If you asked 1000 people to define selling I’ll guarantee you would get one thousand different answers.
Some might say it’s;
-Persuading others to buy
-Moving products and services
-Closing the deal
-Helping others get what they want
-Selling ice cream to Eskimos
-Convincing people that what you have to offer is the best there is.
I could go on with these types of definitions but let me ask you, do you think selling has changed in the past ten years? One hundred years? One thousand years? If your answer was yes you would be wrong. If it is no, you would also be wrong. The correct answer is yes and no or it depends.
Depends on what? Well, there are any number of factors that have influenced the sales profession for thousands of years, yes thousands. Let’s go back just a few hundred years.
Selling was about relationships, friends buying from friends. People buying because they trusted their neighbor that they wouldn’t cheat them. Was this always the case? Of course not. In every age there are crooks, scoundrels and people without an ethical bone in their body. But generally selling years ago was about relationships grounded in trust and respect.
Flash forward to the year 2000 and what has impacted the selling profession. For starters there’s the internet, cell phones, webinars and any number of technology based selling strategies and approaches. Have these helped organizations increase their sales? Well, yes and no. Yes because it’s often easier to buy when you can control the information available to you on the internet before you even approach the salesperson. No, because in many ways trust and respect have left the sales relationship often making it about the product or service only.
As I am writing this introduction it is 2009 and for the past several months the world has been in an economic situation (I hate using the words dire and crisis as I have heard them enough the past few months to last me a lifetime.) that has challenged both buyers and sellers. Buyers to make better and wiser choices and sellers to help maintain respectable sales results in a climate where people have more choices and are buying less or more disciminately.
If we were to define selling that would have worked a thousand years ago, today and a thousand years from now that could be a challenge but here I go.
Selling is persuading and influencing people to take action. Whether it’s a product, a service, an idea or a concept. Whether it’s your children, your employees, your church members or your customers. Whether it’s Tuesday afternoon or Saturday morning or the end of the month or the beginning of the week.
Whether it’s to a first time customer or a long term client. Whether it’s to someone who is wealthy or someone who is living on the street. Whether it’s to someone who is retired or someone who is making their very first purchase as a child.
All of these have one thing in common. People sell to people and people buy from people. If you want a successful selling process in any of the above let me add one thing to my definition; selling, successful selling is about building and maintaining trust and respect in the relationship. If your employees don’t trust you it’s unlikely they will buy your ideas. If your children don’t trust you, I’ll bet you will have some trouble selling them on their curfue. If your customer doesn’t trust you, I’ll wager that they will resist buying the latest version of your product.
So selling is influencing and persuading others to take action in a relationship that is grounded in trust and respect.
By Melanie Nash