperson?”, it was the stereotypical used car salesman, leisure suit and all. The same survey discovered that people associated the words pushy, slimy, dishonest and other not so flattering words with being a salesperson. So crazy as it is, that’s the mindset people have when you’re trying to sell or persuade them to do something. So what do you do?
Here are some tips I picked up from Daniel Pink’s course that I have used throughout my career.
- Realize that selling is a service: Will your prospective customer or donor be better off if you successfully persuade them to do or buy something you have to offer?
- Understand that persuasion is good: A good persuader is not a predator. A good persuader starts with being a good human being. 5by5 has a roster of clients that are change makers. They’re good human beings doing terrific work.
- Forecast the good: What good will come out of your persuading or selling someone to buy or support what you're doing? Will it solve their problem? Will it help them prosper? Will the world be better off? If yes, then persuade with passion and purpose!
I always find it sad when I meet someone that has a service or product that really can make a difference and yet their ability to persuade someone to buy in is shallow and weak. I’ve even run into people that apologize for asking for the sale or donation. Here’s the thing — there’s an art and science to communicating. Effective persuasive communication is one of my favorite subjects and a workshop I do for our team. I would encourage you to dive in on the subject and be more intentional about getting better at being a good salesperson. It’s a game-changer.
Lastly, my encouragement to you, my friends, is to realize what you do is important, maybe even critical to mankind. So your posture for persuasion should be a confident one. As a change maker you can make a difference just by persuading people to buy or support what you do. So sell with confidence! The world needs you too.