Can We Talk About How You’re Doing Business
How did you first start out in business? Why do you do the things you do when interacting with prospects? Who instructed you in the art and science of selling?
There are a lot of people running around using cliches as a way of selling. These tired techniques don’t work. They didn’t really work all that great back then either, but it was a more a numbers game. If you throw enough spaghetti on the wall, some of it is bound to stick.
Where do people pick up these pseudo skills of doing business? Are companies perpetuating the problem by providing crappy sales training (or no sales training) as a means equipping the mediocre? Sales as a job is often thought of as a dirty profession, but the reality is we are all in sales. We are sellers of ideas, dreams and hopes. The key is to connect your product or service to desires of your prospect.
Everyone Is Not Your Prospect
Recently, I attended a pitch competition where entrepreneurs took to a stage to and presented their business idea to a panel of judges and a live audience. A common question from the panel was “who is your target market” to which almost all of the contestants replied “everyone”. “Everyone can use my product (or service)” is a typical response from a person first starting out in business. Sales people adopt this mantra as well, but it does not serve them well.
Knowing exactly who your product/service benefits most is extremely important if you want to successfully market. General (or mass) marketing is a thing of the past except for brands with deep pockets. Let them blow their money on expensive print, TV and radio ad campaigns. There’s a smarter, less costly way of doing it.
Sell To Those You Can Actually Help. Leave The Rest Of Us Alone
If you will accept that everyone is not your potential customer and you’ve invested time in to determining who actually is your prospect, you can now determine the best ways to reach that target market. Going niche is the way to go. Don’t try to be all things for all people. You have a product called X. It solves a problem for people with Y. Determine where Y people are, how to best engage them with useful information about Y and then introduce X as a solution. Keep talking about Y though. They are seeking information about Y. They may not know about X. They’re probably not searching for X. Create content around solutions for Y.
Only then will you be helpful. And that’s when people will look to you as a provider of solutions. In the mean time, lose the cheesy sales pitch. Do all of us a favor and stop the ‘always on, always selling’ way of interacting with others. Here’s an exercise you should try at the next networking event you find yourself at. Don’t sell anything. Not yourself, not your product, not your company. Look people in the eye and talk with them. Ask them about what they do. Think about ways in which you could help them — and not with your product or service. I’m talking about sending them some business.
Laugh (inside) at the ones who continue to do things the old way. Always be polite, and move on. Be real. Spend your time with real people. Trust me. It’ll feel real good.