If you’ve ever had to motivate, persuade, entice, allure, cajole, sway convince or win over anyone to your way of thinking, you’ve been involved in sales. Sales is the business of life and it makes no difference if you’re selling a product, a service, a concept, a plan an idea, your love or your friendship…sales is a life skill, and it does indeed make the world go round.
Many people, even those who work in sales for a living, don’t really understand what sales is all about.
I recall hearing about a sales manager who had taken his family on a summer vacation to Cape Cod. One afternoon his wife took off with the kids to the beach, but he opted to just roam around this little sea-side village checking out what the local stores were selling. (Those were the days when you could write off a vacation like this as a business trip.)
In any event, while walking down one of the more quaint streets, this visiting sales manager came across an old time general store and wandered in. Checking out the inventory, he noted an inordinate number of shelves lined with bags of salt. Bags and bags of salt were everywhere.
Seeing him meandering through the aisles, the store owner approached asking if he could help. “I was just noticing”, said the sales manager, “that you have so much of your store shelves dedicated to salt. You must sell an awful lot of salt here.”
“Nope”, replied the store owner,” shaking his head. “We hardly sell any salt here… but the guy who sells me salt, he sells a lot of salt here.”
Whether in sales professionally or not, there are many principles that can help you influence someone else’s purchase or acceptance decision. One particular concept however, that seems so basic, and fundamental, alludes many engaged in the sales process. Let me explain with a story about a very poor woman and her family.
Certainly Christmas wasn’t going to be a big gift giving event in her household. Raising 4 kids by herself, this woman diligently tried to save a few extra dollars every week to buy something small for her kids for the holidays. To get the most out of her money, she would buy things that were on sale at a little discount store during the end- of- summer sale.
Putting them on lay-a-way, she planned that by Christmas she would have them paid for.
However, far before Christmas approached, she had a task. Since she couldn’t dare ask her kids what they wanted for Christmas, (for she never could afford that) she had to make them want the small gifts she already selected for them. Yes, she knew that she would have to “sell” what she had purchased for her children, and that “sell” needed to start well before they even knew they wanted it.
Right after Thanksgiving, the “sell” began… and it was executed masterfully. Before going to bed each night, she would tuck her children in and talk to them about the wonders of having a new doll, or the fun in having a little toy that could walk down the stairs itself, or about the things one could create with pots of clay in different colors. She would talk about what she had already put on lay-a-way. She would make these things sound wonderful, desirable and very special.
Her brilliant approach worked for on Christmas morning, when her kids opened their meager little gifts, they loved them. They oohed and aahed. Not one complained about not getting the newest game, Not one was disappointed at not getting the latest gadget. They were thrilled with what they got.
The point, is simple but important. If you’re in sales ( and we all are) understand that if you can’t give them everything they want, make darn sure they want everything you’ve got to give them.
Nicki Joy, is an international sales/motivational speaker and the author of “ What Winners Do to Win" and "Selling Is A Woman's Game"