First, a confession.
I’m one of those entrepreneurs who hates the word Sales.
I know, a massive contradiction.
Maybe its semantics, or a type of mental reframing, but I’ve never seen what I do (or help others to do) as sales.
Although it’s what inevitably happens.
‘Cos here’s my theory:
The less fixated you are on Sales, the better you do.
Yes, sales are necessary to keep a business afloat, (and you better have a solid sales process and model in place) but if you overly focus on the need to make a sale a few things happen:
1) You become disconnected to the people you serve
2) You suck the passion and purpose out of what you do (and eventually become jaded by the work you’re doing)
3) You turn people off
When you’re motivated by sales, you miss the opportunity to truly be present with people.
It’s a shame ‘cos it’s in the space of presence that we build trust and connect with people.
When we are present, we listen. Deeply. Not the listening-to-speak-your-turn kind of listening.
The kind of listening where it’s all about them, unconditionally.
Boy, this is so hard to do.
The instinct is to jump in with opinions or with our own stories or personal agenda.
But something magical happens when we focus on the other person without expectation or force.
They feel heard.
What do they want out of life?
What’s bothering them?
What do they want to change?
What are their goals?
What’s missing from their life?
When we put aside personal motives and give our love and attention, that’s when we are in contribution.
Ironically, when we stop focusing on our needs and instead focus on contribution we gain the most clarity.
‘Cos when you step into someone’s personal space and listen, you see things.
You see how you’re similar. How we’re all similar.
You see their potential.
You see their blind spots.
You see where they shine.
You see where they hesitate.
And most profound of all, you see how you can be of service to them.
You become invested in their success.
And you know what? They can sense that.
People are intuitive. Clients can sense when you have their best interests at heart and when you have an agenda, feel desperate or pining for a sale.
Desperateness is pungent.
Desperateness implies a lack of confidence. And begs the question, if we don’t believe in our service, who will? (Not the client that’s for sure.)
The sales-driven mindset is a form of scarcity.
It’s a type of thinking that believes: if I don’t push for this sale, I won’t get it. If I’m not persuasive, they won’t buy from me.
But the truth is: you don’t need to push if you add value and make a real connection.
When you add value, the sale will come.
How do you add value, you may be asking?
By listening and finding ways to help people achieve their vision.
You must go out of your way to learn and understand their vision.
Coax it out of them.
Be the person they admit it to when their too scared to admit it to anyone else.
Because the real work isn’t checking off tasks from people’s to-do lists. It’s helping folks to grow and have the courage to pursue their dreams and be their best, boldest selves.
And sometimes that means what you offer may not be the best solution for them. And that’s okay. My philosophy is to introduce them to someone who can.
There are many times I meet with a “prospect” only to find after talking with them, what I do may not be the best solution for them. One example is a lady who came to me for branding, but what she really needed was operational support. So I introduced her to someone who could help and deferred the business until she was ready. I didn’t see it as loosing a client – I saw it as part of the give-and-take process. I trust that all good things will come back to me. I trust that abundance comes with integrity.
I trust in prioritising connection over sales and profit.
A connection-mindset over a sales-mindset.
‘Cos when you prioritise connection and service, the profit will come.
Sales doesn’t need gimmicks or tactics when you find a way to connect and add value.
The simple fact is:
When people trust you and believe you can help them, they will buy from you.
And when you truly believe in what you are doing, the typical sales approach is no longer necessary.
It’s like the saying by Mark Twain: “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”
Likewise, if you lead with your heart, you don’t have to remember to sell.