Approaching…the “S” Word!

Branding” is just one end of the client-funnel.  This week, terrifying as it may be, I’d like to talk about what’s at the other end…the “s” word.  You know…“sales”.

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Whether you’re marketing your services, trying to get a new job, or looking for a business partner, at some point, you’ll be “selling” yourself or your products, whether you like it or not.

But if that thought scares you, take heart: It’s less daunting than you may realize.  Selling isn’t the drift towards doom you’re imagining.  It’s not about manipulating someone into falling down the rabbit hole with you, by getting him/her to buy something that you offer.

Selling is the asking of appropriate yet provocative questions such that your prospective client determines for his-/her- self that he/she needs what you offer.

I teach the professionals I coach that anything you can tell a client or prospect you can get him/her to tell you, if you ask the right questions.  Contrary to what many of the great sales “Gurus” of the Twentieth Century were preaching, “closing” a sale is, usually, the least relevant part of the process.  Closing can only be accomplished at the end of a series of good questions, with something like:

“So, should we try this out?”
“What do you think the next step is?”
“When would you like to begin?”

From the start, ask questions about consequences—questions that elicit emotions and unearth explicit problems—and you’ll convince them early on in your conversation, by no crooked means, that they should be working with you:

“How do you feel about that?”
“Is it important?”
“What’s important about it to you?”
“If we can fix that, how would that affect you in the long run?”
“How would you feel then?”

Then, and only then, can you can demonstrate your value (via your genuine engagement), properly ask for the “closing”, and make the “sale”.

Don’t suppress your interest, and don’t fear your approach of the “s” word.  You won’t descend into darkness if you simply ask, listen, and just keep REACHING…

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