I hate being bombarded by salespeople.
I hardly even answer my phone anymore for fear of a salesperson being on the other side.
This hatred started at a very young age when I witnessed a guy come to my grandma's house and sell her an entire encyclopedia set, which she didn't need, for $1,600.
I sat there in the living room listening to this guy and thought to myself:
This guy has no genuine bone in his body. He didn't care one bit about my grandmother; he just wanted to make a buck off of her.
I was five years old and I already knew: I never wanted to be a salesperson.
But, fast forward 22 years, and I found myself fundraising for a living in order to work for a non-profit that I believed in.
So I crafted three simple ways that I could be a great salesperson and care for the people I was selling.
1) Relationships Are Powerful
Every salesperson at some point has to cold call people to get meetings set up with clients, but what a salesperson does with those connections after they make the first sale will determine their long-term success.
Other than meeting with potential partners, I spent most of my time cultivating the relationships with the partners who were already supporting me. I didn't waste my time blogging, writing, or prospecting on social media. I realized early on that the market will always change and one way to weather the storm is to maintain your clients through practically caring for them.
That is how I was able to successfully fundraise in an economic downturn: I cared more about the people I was selling to than I cared about their money. I went to dinner with them, sent handwritten notes, contacted them on their birthday. You name it: I did it. And I now have a strong network of relationships that are invested in my ongoing success.
2) Don't Be Lazy: Research, Research, Research
Our tendency, especially young entrepreneurs, is to assume that they know the market without putting in the work and researching all the elements that it will take to be successful.
If you are a salesperson then you should be the expert in the product that you are selling. You should be able to convince the customer that you can answer any of their questions and help them see why your product is the right solution for their particular problem. And honestly, you should be convinced that your product is the (legitimate) answer for their problem. If you don't believe in your product then people will see that and you'll lose out on a lot of sales.
Do your research and become an expert. Put in the work.
3) Don't Be A Salesperson 1st: Be a Caring Human 1st, Salesperson 2nd
There is a difference between someone selling a product that they are convinced is the best solution to their problem and a seller who is just selling something to get some extra cash.
The difference is passion! I can instantly tell by a person's body language, enthusiasm, and preparedness as to whether they care about me or just making a sale. I want my money to be with someone that isn't in it just for the money. I want to support or buy from the person that has a firm conviction that this product is the best solution to my problem.
If you don't care about relationships, if you aren't willing to put the work in, or if you don't care about people then you will lose. Maybe you'll make a buck today or tomorrow, but long-term: you will lose.
Sales are about more than just making money. It's about cultivating trust, relationships, and caring for your clients. If you'll follow these tips then you will win.