"Everyone lives by selling something."
--- Robert Louis Stevenson
One of the most profitable, but intimidating tasks we have to do as business people is to sell. Some people are great at it and can sell ice to Eskimos, while others feel that they can't give a product or service away. The reasons vary, but one good reason is that selling to someone means that the seller will either make the sale or not. In other words, the seller will either get an answer in the affirmative or get slapped with rejection, and we all know that rejection hurts.
To sell something also means that there has to be some form of communication. Experts tell us that face-to-face selling is the best form of selling which means that the seller has to confront the buyer. This can cause extreme fear to well up in the seller. A thousand excuses and reasons for procrastination now comes into play and delays the selling process.
"A best-seller was a book which somehow sold well because it was selling well."
--- Daniel J. Boorstin
Of course, it helps to have a great product or service that people know about. This allows the product to practically sell itself. Coca-Cola, Clorox Bleach, McDonald's hamburgers, and BMW are a few examples. They have great marketing campaigns which help to take the sting out of face-to-face selling. These products sell themselves because of name recognition and word-of-mouth.
But what about a sign shop or a provider of sign building materials? It is not always easy to get good name recognition without doing some basic selling. There are three layers to keep in mind when trying to sell your wares.
"A good basic selling idea, involvement and relevancy, of course, are as important as ever, but in the advertising din of today, unless you make yourself noticed and believed, you ain't got nothin'."
--- Leo Burnett
The first layer is to understand that selling is simply conveying information. Obviously, selling is a little more than that, but this thought helps to calm natural fears of selling. If we have in our mind that we simply want to let our prospect know that we have a really great product or service that we believe they will like, then we construct our communication in such a way that is painless for us and beneficial for the prospect.
"Half the battle is selling music, not singing it. It's the image, not what you sing."
--- Rod Stewart
Next, we convey our information to the prospect in a fashion that will alleviate some pain they have; something that will provide a solution to their problem. It is not enough to just let them know that we offer a product or service. They have to see that what we offer will take away their headache and make their lives easier in some fashion. This is still part of our original communication of information message, just with added benefits.
"Advertising is a valuable economic factor because it is the cheapest way of selling goods, particularly if the goods are worthless."
--- Sinclair Lewis
Finally, we not only convey information, and we don't just convey information explaining how our stuff will provide a solution for them, but we must put this in a communication package that let's our prospect know the great terms we offer.
So, this is how the selling message should unfold layer upon layer: "Mr. Jones, we provide sign installation and maintenance packages so that you don't have to ever worry about people not seeing your sign or be concerned about it not doing what it is supposed to do. We offer this for just $XXX initially, and then $XX per month."
There are obviously ways to tweak this so that we begin our communication by expressing their concern for a solution first, but for now, this is basic selling.
"I still work hard to know my business. I'm continuously looking for ways to improve all my companies, and I'm always selling. Always."
--- Mark Cuban
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As seen on an apartment trash compactor somewhere in TN:
"Caution: This Machine Has No Brain. Use Your Own"
At a street crossing in Chicago:
"Blind Persons Cross Here"
A sign from a zoo in San Francisco:
"Do not sit, stand, or lean on zoo fences. If you fall, animals could eat you and that might make them sick. Thank you!"
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