“The shy salesman has skinny kids” – Boss of mine 30 years back
In over 25 years of being a salesman, sales manager and sales trainer, I run into people almost every day who say something along the lines of “ I hate selling”. While what they say may be as simple as “I don’t want to be pushy” it more times reaches the extreme levels of “hate” more than it should. There are some things I want you to consider about selling which I want to cover today.
Selling is the crucial element of business that without it, we would all be vending machines, subjected to commoditization. While having a sit alone element to our business sounds like a lot of fun, fact is the most respected, wanted and desired brands still require salespeople (think of BMW, Harley Davidson and Walt Disney Resorts). In the world of Weddings, we especially need to be able to sell or persuade the couple that what we offer is a match for them.
“Nothing happens until something is sold” – Thomas J Watson
There is a concept I like to call “Field of Dreams Marketing” which can be applied to selling as well. Field of Dreams Marketing is this; if you remember the movie, Field of Dreams, the field in the movie would whisper to Kevin Costner’s Character “If you build it they will come”. In other words, all you had to do was build a baseball field, and the people would come to watch the games. So Kevin Costner set out to building a lone baseball field in the middle of the Iowa corn fields.
In business, many times we take the approach of “they need what I sell, therefore, all I have to do is hang out my sign and they will come”. You see this when people try to suggest that there are so many weddings a year in a given area, and assume they should easily be able to get their fair share of them simply by opening up their business. While your prospective clients may in fact think they “need” what you sell, know this; you have competition.
Your competitors many times are not just the evil guy or gal down the street going head to head with you in back to back meetings. Many times the biggest share of weddings simply do not choose you or who you feel your competitors are, but choose a novice, relative or simply don’t choose at all as they have not been “sold/persuaded” on the idea of hiring a professional.
Assuming that your client will book you simply because they hear about you , or that the only way to get a signed contract is to” be pushy” are two bold assumptions I would love to correct. First- your marketing needs to separate out who you are from the rest of the pack. You have several unique selling points which you need to use to help them to take one more step. Second, you need to shift from your thought process of being pushy to being helpful.
I play a word association game when I speak live to groups. The words that people associate with salespeople are often negative such as liar, cheat, scoundrel, rip-off, etc… But when I shift to being a consultant, you get words such as helpful, expert, direction- all positive words.
In your business life, if you make that simple shift to being a consultant and giving the information that your prospective clients are looking for rather than just telling them all about you and what you do, you will find a significant shift in your results. You would like that kind of behavior if you were dealing with someone who potentially had what you wanted, so will your couples.
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