This is a quick follow up to my last post, “Why People Who Like You Still Don’t Buy From You“. Go read that first 🙂
I understand that most of us don’t like the idea of selling. In fact, most of us avoid it like the plague. I’ve always found it interesting that this is such a common trait amongst business owners. I mean, we need sales, right? Business owners should LOVE selling and study the craft intently.
But this doesn’t happen, because something horrible has happened to the sales industry. It’s gotten a bad rap. It’s all a big misunderstanding, but the damage is already done. People associate sales people with high-pressure, slick-haired sleaze bag used car salesmen. This is a largely deserved reputation. The sales industry is not regulated for the most part, so a lot of selling is done very badly. Most people see only the worst of sales, and as a result we lose sight of the fact that selling is an honorable profession and an essential part of our economy.
In my last post, I basically said all small business owners need to study the craft of selling and that “relationship marketing” doesn’t work. One of the biggest objections I’ve heard so far is that Scott Stratten (I don’t know why I’m singling out Scott!) and many other “social media gurus” have made a name for themselves by saying the opposite. Here is a group of very successful business owners speaking the praises of “relationship marketing”. They’re building strong businesses, making money, and they’re doing the opposite of what I say. So what gives?
Relationship marketing is built on a faulty premise that I call “selling on accident”. Building relationships implies the cultivation of trust, which is the first primary element to any mutually beneficial selling situation. If you have solid relationships with a lot of people, some of them are inevitably going to buy from you. My last post was not meant to imply that no one you have a relationship with is going to buy from you (obviously); that would just be ridiculous. My point was that the relationship is merely one component of a successful sales process. Depending on sales to come in after addressing only one component of the sales process and ignoring the others is what I call “selling on accident”.
If “selling on accident” is how you like to roll, I have no fight with that. We all have to make business decisions, and how you’re going to pursue sales is one of them. Just know that learning to sell doesn’t mean you have to use high pressure tactics. It doesn’t mean you need to become a sleaze bag and start spamming people or cold calling them at home during dinner. It simply means you become deliberate and skilled in your approach to taking your readers, customers and clients from point A to point B.
When it comes to my business, I don’t want to “sell on accident”. I want my approach to be as skilled and deliberate as possible. How bout you?