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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Selling without selling -- the natural approach
I detest selling. I hate "calling lists", pushing myself out and trying to get people to buy stuff from me. "I'm a writer," I say, and "Why should I do this work?"
But since I own the business, I need to be able to sell and ultimately have found the way that works best for me. First, obviously, is to employ others as salespeople. It took many years and I still haven't got it 100 perfect, but we now have a recruitment system that works for our business.
But the second solution is more effective on a personal level. I think as both a writer and business person, always respecting the potential clients' needs. Sales happen naturally this way.
Somehow, by putting the clients' interests first, and 'forgetting' that you have something to sell, you actually achieve the sale that you might not otherwise expect to attain.
These attitudes reflect the observations of Tim Klabunde in the SMPS Marketer magazine who advocates that business people should "Network like an Introvert".
His point is that it isn't the number of relationships that matter ; it is their quality and relevance -- certainly true in the high-value AEC sector. By putting aside your needs and thinking in terms of the client; by listening, and then providing ways to help and serve the prospective client's best interests, you attract far more business than forcing your way into the 'sales space'.
In essence, I find I sell the most by not worrying about the "sale" but thinking about how I can best help the person I am speaking with. This does not mean being a pushover or discounting our own service -- it simply means understanding the point that you can't force people to buy anything -- they have to want to do it.

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