I was reading one of the marketing blogs I follow the other day and, amongst the comments on a post on selling, a number of people admitted to being shy and finding it difficult to hold up a conversation never mind selling to people. This was holding them back in business as they just didn’t have the confidence to go out and sell. They had confidence in their product, just not in themselves.
Being so reserved actually stops you from being the kind of aggressive or ‘pushy’ salesman we all hate, and that’s a good thing. People are becoming very resistant to the traditional ‘the more you talk, the more you sell’ approach, especially when it’s over-hyped! What people are looking for is answers to questions, solutions to problems and how to achieve eternal happiness :-). And they’ll happily pay whoever can supply what they want.
Now, I used to be shy too, I guess I still can be reserved sometimes. When I first started out selling, friends and family were aghast! “How is John ever going to sell anything?” was the question they all asked. But I had learned that the best conversationalists do more listening than talking.
Most people love to talk about themselves if you press the right button. You do that by asking targeted questions that get them talking. Questions about their interests, problems, dreams etc. then listen, I mean really listen, because they are going to tell you what to sell them. If they start to dry up ask a question about something they’ve just told you, something that will tell you more about what they want out of life. After a while they’ll think you’re their best pal and will listen to your recommendations. Use this technique in conversation, in selling, even in dating (boy, does it work well there 🙂 )
It doesn’t have to be face to face, but it works really well in that form. You can do it over the phone, in a sales letter or on a website. This is really what Geoff (the guy who’s post I was reading) is doing with his blog. He listens to the ‘online conversation’, posts a comment or a question here and there and people answer him, so he learns what he needs to keep the conversation going and the sales coming in.
When you know what people want, you don’t have to ‘sell’ them anything, you just have to let them know where they can get it and that’s from you. Everyone is good at something and usually that ‘something’ is being sold profitably by someone, somewhere. If you are good at a particular thing, they might just as well buy it from you, especially if you are better than wherever they are getting it at the moment. Or better still, if they can’t find it at all.
But you do have to join the conversation, go on, just do it!
PS I got a great product idea just from reading the comments section and by listening to and understanding the readers’ concerns. So I’m really glad I joined in the conversation.