"I think the power of persuasion would be the greatest superpower of all time."
--- Jenny Mollen
How are your sales this year? That's probably a question that is difficult to answer because this obviously has not been a normal year for almost every industry, but especially the sign industry. I think we can all agree that we don't want to dwell on the past, but focus on the future and the new sales we can generate in this last quarter as well as when we turn the corner into 2021.
So much is riding on this election year, vaccines for the virus, and businesses reopening their doors again. For those of you already in sales (technically we all sell!), you know that you have to ramp up your selling efforts if your business is to survive. It's time to get back to the basics of selling and remind ourselves that selling is simply persuading someone else that your product or service is the solution they were looking for.
"I don't know the rules of grammar... If you're trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language, the language they use every day, the language in which they think. We try to write in the vernacular."
--- David Ogilvy
For a quick refresher, remember that people don't like....no, they hate...the sleazy, used car salesman stereotype reputation that many salespeople have. People buy from people they like and trust. So the first step is to build trust, which then makes you likable. Be friendly and to the point. Don't try to use a canned-like script that you found in a sales course. Instead, be yourself and sell with integrity.
"My most brilliant achievement was my ability to be able to persuade my wife to marry me."
--- Winston Churchill
Next, use empathy. Put yourself in the shoes of the prospect and try to understand their wants, needs, and desires. Listen for clues on how you can provide value to them with your product or service.
"In any situation that calls for you to persuade, convince or manage someone or a group of people to do something, the ability to tell a purposeful story will be your secret sauce. Telling to win through purposeful stories is situation, industry, gender, demographic, and psychographic-agnostic. It's an all-purpose, everyone wins tool."
--- Peter Guber
Finally, tell the whole story. Don't leave anything hidden from the prospect. Remember, they've been through a rough year too. Be honest, listen, and provide value. Don't be like the farmer who went to buy a car only to find out the price was much higher than agreed because of add-ons.
One day, that same car salesman that tried to sell the farmer a car came to the farmer's house wanting to buy a cow. The farmer told him the cow was $275. "Fine," the salesman said. So the farmer went to write up the bill and came back and told the salesman that the cow came to $805 plus $64 tax for a total of $869. "But I thought it was only $275!" said the salesman. The farmer responded that was the price for the "standard" cow, but this one came with some special attachments.
"This beauty comes with a genuine two-tone, hand-brushed leather cowhide at $175. She has a built-in fertilizer plant, $95. Two custom-built horns at $30 for a total of $60. Four milk dispensers, $10 each, $40. One extra stomach, $95, and one customized flyswatter at $65 for a total of $805 plus sales tax of $64 for a grand total of $869."
"Business today consists in persuading crowds."
--- T.S. Eliot
When we change our mindset from selling to persuading, it eases the pain on us and the prospect. Go forth and persuade someone today that you have the solutions they need.