There is a great commercial out now that reminds about what the true meaning of “Selling” should be.
It’s a Capital One pitch for their new “Capital One Cafes” – where they point out that all banks look and feel the same. Their novel idea is to provide a relaxed, easy environment, “A welcoming environment where people are here to help you, not sell you.”
Now, I’m curious as to how good the coffee or lattes will be and if they’re “free” to customers, but what really caught my attention was this notion that their bankers are there to HELP instead of SELL.
They used this exacting wording to evoke a response like, “Yeah. I don’t like to be sold to. I just want help.”
Does this connect with you? Do you ever go to places where you’re unsure of what you need, maybe have no clue as to what product will solve your problem, or need more details to be able to make a decision? Then, BAM, you get someone hammering you with features and benefits of their product – trying to push you into something?
Banking. Insurance. Software. Hardware. Appliances. Security. Coaching. Personal Training. Gym Memberships. Vacation Packages. Cars. Credit Cards. Accounting Packages. Healthcare. Employee Benefits.
These are just the immediate things that popped into my head. Experiences I’ve had in recent months when I needed something and tried to make a decision and found the salespeople less than helpful in trying to accomplish MY goal – they are solely focused on their goal, which is closing a sale.
Those are 15 examples of everyday life and business decisions that I needed help with – information, insights, options, clarification, comparison – to be able to make a decision.
These sellers fell short of most of my needs and expectations when they came at me with their end goal as the priority for our conversations.
There is a more effective way to sell to your customers and it comes from focusing on their goals and meeting them in their buying process. Think of these tenets as The Modern Sellers Creed –
The Modern Sellers Creed:
- Selling is the first opportunity you have to offer value to a prospect.
- Selling is articulating YOUR value in a way that is valuable to someone else.
- Selling is helping people make decisions in their buying process.
- Selling is persisting with integrity so buyers can make the best, most informed decision.
The reality is that your customers or buyers shouldn’t feel like there is a difference between helping and selling.
People will ask for help but they won’t ask to be sold. If you have a retail store and someone walks through the doors, you’d never say, “Hi, can I sell you?”
Nope. Your offer is to help. So let’s do that.
Let’s equate Selling with Helping.
In our sales process, helping customers is –
- Helping them articulate their issue (by asking great questions).
- Helping them understand why they’re having issues (by connecting their problems to stories).
- Helping them navigate their problems and solutions within their organization (connect resources, get to know other divisions, bring together influencers and stakeholders)
- Helping them explore options (connecting their needs and challenges to your options or solutions).
- Helping them work through integration and execution (introducing team members, onboarding process, discussing payment terms, et cetera).
And when I teach new sellers or business owners about how to cope with the rejection of “losing a sale,” I suggest we shift that mentality to, “They didn’t need MY help today,” instead of “I failed to sell them.”
That shift and living by The Modern Seller’s Creed will give you different relationships with people – your targets, prospects, buyers, decision-makers, customers . . . they’re all just people.
People – who would much rather be helped than sold to.
So, bring more helping to how you sell and you’ll see the difference show up not just in closed deals, but in referrals, reviews, and long-term relationships.
Until next time, stop hoping and start SELLING (HELPING)!
PS – How do YOU help customers in their buying process? Comment below with some brilliant examples!