Let’s face it, the general concept of “selling” has developed a bad rap over the years. We all hate to be sold to. If I asked you to picture a salesperson right now, what image would come to mind? Most people likely have the same exaggerated caricature of a person pop up.
In recent years, the selling landscape has significantly changed as customer expectations mount in a globally competitive landscape. For salespeople, there is more at stake, less time to make a great impression and less room for error. Unfortunately, this can often mean less time is spent on building relationships in favor of getting right to the point.
But the truth is, selling is actually a lot easier than its reputation might have you believe. It’s just that very few people are taught how to do it well. In college, for example, there are very few classes that teach you directly about making a sale. And frankly even if there were, nothing beats the experience that comes from actually talking to a prospective customer anyways. Up and coming salespeople are often thrown to the wolves to figure it out on their own.
Selling is personal for me. I’ve built my businesses not by simply striving to make a sale by asking hollow questions, but by building relationships - this is what is referred to as solutions based vs consultative selling.
When I talk with a potential customer, I strive to learn their challenges - all of them, not just the ones that I can directly fix. I observe them. I offer my ideas and advice. I get to know them as people. This relationship-first and consultative approach is how I sold for my dad and how I have built my businesses from the ground up. Without this approach, Placers would not be what it is.
I’m grateful to my dad for teaching me much of what I know about sales and business in general. As with all of the other Outside Insights episodes where Alan lent his insight, I am very excited for our community to learn from him again. In this podcast, Alan discusses:
This topic is a must for any entrepreneur. Even if you don’t opt to listen to the podcast, please read up on consultative selling and consider how your own approaches can be adjusted. Sales doesn’t have to be a dirty word - we just need to put people back at the center of business.
Until next time, friends.