No matter what you do or your job title, you are selling. Whether you are selling to clients, influencing and persuading your own team, trying to convince someone of something or to do something a certain way, you’re selling. The guts of what people actually do all day in digital marketing is often much different than what is in the job description. Your ability or inability to sell, persuade, negotiate, and convince others will affect every area of your life and can determine how well you survive.
Who Really Works in Sales?
Data shows that on average 40% of our time marketing different products or services is spent on something akin to sales and persuading. That’s 24 minutes of every hour, 3.2 hours each workday, and 16 hours each week! 2 of your 5 workdays each week are spent persuading, influencing, and selling. Funny enough, most people have a natural apprehension to hearing that they are in sales or involved in selling.
Contrary to popular belief, no personality has a natural advantage in selling or persuading. Extrovert, Introvert, or Ambivert it doesn’t matter. Any type can find success selling if they can get rid of the folklore around what sales is and what it’s not.
Ask yourself this question- “When you think of sales or selling, what’s the first WORD that comes to mind?” Based on a survey the number 1 word that comes to mind is pushy. In fact, 20 of the top 25 words are negative (Slimy, sleazy, aggressive, ick, ugh).
Now, when you think of sales or selling, what’s the first PICTURE that comes to mind? The overwhelming response… A guy in a suit selling a car. How many people picture a woman? Hint… not a single person.
The Substance in Selling
We need to change the way we think about sales. Whether you like it or not and whether you want to admit it or not – your job involves selling and persuading. If you can think of sales and persuasion in a new way, you can be extremely successful in your job.
Let’s talk about attunement and persuasion. To persuade effectively, you need to get inside the head of your counterpart and understand their perspective. Learn how to attune yourself to their state of mind and cultivate a meaningful connection. Take the other person’s perspective, see from their side, and find common ground.
Empathy vs. Perspective-Taking, and which is more important? Feelers are those who focus on feelings, emotions, and empathy. Thinkers are those who focus on the other person’s thoughts, interests and see from their perspective. So which one works better for sales – feelers or thinkers? Studies show that thinkers do better! When we are in a persuasive encounter, the moment can be very intense and there is a lot going on. This can cause cognitive overload. Ideally, we want to focus on both: have empathy by tuning into your feelings plus thinking about the thoughts and interests of your counterpart. If you feel overloaded and you can only focus on one – set feelings aside and focus on thoughts and interests.
Use emotions as a signal. If your client is upset or your co-worker is upset, what do you do? First, make sure that you don’t jump the gun and make assumptions. Use emotions as a signal to say: “What’s really going on here?” Think about what their interests and thoughts are. Hypothesize and ask questions to get closer to what they are really thinking.
Are You Selling True Value?
In sales, we serve other people. You should view sales and persuading encounters as a service, and you need to be certain that what you’re offering lives up to the pitch. To be a good persuader, be a decent human being. Make it personal and put a face with it. This will elevate the level of service. Make your actions purposeful and ask yourself “If the other person does what I want them to do, will they be better off?”
Be sure to bring clarity. Clarity is the ability to see the situation in a fresh light and help surface problems that were not previously realized. Ask questions! Use this technique of asking 5 Whys to find a problem. When presented with an issue, ask why 5 times.
A Solution Worth Selling
Move from problem-finding to problem-solving. After you’ve probed to find that startling moment of clarity where the client sees the real problem, and only then can you present your solution.
The nature of expertise has changed (everyone has access to information now), so don’t rely merely on access to information. Rely on being able to take a great deal of information, make sense of it, and use it to help your client solve the real problem. Be able to curate information to stand out. Help clients sift through and find what’s meaningful, and understand what’s reliable.