How do you view selling?
How do you think of selling? The reason I ask is on account of the fact that so many people are quite ‘anti-sales.’ It’s a shame really as if it’s done professionally I think being a salesperson is really something to be proud of.
I was taught years ago to view sales and selling simply as a conversation. Furthermore, to think of it as a means to help someone by matching their needs to their wants and solving their problems. So if you’re like me and like finding out about people and helping them, then ethical, professional selling could be for you.
There are so many ways to sell but in this post I’m only going to concentrate on selling on fear by using the FUD factor, and selling on passion. I’ll then leave it up to you as to which one you want to choose.
Selling with fear (FUD)
FUD actually stands for fear, uncertainty and doubt. It was a term popularized in the late 70s by Gene Amdahl to describe IBM – his former employer – and their sales strategy. At that time IBM’s strategy was to erode the confidence a prospect had for a competitor and their products. Their strategy was very successful.
I’ve seen FUD used in competitive situations, and also when no one else is involved – simply just to highlight a problem and get a sale. Here’s how it works when a competitor is involved. A sales person plants seeds of doubt to get the customer worried about the other competitor who is looking likely for the work. They go through all the dire consequences of dealing with that competitor and usually ask some of the following questions:
- How long have they been in business?
- Will they be around next year?
- Are they a homegrown company or an international?
- How many offices do they have?
- How many employees do they have?
- What is their employee skill set?
- Do they possess the required qualifications or accreditations?
- What is their track record like for customer care?
- What is their cash flow like?
- What happens if the bank calls their line of credit?
- What happens if the sole owner dies, gets divorced, or sells up?
Questions like these make the other competitor’s sales job much harder as the seeds of doubt have now been planted in the customers’ mind. They have highlighted the risks. Of course, salespeople with more talent don’t just ask questions, they provide misleading statements. Politicians do this regularly and it’s an art form!
When it’s used to highlight a problem, these questions can be used:
- What will happen if you don’t get this product or service?
- Who will be in the firing line if things don’t improve?
- What will it cost your company?
Those taking the moral high ground say that bad mouthing your competitor or selling using FUD is not a successful message. Whilst I agree, it is still rife and does work so it’s important to be aware of it.
Selling with passion
Simply put, passion sells and salespeople who have a passion for what they are selling sell more. Passionate salespeople have the ability to create sales, to overcome problems, and to create long-term customer relationships. Their passion is infectious and sweeps customers along with them. When it’s used in combination with a solution sale it’s very effective.
What is a solution sale?
Solution selling is a methodology. Rather than just promoting an existing product or service the salesperson focuses on the customer’s pain and addresses the issue with their company’s offerings. The resolution of the pain is what constitutes a true solution sale.
When I contact a prospective customer, I give them my full focus. I want to find out as much as I can about them and understand their situation. As an ideal I want to find out what makes them tick and also what challenges they face so I can help them with my company’s offerings. If my offerings are not suitable, then I’ll still try to help by introducing them to another company who can. For your own sales success, it is imperative to realize that your offering is simply a tool.
In the comments below, tell me what you think about selling with fear and passion. Let me know your preferences and also what techniques or strategies you use. Let me know too what action you’ll take as a result of watching this video and reading this post too. I’d love to hear.
Thank you, as always for reading, watching and contributing here. If you found this useful, please share it with your friends!
With love and gratitude,