It’s so easy to stereotype and even avoid salespeople, almost as if we could smell their intentions from a mile away. Yet, if we think about it, we are all salespeople in our way.
Sales is often misunderstood as pure selling, but there’s more to it. Whether you work in education, labs, entertainment or other sectors, you’re selling ideas and suggestions to get yourself heard and supported daily.
Here are some scenarios: you’re a parent trying to get your child to read a book, and you’d be selling reasons for how reading helps their learning. Or, when pitching a project to your bosses, you’re selling profitable ideas in return for approval and funding.
How to be better at selling?
1. Be real
Most salespeople start by giving themselves this persona of what they should be and fake it till they make it. However, to build trust, you must be authentic. Great sellers are hyperauthentic; they relentlessly preach and fight for what they believe, regardless of what people might perceive of them.
Be honest; comfortably express your views while keeping an open mind as you hear your customers’ opinions. Nurturing healthy self-esteem will make you less likely to seek validation or feel intimidated when faced with rejection.
Recruitment manager Elaine Lim of Good Job Creation shares, “Being real isn’t just a trait; it’s a strategy. It builds trust, fosters respect, and nurtures lasting connections.”
2. Deliberate ignorance
While taking ideas and techniques from successful salespeople is a good starting point, you shouldn’t feel burdened to replicate their exact methods to success.
Being ignorant means being open to new information, ideas, and opportunities. You don’t have to know it all to feel secure – you just have to be open to learning and relearning.
Computer scientist and co-founder of Pixar Edwin Catmull never needed to be the smartest person in the room; he wasn’t afraid to embrace his ignorance. He brought life into Pixar (originally a tech company) and began shooting short films to demonstrate its animation software product. His team concurrently experimented with tech and storytelling, and those same experiments led them to be one of the most highly acclaimed studios in history.
Catmull says, ‘There is nothing quite like ignorance combined with a drive to succeed to force rapid learning.’
3. Transform, not transact
When you sell a product, service, or idea, what are your intentions and why? Most importantly, what do your customers get in return? Often, customers reject the sale because they’re limited by transactional thinking or don’t see how the sale benefits them.
Elaine was reluctant for her role in recruitment to be limited to making sales and signing clients. She also saw the significance of transforming a person’s life and career. Instead of forcing unsuitable roles or talents on her clients, she showed her authenticity and willingness to help through her interactions.
‘Focus on impact, not just what a sale brings in,’ Elaine said. ‘The power of sales lies in the transformation it brings, not just the transactions it completes.’
4. Set intentional goals and get inspired
A goal should be tied to a purpose; when you are clear about why you got started in the first place, the steps you take to achieve it will not seem like a chore. The difficulty of selling lies in most of our goals being performance indicators or revenue targets set by others. For some salespeople, these financial goals can feel like a be-all and end-all of selling.
In their book, The Unsold Mindset, Coggins and Brown explain that the problem is when financial goals loom so large that they overwhelm one’s true purpose for selling. It makes you anxious and causes you to act like the salesperson you don’t want to be.
While financial goals are essential, they should never be what drives you. Instead, view selling as a catalyst for achieving goals purposeful to yourself and the customers you serve.
Being intentional with your sales goals allows you to maintain a positive mindset, appreciate the process and be more in touch with your progress to dogear areas for improvement and celebrate small wins.
There’s no ideal way to sell something, but a great seller draws people to their authenticity, permits themselves to be imperfect, and knows it’s okay not to have all the answers. They strive to make a difference in the lives of others in whatever they sell, keep an open mind, stay eager to learn and celebrate the process.
This article is contributed by Good Job Creations.