Let's Face It We Are All Selling Something…

For many years while I was growing up I remember how much I hated pushy salespeople. Granted, this began over 40 years ago.

I remember going to a Honda motorcycle dealership to look at ATVs, being rushed by the first salesman to jump up, and then after telling him what I was looking for, being told that's not what I needed, that I didn't need four-wheel-drive. He forgot to consider the customer first.

In his zeal to make a sale he never bothered to consider that I might know what I wanted and had already done my research.

His pushy attitude insured that he wouldn't make a sale that day.

I went down the street to a Yamaha dealership, and after looking around for a few minutes, was greeted by a polite salesperson, I told them what I was looking for, they suggested, and I bought, a Suzuki four-wheel drive ATV just like what I wanted. And I never shopped at that Honda dealership again.

This is just one of many experiences that shaped the way that I would choose to deal with customers and clients in my future business endeavors.

What I, and I'm Sure Many Others, Appreciate, The Honey

Not all salespeople are pushy, and I really appreciate just being asked if there's anything they can help with, and then when I tell them no not at this time, they respond with just let us know if you need anything.

Many years after my ATV experience, and by the way, I really had a lot of fun with that thing, I began doing sales exposition shows for a company I was involved with. I had several tables stacked with product and as people walked by I simply greeted them with how are you doing today.

I did this because this is how I would like to be treated if I'm considering purchasing something from a company. And the people walking these aisles are like a captive audience, but they still aren't necessarily looking for the product that you are selling, and the last thing you want to do is scare them away by being pushy.

It's kind of like the old saying, You Catch More Flies With Honey Than Vinegar. Try being nice, strike up a friendly conversation. Once you greet somebody to break the ice, if they're interested in what you're selling they'll stop and talk about what you have to offer.

If that person you spoke to isn't interested in what you have today they may be interested at a later date. There's a much better chance that a customer will favorably remember a friendly vendor who presented a greeting with no strings attached, over the constant canned pushy sales pitch down the aisle, like the vendor noted below.

It's times like these that showcase the importance of Brand Awareness, a subject I'll get into in a later post.

Pushy Tactics

I've worked these types of shows with numerous companies over the last 30 years and I can't tell you the number of times I've heard another vendor near me hammering the same line over and over to every person that walks by, and it's always along the line of Do You Need A…

Vendors that act like that remind me of Sideshow Carnies at the fair.

If I were the customer and I was looking for what they were carrying I would look for another vendor with the same product.

A few years after my ATV experience, and before I settled on computer and marketing skills as what I wanted to do, I did a brief stint as an insurance salesman in the mid 80s. Another type of sales that turned me off, I didn't last very long.

While learning the ropes the trainers would stress the importance of doing whatever it took to make an appointment and get your foot in the door. Some of the scripts we used were downright misleading and the tactics we were trained in to make the sale really turned me off.

I made appointments and tried to do the job, but as I was "selling" the client I realized that I didn't believe what I was telling them, and if I didn't believe in what I was telling the client I realized I wasn't putting them first.

Because of the tactics I was trained to use to make the sale, and the feeling it gave me that the only thing that mattered was making the sale. I never thought twice about quitting this job.

A few years later, as I became involved in a business that would require me to speak to many customers on a national level, I looked back at this experience and realized this had been the final push to always make me consider the customer first in any sales related endeavor going forward.

What You Should Take Away from This

While these experiences, except for most of the sales expos, took place over 30 years ago, many of these pushy canned tactics are still in widespread use today. And this is true whether it's brick-and-mortar or Internet-based sales.

Thankfully, many companies have realized the importance of a customer first experience in their sales and marketing tactics.

We are all, selling something, some of us sell ourselves when we reach out to make contact with a client, but most of us are either selling a physical product or a service. Your rapport, your demeanor, the overall way that you treat or react to the client or consumer should be the same whether you're in a brick-and-mortar or Internet-based business.

In 2014 I went to a seminar that included classroom instruction from some of the most successful Internet marketing and copywriting experts in the country. One of the most important things I took away from that experience was a statement about selling…

When it comes to selling you should Help, Help, Sell.

It was basically about making sure that you help the customer twice as much as you're trying to sell them something.

So you might ask, what else can we do to help the consumer or help our clients help their customers? If you are a business owner of a brick-and-mortar company reading this, please have your salespeople keep in mind that your company's success is directly related to your face-to-face contact with your customers' sales needs.

For the rest of us, all of us who are involved with marketing and online selling we need to be acutely aware of how we market ourselves and our products to the consumer. Our content marketing for example needs to be more like having a discussion with a friend or neighbor about a product rather than using pushy sales tactics trying to sell a product the customer may not want.

Talking with the customer rather than At the customer will lead to a much better experience for that customer.

We need to make sure that our marketing is accurate and factual rather than catchy and misleading. This helps to build trust with your potential customer. If they don't feel like they can trust you, they won't buy from you.

SEO, Search Engine Optimization is a huge tool in driving traffic to your business, but it also helps the consumer discern the difference between you and another company when they're trying to make a decision on who to do business with.

The End

Yes, I know this is a huge topic for those of us who really dislike being Talked At, and I could probably go on talking for days about this subject… but hopefully you get the point.

Remember what I've said here if you want to build positive Brand Awareness with your consumers.

And stay away from the hard sales tactics!

Thursday, July 13, 2017 by Madison James      Updated: Tuesday, September 18, 2018