Don’t Manipulate; be a Listening Space

That guy can sell ice to an Eskimo. You could sell bubble gum to someone with a lockjaw. I used to take pride when someone told me these analogies, and I loved it. My ego loved it. Over time, what I have realized is that these aren’t compliments. They signal a disingenuous sales approach. While I don’t think anyone means any harm in saying these things, they aren’t identifying the issue with these statements. If you can sell something to someone they don’t need, all you have done is manipulate someone into buying something they might not necessarily need. The sale could also be made on a false promise or sold on a lie to give them something they don’t need, which could have an adverse reaction in the long term. Sales can’t be about manipulating to buy into purchasing. It should be about sincere sales to make a connection with someone and sell your product or service in earnest.

If you are in an industry that you don’t believe in or provide a service or product that you don’t think in, you need to change course. Sales are about the passion for completing a deal that can be sustainable rather than a transactional agreement that is a one-off. Manipulation in sales is the most disingenuous way to sell. To sell successfully, a person must first identify a customer or a person’s pain.

Being a great talker is a great skill but not the most important in sincere selling. Great talking can lead to listening and learning.  Listing is the key; as obvious as it sounds, if you listen to the customer, you will understand what their needs are and how you might be able to address them. No matter what product or service you are selling, listening to a customer or potential customer’s issues with your industry’s product allows you to become a sincere salesperson. If you can listen and solve their problems or attempt to do so, that will enable you to sell without manipulation. It allows you to be the person who makes the customer’s experience more straightforward, and it will enable you to have built and gained a go-to status for that customer. The idea of listening is not new to sales, in fact, and it is paramount to the profession. The concept of sincere sales isn’t to listen with the sole objective of exploiting, but the opportunity to provide an improved experience for the customers. This sale is the start of building that sincere experience.

Sincere Sales should not be limited to the traditional salesperson-to-customer relationship. Sincere Sales should be extended to managers and supervisors, which is the most important thing you can do for any person in your constituency. As a leader, you don’t have to be the expert in every facet of the business; you don’t have to be the single resource for your team. When you listen, you foster a culture of hearing the constituents’ pain and how you can improve the work environment. It also is an opportunity to create a safe and inviting atmosphere to foster great ideas. You will find that people who do the job day in and day out will be the people who can generate ideas that can shape and create a better work environment and a better overall experience for your employees and your customers and suppliers.   

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