Sales and marketing both share something in common which needs to be understood in order to achieve a successful business, and that’s susceptibility and desensitisation.

The more you see something unique or strange, the less it becomes a shock to you, as your brain will naturally familiarise itself with the thought of it. As you can imagine, the less it is a shock to you, the less likely you are to react to it, and in the marketing world, with billboards, adverts, and other strategies companies usually use to get their message through to the consumer, if you keep using the same approach, sooner or later it will get ‘dry’, and people will naturally shield themselves from being influenced again.

This is why you see adverts and billboards, online campaigns and other visible adverts constantly getting smarter and smarter, taking things to new heights, sometimes literally – Red Bull is a good example of that! But why is it Marketing that gets all the attention and adaptation?

There used to be a day where it was absolutely essential for a company to have a sales team who constantly pound other companies with cold/unsolicited calls, who do not take no for an answer, who constantly throw offers at people without a second thought, who do not stop until the person on the other side hangs up, and even then, that didn’t stop some. If you’ve ever seen Wolf of Wall Street, or if you happened to be in this sort of environment in the 1980′s – 90′s, then you would also know that this worked! These sales people were usually rich! The more of a thick skin you had, the more likely you would have been to seducing the next fool to part with his/her hard earned cash.

Sales has evolved since then, people are more selective with who they trust, and will not give you the time of day if they sniff even an ounce of dishonesty or contradiction. It would now seem that the once booming and lucrative profession, has now become a more promiscuous field, where most sales people are jumping from place to place, in search of that product/service that just ‘works’ for them. Most sales people. There are those rare few that large corporations, and successful businesses would kill to hire, and are extremely sought after, and it’s those sales people that have worked it out, and truly understand how one should really sell, regardless of desensitisation or susceptibility.

There’s no special tactics, or hidden formulas, it’s quite simple really; you need to understand the person you are speaking to first and foremost, before saying anything about your company or your product. However big you are it doesn’t matter to the other guy, all they will think about is “Why are they calling me? What do they want? Will they even be able to help me in anyway?”.

What you need to do

  • Ask the right questions; really understand what they like, want and need.
  • Listen to their problems!
  • Become a consultant for them, really show that you care about what they are saying and that you can understand their situation.
  • Throw a few ideas around for them, maybe things they could and should have already thought of, but just show that you really know your stuff, and that someone as intelligent as you wouldn’t be calling them unless you could really bring something to the table for them

When you do all the above, it usually leads to you being able to say “oh, actually, you know what… I think I may have something that can help you out there. You know how you said you had a problem with ‘xyz’, well I used this for <person> and it did [something great] for them…”. This is the moment that you just so happen to have something that you or your company is selling, which can help them because of  “xyz” problem that they may have.

Even if what you’re recommending to someone isn’t even something you sell, and you end up referring them to someone or something else, the fact that you have gone out of your way to think on their level about things is a real trust builder, which is another strong contender in sales. Even if the person you are speaking to knows for a fact that your product/service can help them, if they don’t like you or if you have abused their trust in some way, you can forget about it. Being a consultant, showing the other party that you care and that you really know your stuff should build trust almost immediately.

I hope the ideas in this post really helps those who find themselves banging their heads against the wall, wondering why their sales are so low. It certainly helped me.

header image by sap41387