I work with business owners and their teams in many sectors including the service industry, retail, manufacturing, and not for profit – to design more profitable, relevant and vibrant businesses.
One of the biggest blocks people (whose job title is anything other than sales person) have around initiating a sales conversation with their customers, is the words “sale” and “selling”.
Everybody has a blue print or a set of beliefs and stories triggered by past experiences, which flavour the meaning they attach to the word and the act of “selling”. And often the meaning is negative and involves words such as false, dishonest, pushy, loud, demanding, and uncaring.
So rather that pull this belief system apart and reset the meaning – why not replace these words with others which are more accurate, more descriptive of what you really do and therefore, carry a very different connotation.
We don’t just come up with a new word – it has to be part and parcel of your business language, reflective of WHY you do what you do, and totally aligned with your culture and values. There must be authenticity and transparency.
Finding a new word
You might start with some brainstorming with your team around these questions:
—> What do people buy from us? What do they really buy?
Instead of these traditional questions:
—> What do we sell? How do we sell what we sell?
This not so subtle change in the question requires a significant shift in thinking. The answer will change the conversations you are having with your clients and prospects, it will change the way you position yourself in the market, and it may even change the way you design the entire buyer experience.
Let’s think of this in terms of a bank.
Traditional thinking says that banks sell credit cards and they do that by making a sales call and telling their clients about the product and its features.
Now, let’s consider the new question:
—> What do people buy from us?
Access to more funds.
—> What do people really buy from us?
A shopping experience.
—> What do people really, really buy from us?
The fun and enjoyment of the shopping trip and being someone who has the financial where with all to enjoy that experience.
So people don’t buy credit cards – they buy a state of being and an identity!
And what is the banks role in this – are they selling this state or identity?
I suggest that the bank is actually enabling a state and an identity – not selling! The bank enables the customer to have fun and feel like someone who is financially able to go on a shopping spree and to identify with the “status” that goes with that.
Being an enabler of a desired state or identity is such a different concept to selling a credit card.
There goes the block! The conversation is now directed away from a transaction and towards the opportunity to build a better relationship with the customer. And that’s another story!
There is a huge shift here – the belief that you have to be a sales person to sell, is now defunct. We aren’t selling, we’re enabling. Anyone can enable – including sales people. Enabling is what we do across all departments, across all roles and responsibilities.
This new understanding must be entrenched in the culture of the organisation – and it won’t work if your walk says something else – it won’t work if you don’t genuinely believe in why you do what you do, and what you enable is front and centre here. It won’t work if you think this is just a mind game.
Knowing what people really, really buy from you is a must have, a non-negotiable prerequisite to designing a powerful business.
What do people really, really buy from you?