Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Business Chat - How to sell without being a sleazeball

If you want to make a go of your small business, at some point you are going to have to ask people for money.

Did you feel that? That twinge in your stomach that said, “ooh ick, that’s gross! I’m an artist, selling is sleazy.”

Get over it.

Sometimes we’re so worried about not looking like a sleazeball that we go the other direction and never mention money anywhere. We show our work to people who love it and then we don’t ask them to buy it.
You know what happens?
They don’t buy it.

These days we are inundated with sales messages and ads and people shoving products down our throats. So how do you join the ranks of those sales scum without being scum yourself?

Can it be done?

5 Tips to being a Nice Salesperson

#1 Listen

Picture this. You enter a clothing store and a smiling set of teeth has just asked you what you want. A blue sweater for less than $50 you say. Oh, they respond, well just look at this fabulous green coat, it will be great with your eyes, and it’s on sale for $80. And these shoes are darling. Blah blah blah. At this point you leave because it’s just too tiring to deal with the teeth. The teeth believe that if they shove enough stuff at you and flatter you, they will make a sale.
People don’t buy products, they buy solutions. They want to know how your product is going to improve their lives. If you listen to them talk, you can figure out their problem and then you can present your product as the solution.

#2 Educate them.
Your work is fascinating to your customers. You are a talented artist. Let them know how you make what you do by sharing some stories about your technique.
When you share the story behind the work you are telling them why the work has value. When they understand the process and your inspiration your work becomes so much more than just another product. 
#3 Focus on Serving The customer A sleazy salesperson is easy to spot, they have that “I’m on commission look” that says they’re in it to make money. It’s all about them. As a salesperson turn it around, it’s not about what you are going to get out of the transaction, think of it as what is the customer going to get out of it. How can you serve the customer? What can you do to make the experience better for them? 

#4 Build Relationships
Don’t think of them as “The Customer”, think of them as a potential friend, or a loyal fan.
A customer buys once. A loyal fan buys, tells all their friends how great you are and then keeps coming back. They are your ambassadors, treat them well. Answer their questions, respond promptly and show your appreciation for their loyalty.

#5 Smile smile smile! 
Look at the customer as a potential friend and not a wallet. A genuine smile as opposed to a predatory sizing up of the potential windfall will go along way to making both of you comfortable.

People pay attention of actions and how you handle yourself defines how they will handle you. If you’re dealing with the customer in person watch your body language, stay relaxed and loose. Keep your language positive and pleasant, this is especially important when you are dealing with the customer online. Watch that your language isn’t confrontational and salesy. Just be nice.

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