“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar
Helen* is making calls to get people into her workshop series. In this workshop, she is sharing parenting and caregiver strategies on how to manage children with behavioural problems. Those who attend this workshop will get great ideas that they can put into place immediately to help their children be more balanced and happy.
Helen is surprised and frustrated that her workshop is not filling up as fast as she would like. She knows it is worth the investment of both, the fee and the time.
She has made some calls. People express interest. They say they will call back. But the telephone is not ringing.
“Have you made follow-up calls?” I ask Helen.
“No” she answers.
“Why not?” I ask.
“What if they think I’m bothering them?” She asks.
Helen has the same problem most business owners and entrepreneurs have. She believes the movie title, “If you build it they will come.”
She hasn’t discovered the secret between a business that just exists vs a business that flourishes. It’s about learning to sell the ice cream.
Helen doesn’t know this so she puts the phone down, without making the follow-up call. She believes she has to ask the person on the other end of the telephone line to give her something – money. This brings up all kinds of negative thoughts and feelings.
As soon as she picks up the telephone to make the call, she is transported back to a time in her childhood when she asked her mother or father for money and they either said, “No.” Or they asked a series of questions that had to be answered before they would hand over the cash. “What do you want this for?” “Where are your going?” “Who’s going with you?” “Did you do your chores?” “Do you even deserve this money?” And that was only for one dollar.
Now Helen is asking for more than just a dollar, and not from a parent, but from a client. Instead of seeing this as an exchange in value – I give you something valuable that fills an important need and you give me money in exchange for the value you receive. She sees this as trying to pry money from their wallets. All the feelings that she had when she asked her parent for a single dollar, flood her body. The phone turns into a thousand pound weight and she has to put it back down.
Helen is not alone in these feeling. She is not the first entrepreneur or business person to think that she can survive without ever selling anything to anyone. She has gone through her whole life thinking, “I’m no sales person.”
I feel I must let you in on a little secret. No one has gone through life without selling something.
Are you a spouse, a parent, a teacher, a lawyer, a doctor, an accountant, a human being?
Chances are, if you are successful at any or all of the above, you have sold something to someone, not once, but many times.
“No, no, I haven’t,” you say.
Have you gotten your child to do their homework, go to bed before 9 pm, mow the lawn? Have you persuaded your client to answer only the questions they are asked while on the witness stand and say nothing else? Have you convinced your patient to take the full ten days of antibiotics? Have you romanced someone into marrying you?
If you have done any of these things, you have been in sales.
Zig Ziglar, quoted above, was one of the most successful salesmen of his time. In his book, Secrets of Closing the Sale, he explains how to sell with integrity, honesty and with the best interest of your customer in mind.
Perhaps when you think of selling, you think of a pushy car salesman or some experience you have had where someone got you to buy something you didn’t want. Or after you bought something, you realized, it wasn’t what the salesperson said it was.
I have been scammed many times. One of the most embarrassing times was at a summer fair in LaChute, Quebec, Canada. I bought a box of books that was described as having been published by Charles Dickens’ publisher. If this was this case, I thought, they could be valuable collector’s items. After I got them home and checked, I found they were only a few years old and had a weathered look because they were exposed to the elements. They weren’t what the salesman said they were.
I was disappointed, at first, but I decided to read the books. The joy I got from discovering a new author I had never read before, Wilkie Collins, far surpassed any regrets about making the purchase. I was delighted to learn, The Woman in White, is thought to be one of the first mystery novels ever written. It is still my favourite mystery novel of all time.
Although being scammed can sometimes, as in this case, turn out to have some benefits, you, as a salesperson don’t have to scam anyone. You can make a decision to stand above the crowd and be a salesperson with honour and respect by giving excellent value in exchange for payment.
As Ziglar says, “Selling is an exchange of feelings.” It’s an exchange of passion and belief in the benefits your product or service delivers. If you believe that what you are providing your clients will change their lives for the better then you should feel obligated to share it with them. Not withhold it.
On the other hand, If you don’t believe in what you are selling, you shouldn’t be selling it.
I know that Helen’s workshop is worth much more than she is selling it for. Once her prospects are made aware of the value they will get from it, they will no doubt sign up. But how will they know if there is no one to tell them?
Helen has to do what every business person and entrepreneur needs to learn to do. Sell. Sell. Sell. She has to become a persuasive, passionate spokeswoman for her own products. If she doesn’t, who will?
So, how can she turn her mindset around? She can embrace the sales process. She can see the telephone as an ingenious instrument for sharing her best work. What can help her?
These four ideas will not only help her be successful at selling, they will make her business prosper. It all leads to ice cream.
1. Develop A Giving Mindset
Bob Burg, calls it being The Go-Giver in his book of the same title. In this book, the hero becomes successful by focusing on “giving” not “getting.” How can this help you in your business?
When you approach someone with a generous, giving attitude, your goal is to help them take advantage of something that you believe will solve a problem or enhance their life. Empathize with your prospect. Try to see their problem from their perspective and imagine the feeling of satisfaction that they will have when their problem is solved.
If you can answer these questions, they will see you as a magician, not a salesperson. What can you give me that I don’t have now? How can you enhance my life or business? How can you make things easier for me? How will I feel when I get what I want?
2. Make Them Aware of The Cost of Not Taking Action
Help your prospect to see the long term effects of staying with the status quo. In Helen’s case, she needs to paint a picture of a parent who becomes more frazzled and weary, as he or she continues to flounder with things that don’t work. Children are like flowers in a garden, if they are well tended and encouraged to grow with loving care and skilful direction, everyone is delighted – the parents, the children and all who are in their company. Alternatively, a garden choked with weeds is not a pretty sight. Neither is a house full of unruly children.
Help them to answer these questions. What will it be like for my life to stay the way it is for the next five years? What will it cost me in time, energy and money, to ignore the problem I’m having? What will it cost my children? What will be the state of our home if we continue this way?
3. Tell the Transformation Story
Tell stories of how your clients were transformed by following the proven steps of your amazing products. You can tell the story in your own words or ask clients for testimonials. Don’t talk about your product. Talk about the transformation – what your product or service has done for your client. Don’t sell the weeding process and the tools you use to prune the hedges. Sell the garden in full bloom.
Answer these questions with your testimonials. Has this person been able to do what I want to do using the methods of this trainer or coach? Have these people gotten the same results I am expecting? Will this trainer or coach be able to help me get the same results?
4. Give Them A Call To Action / Sell the Ice Cream
If you have answered all the questions in steps one to three, this should come as a natural next step. If you don’t give people a call to action after you have promised them relief from their pain or their problem, you will be doing them a disservice.
Imagine this scenario. The ice cream man drives his ice cream truck onto your block. The ice cream song is blaring, gathering all the children from the neighbourhood. They line up in expectation of tasting the cool ice cream on their tongues while they’ve got the money, in their hands, ready and eager to pay. But they look in dismay as he drives away without stopping as he calls out the window, “No ice cream today”. What a disappointment.
Don’t disappoint your prospects. Give the folks what you have promised. Make them happy. Sell them the ice cream they came to buy.
Try one of these four steps this week and let me know what happens. And if you are feeling ambitious, try all four. Don’t be afraid to start with step 4 – ask for the sale.
Remember, the number one reason most people don’t get the sale is this – they never ask for it.
*Helen is a coaching client who’s name has been changed.
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