It’s a funny thing, the decisions you make and where they take you. Never ever in a million years did I think I would “sell” anything.
The thought of selling was anathema to me ... and yet my first job was in a retail business (administration area NOT selling), I worked for a while in a legal firm – billing out hours (but never considering it “selling”), worked on ministerial staff in Federal politics but again never considered anything we did “selling”, and so it went until one day a friend of mine needed my help.
He asked me to help him sell some products he believed in.
I was nearly sick.
Because the “selling” involved standing up in front of people and “selling” his product.
Now, don’t get me wrong – I’ve always been “mouthy”... love a good chat and laugh. But the thought of doing this up front and aligning it to “selling” product was almost too much.
However, I’d given my word. So I did it. Sweated the whole way through. Felt incredibly ill – until I finished and then I felt ok. It was easier than I thought. I hadn’t made a total ass of myself. People weren’t pointing and whispering things such as “oooooh wasn’t she dreadful”. Instead, people willingly BOUGHT the product ... and then they wanted more!
So, started my career in sales.
Today? I earn my living standing up in front of people. I sell my services and products. And I teach others how to do the same. It’s not scary anymore – it’s simply who I am and what I do.
Learning to sell has enabled me to travel the world, living in the USA for 3 years, attend conferences and tradefairs across the globe, constantly being on the move... meeting different people in different businesses.
But I see my early fears reflected constantly in the faces of small business owners. The thought of “selling” makes them feel ill – they do everything they can to ‘consult’, or ‘assist’, or ‘wait until asked’ before they start working with their customers.
If there is one thing I know – from personal experience – and sooo many of my clients now say back to me it’s this: People are nowhere near as scary as I thought they’d be. I wish I’d not been so scared.
It’s our responsibility as business people to make our customers feel comfortable around us. And to do that all we have to do is:
· Know our products (inside and out);
· Put them within reach of our customers
· Treat our customers like people not customers
· Make them feel welcome when they’re in our territory (whether a shop, a website, a tradeshow stand)
· And communicate with them...honestly.
Everything else follows on from these points. Get the points wrong though – and not much happens!
I will always be grateful to one of my early sales trainers who, when I asked what I should concentrate on, simply said “Do a good job. That’s all you have to do Deb. A good job.”
Are you doing a good job?