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Sales is Easy, Selling is Hard
August 10, 2013

Sales is Easy, Selling is Hard

Sales are easy because they happen automatically. Selling is hard because you are trying to force someone to do something.

Greetings Sales and Marketer:

I often like to quote sales trainer Jeffrey Gitomer who says, “People don't like to be sold, but they love to buy.” Think about the amazing and unlimited power of networking which is how anything of significance in the world of human affairs gets done. Then think about the fact that networking cannot be predicted or forced; it just HAPPENS. When you put people together they interact. When they interact, things get done. It starts with a “hello” and an exchange of thoughts and ideas but before that it is an exchange of attitudes. Or, rather, an evaluation of oneself vis a vis the mode and personality of another, seeking a fit or discernible differences in attitude.

If this is all starting to sound like mystical mumbo-jumbo then maybe that is what it is. This is what happens when you apply human thinking to a natural process and try and come up with descriptors. You may have read or heard of the book, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” Think of a playground or sandbox or bus full of kids. What happens? They talk, joke, jeer, throw mud pies and along the way make friends for life. The question of why all that energy and enthusiasm gradually disappears as we grow older is a separate issue. For now, ask yourself: how does it all happen?

Our biggest blessing and greatest curse as adults is the human mind. As kids, we act spontaneously but as we grow we are required to create mental structures and a frameworks of thoughts around what we do, say, think and feel. This is just a natural process of life and there is no overcoming it. It is one thing to be aware of and ignore such mental constructs from time to time but you cannot prevent your mind from seeking to analyze and categorize everything it perceives on a day-to-day, moment-to-moment basis throughout your life. This is just the way things are. The art of living then becomes figuring out the right mental thought processes that are in accord with natural law and the flow of things and which do not trip us up.

I think I have delivered enough high-level pseudo-psychology for now and want to roll up my sleeves and get down to the business of sales and marketing in your professional encounters with customers and prospects. Let us for a minute that you forget the channel of engagement, that is to say whether we are seeking to communicate with an audience verbally, electronically, in person or through advertising. What are the basic building blocks of how an interactive networking event takes place? What is said and done to take you from saying “hi” to an exchange of thoughts an ideas around a subject of mutual interest (note: this is very different from simply and incessantly trying to promote your business, product or service)?

(i) Say “hello”: most people like talking to other people but unfortunately do not like saying “hi” (first). As a sales and marketing professional you have to be the person who does. Who do you say “hello” to? EVERYBODY. I personally believe that you must get to a point of making eye contact with as many people who come into your immediate space and greet as many as possible. Everywhere. All the time. Just because

(ii) Sense their “vibe”: there is a song by 80s rock band Living Color that goes, “why do you want to give me that funny vibe?” Here’s the thing: questioning whether you or the other person creates the slight bit of unease or negative tension that you may feel from time to time in social encounters is really quite pointless. Do NOT spend too much time trying to change or diffuse it but rather simply move on to find those that you can connect with more easily or, ideally, immediately

(iii) See what they say: once you have engaged in a friendly encounter with a "like-attituded" person, think about just sitting – or standing – back and listening. Try doing it without doing ANYTHING to disrupt the other person's natural flow of thoughts. Ask neutral open-ended questions like, “what are you here for?” or “how are you liking this?” You will never cease to be surprised and enthralled by what you can learn and the kinds of conversations that then happen

(iv) State your purpose: Just like most companies see sales and marketing as the act of promoting their brand or message as many times to as many people as possible, most people see networking as sticking out your hand in a formal handshake, rattling off your title and handing over a business card. Why not become a kid again and be friendly first? Handing your card – or stating your business person – who actually cares is a far more cogent business strategy

(v) See you again: A cardinal – if not THE cardinal – rule of sales and marketing is what Amway kingpin Paul Miller calls, “booking a meeting from a meeting.” ALWAYS strive to leave one encounter with renewed hope and promise for the next. Selling happens. Relationships happen. Everything that stems from human interactions will always eventually happen if it is meant to. Open the door and then find ways to keep it open is the name of the game

Samurai master Miyamoto Musashi counselled “having no ulterior motives” and neither should you. Your goal as a sales and marketer is simply to connect and stay connected with those who want the same of you


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