If all of life is a sale, why are salesmen so vilified? Business relies on money and it is literally the air it breathes. Without money, a business dies. Sales staff is the heart of the business, it pumps in clients and pushes out money for the business. Yet, why do we have such a stigma over sales?
I remember a simple phrase that explained it all: Dirty hands mean clean money. America was built on physical labor, and only now in the past 20 or so years have we transitioned from factories to services. It’s a call back to a simpler time. Working with your hands meant you were doing an honest day’s work.
Salesmen don’t work with their hands, they work with their mouths. People buy from people that are similar to them, and that they like. In my car sales days, I rarely sold to people interested in work trucks. While I have worked in construction, I rarely could create a bond with these customers. Despite my best rapport building efforts, these customers only saw a salesman that ‘didn’t work for a living.’
So, what do you do? You prospect, you niche down, you filter out the customers that were never going to like you to begin with. Sales is a numbers game and not every lead will become a sale. At the dealership, I realized this. Whenever I would get a customer that I just knew I wouldn’t do well with, I would turn them over to another salesperson that had a better chance.
This created less stress for me, a happier customer and I would still get half of the sale.
Sales is tough enough, and there’s no reason to continue to pitch to people that see you as an enemy.
Do this. Look through you past clients, and identify:
- A trend in buyers: Are they Male/ Female? What’s their occupation?
- What kind of products they buy?
- What products they were interested in.
- What’s their interests and how they relate to yours?
After you have that done, you pretty much have a good idea who your target customers are. Not quite a whole picture mind you, but a good idea.
For example, in car sales, I noticed I did better with younger clients, especially wary first-time buyers. I was closer in age to them and shared common interests, so the customer would see me as a friend. I once even had a young first-time buyer make a beeline to me through a group of salespeople and said he liked me, and wanted me to help him get a car. Guess what I did? Sold him a car.
I also did well with young families, since I would regularly train myself on all the inner-workings of family vehicles. How many times have you heard the story of a sales person who didn’t know the car? I was the opposite, I showed small tricks that established me as the expert.
What I really got known for was cross-selling to sports car owners. Being a driving enthusiast with several track days under my belt, I could accurately explain how the sporty models handled, and what set them apart from competitor’s sporty cars. I remember being so good, I convinced a coworker who was a dyed-in-the-wool Subaru guy, to go with a Mustang. Guess what he bought?
Ironically, I was one of the most knowledgeable sales people on the lot for trucks. However, would-be truck owners just saw a ‘no-nothing’ salesperson.
Whether you are a freelancer, a salesman or a business owner, this tip above could easily save you from headaches.