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Seven simple rules for selling for the entire company (including you)

I stubbornly claim that everyone working in a company works with sales and whether you think you do or not, you may have be a little nice to me and give me a chance to explain, even though you can't see any connection between your job and sales right now.
  • Do you sometimes persuade others to see something from your perspective or try to get them to do something specific?
• Do you sometimes get people to follow your recommendations?
• Do you sometimes benefit from convincing other people to do something?
If the answer is yes to any of these questions, then you are also a seller (although it doesn't say so on your business card).

With all due respect to sellers of used cars (they have a hard job), they have become the stereotype of what a seller is. You can see him (it's usually a man) in front of you - a sycophantic character that polishes up a car wreck and lure people out of money. But there's also another seller and you've hopefully met him/her several times. It's the person who will help you and who cares about you when you buy something. It's he/she who calls you up and asks if everything went well. That's also a part of what it means to be a seller even if you don't think about it, but that's the way you should start thinking about selling now.

So let's wake up the inner seller inside of you that I'm sure you want to be - and equally sure that your customer and your colleagues want to meet.

1. They listen more than they talk
How can a seller know what you want if they don't listen properly to what you say? Ignorant sellers have already decided what you need and it instantly creates problems. You're talking about a square and they are absolutely fixated on selling a triangle to you. The funny thing here is that if they just listened first, maybe it's so that their triangle actually is perfect for you, you just don't know it yet. It's about something as simple as recognizing the customer as a human being, not as a walking wallet.

2. They ask better questions
The best salespeople are those who gather information about our needs before they expose us to something we should consider. They use questions to understand us better and to strengthen relations between us. It's quite natural to relax more as a customer if the person opposite me seems really interested in the problem I want to solve by leading me towards a certain point by asking smart questions. It means that I also get a chance to think the problem through and nuance the problem myself. Smart questions also reduce the risk of future misunderstandings. This is actually all about attitude. You can tell if you are a person who wants to help others - if you really have the ability to put yourself in their place.

3. They think in the long term
The ignorant seller wants to fill the budget now - it's one of the big problems with commission wages. You have to make enough money this month now and there's no room to think about the future. It's easy to start thinking in these terms even if you have no paying incentive, but it's a huge mistake. It's often said that the best sellers are not selling themselves for a project just for today, they sell themselves for your next 10 projects and the beauty of this is that it also takes the pressure from you. You can start treating your customers as partners instead of mayflies. Nice, huh?

4. They build relationships with customers
There is much talk about the importance of building relationships in business. There is much talk about it because it's true. That is how you and I both work. We rather deal with people we already know. One of the best ways to lose business, is to ignore building relationships. The word may sound a bit clinical, but you know what I mean. It's about being available, not just be a business man (or woman), to do things together, perhaps be the clients' primary resource and expert in a field. Someone they can contact and say: “Go ahead.”

5. They follow up on what happens and what has happened
Have you ever been called by someone you bought something from you just because they want to check out the situation and make sure you are happy with everything?
Have you as a businessman/woman called a customer for that reason? How much would you rate such an action even though you have already paid for your purchase? Wouldn't that make you feel a bit special? I would be touched because it never happens - and more importantly - I would never even think of doing business anywhere else!

6. They don't care about sales techniques
There's technology to sell (more on that later on) and they are effective for controlling calls, but if they're used wrong, it just becomes ridiculous. Everyone is looking for a magic formula that directs customers to where you want them to be, but it's not that easy if you don't pour your personality into the process and allow the techniques to be tools rather than instruments. There is a difference between using the technique of active listening and active listening. When you focus on the result you become more relaxed and use the techniques more as a support to reach a target where the customer is the one who is the king.

7. They help customers to buy
You don't want someone to sell you anything, you want to make a decision yourself and then buy. A good salesperson helps customers see the value of what they are considering purchasing. They help them to ”own” the decision themselves. As soon as we feel that someone is trying to sell us something, the alarm goes off, the gates are pulled down and we get that actively disinterested gaze. Do you recognize yourself? However, if we are facing a person who helps and guides us to a smart decision, well - then the doors will open wide again.

Finally a little surprise:
There are many other areas of life that you can benefit from using these points. Think of your work life, but also your role as a parent and maybe even as a partner in a marriage. Think about it, anyway.

The next time you meet with a client, a colleague or boss, first listen and then ask questions before you come to present your solution. It does wonders.

About the author

Stefan Ekberg has worked in marketing for small business for 20 years and has written around 30 books on how small business owners can market themselves with limited resources. . In 2012 Stefan was nominated as Entrepreneur of the Year in Stockholm.

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"The 5 minute marketer" - the book
You run a small business and you want to get ahead of the competition, but how can you give resources to marketing when you're short on time and the budget is tight? The solution is here! The 5-Minute Marketer is packed with 395 tried-and-tested ways to market your business in 5 minutes or less.