The classic belief that salespeople are just con men in disguise could be hurting your business. Here’s how to be more than just a travelling trickster, and deliver real value to your customers.
Good sales is about being someone your customer can rely on to solve their problems and meet their needs. It’s a win-win tactic, and highly potent one at that. This post will help you become the ethical and effective salesperson your business needs. In this post we’ll run through some of the basic misconceptions of sales, and help you become the ethical and effective salesperson your business needs.
A Bad Reputation
First things first, let’s take a look at some of the bad names we give to sales, and think about why we do. Then let’s compare that to the real-life ethical salespeople all around us.
Misconception: Salespeople are only ever greedy and pushy
The first things to come to mind when you think of sales might well be sparkling teeth, gelled hair, and a refusal to leave you in peace. They only want to swindle you into buying something utterly useless, but still expensive enough to make them a tidy commission.
Now, let’s try it another way.
Reality: Do You Know a Salesperson?
Considering around 1 in 10 people work in sales-related business, you probably do. Why, you might even have a few in your close family!
Just think of the retail sales representatives, let alone the relationship managers in banks, and the beauty consultants.
What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about these people? Certainly not the money-grubbing character you imagined earlier.
Our mainstream image of salespeople comes from jokes and movies, not necessarily reality. We automatically believe that these are immoral people who should not be trusted.
In truth, a salesperson is just like you and me: they have a family to support, they have dreams they aspire to, worries that keep them up. By working as a salesperson, you don’t suddenly transform into a cheater. Nothing changes, just your job. You sell.
Yes, there are some salespeople who give the rest a bad name, but that doesn’t have to be you.
You, Salesperson Extraordinaire
The first step in successfully becoming an ethical salesperson is to let go of these biases. You contribute to society and deliver value: that’s important and worthwhile.
The second step is to prove to your customers you aren’t anything like the evil salesperson Hollywood portrays. You have the tools at your disposal: put on a smile, and don’t forget to show your customers that you’re human, too.
Your customers will quickly realize you are worthy of their trust, and, most importantly, you’ll trust yourself.
Related article: 7 Reasons Why Learning To Sell Can Make You A Better Teacher
So what do you need to practically get started
Much like confidence, belief is a self-fulfilling prophecy. You are only what you believe you are. This applies in sales, too; your beliefs shape you, and thus your business.
Thinking you suck as a #salesperson is a self-fulfilling prophecy. #TheTeacherpreneur
Thinking about yourself as a bad (sales) person is a self-fulfilling prophecy; you’ll ultimately end up conforming to your view of yourself, because you believe it is inevitable. If you think that as a salesperson you have to deceive, you won’t avoid it as a technique in the future.
Remember that sales is a customer-oriented job. It’s all about connecting people with what they want and need.
There’s nothing inherently bad in sales. Believe that you can be ethical as a salesperson, and you will be.
Believe in What You Sell
Sales means helping people, so if you don’t believe your good or service is helpful you need to stop and think. Is there another alternative that can be offered?
On the other hand, if you believe in your product, your customer will too. People can sense sincerity, and they won’t buy unless they know it’s worth it.
So, prove it with your attitude.
What you think of what you’re selling will shatter or cement your future as an ethical and capable salesperson.
Believe in What You Represent
Whether you represent yourself, a group of selling enthusiasts, or a company, make sure you remember the ethics of selling.
Focus on the positive parts of your company; what’s good and useful. Remember that when you sell a product, you don’t just sell the product, you sell yourself as a reliable individual, and the company as a brand.
If you can’t do that with a clean conscience, then maybe it’s time to look for another firm, or talk to your superiors.
Again, sincerity is critical, and the customer’s disbelief will always be double yours: if you’re hesitant, they’ll be doubly so.
In becoming an ethical salesperson, as we’ve mentioned earlier, your goal is not commission or making the sale. For you, it’s all about customer satisfaction and delivering value, which eventually translates into money.
If this isn’t your intention going in, be very aware that it will be easy for you to step onto the slippery slope of unethical selling. That isn’t to say you will, just that it’ll be harder to avoid.
If the customer is king for you, you can rest easy knowing you would never do anything to hurt them.
Additionally, you have to accept that are things you won’t be able to control. You can control yourself, how you come across, your pitch, but that’s all.
You’ll fail often, and you’ll fail hard, and it will be good for you, because it will help you learn.
Don’t become disheartened, but take each setback as a lesson which will stop you from making the same mistake. Persevere, absolutely, because otherwise you’ll never give yourself a chance.
Finally, you need to learn to share your own humanity.
You can’t help someone if you don’t understand them.
The most successful sellers’ top priority is the customer’s interest. #TheTeacherpreneur
If you can’t empathize and share your experiences with your customer, you can’t truly help them. To your customer, you are the friend who has their back. Ask for details, and use those details to help your customer. You have the power to decide if you can help someone or not.
We can’t stress enough the importance of this process. It is the key differentiator between a hoax, and a true salesperson.
We’ve laid down the basics. Now it’s up to you to decide how you are going to sell to shape your business and fit your core values.
You don’t have to be the master manipulator to be a good salesperson; you can even help others through sales.
That’s what a real salesperson looks like.
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