“Manipulation is getting someone to buy something they’ll regret later. Marketing is getting them to buy something they’re glad they bought.” – Seth Godin

(From Seth Godin’s Startup School. Podcast available here: http://apple.co/1kN8vKv)

Learning how to be a salesperson is difficult, but selling to people who actually need and want your product is almost more like sharing (just like what your parents told you to do). You saw a need and you’re now offering a solution! You don’t have to lie or talk up the product. All you have to do is market your product or service to the correct audience. Here’s a few steps I take:

Find a problem to solve when picking a new product/service

Stay within your industry

Who better to solve a problem than someone who’s experienced them in the past? Think back to all stages of your career path – just starting out, gaining experience, scaling as you gain more customers – to determine frustrations you experienced. Chances are, you’re not the only one who struggled in the same way.

Join an in-person community and just listen

One thing is for sure – people love to vent to people who can sympathize. Listening carefully when others in your industry (or similar industries) talk will reveal which problems other people are struggling with.

Read industry forums

Make note of questions being regularly asked and what people are complaining about.

Search keywords on social media

Examples: #freelanceproblems #designerproblems #developerlife.

Attend conferences

Sure, the conference may have a hefty fee to attend. However, you’re going to learn much more quickly from highly curated speakers than you are googling to find out what industry leaders are saying. Think about it: An industry veteran is taking it upon themselves to curate a panel of experts in order to facilitate learning and business success. There’s so much knowledge to be gained! Plus, you’re taking time away from the normal business stresses and distractions in order to have concentrated times of learning. To say nothing of the priceless industry connections you can make when others at the conference know you’re serious enough to invest your time and money into your business.

Be available for the right people

Give your product or service a social aspect

Email, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and so many other popular businesses work better when more people use the product. If you’ve got a great mobile app, but nothing prompts a downloader to tell someone else about it, you’re missing out on customers.

Pick your social media carefully

There’s not much benefit to communicating about your business with people who will never buy your product. Make sure you’re investing your time in keeping the most helpful social sites up to date and exciting. It’s better to provide valuable content on 2 social media sites than forgettable posts on 20 platforms.

Participate in strategic forums

Don’t advertise or spam people. Answer questions, give advice, solve problems, and share your process. People will start to wonder “Who’s this person who has knowledge and is helpfully sharing it”, prompting them to click on your profile.

Know your pitches

In college I was told to create an elevator pitch. In real life, it’s more like a restroom/grocery store/hallway/restaurant pitch. At least in an elevator you have someone’s attention with little to no distractions, aside from a cellphone. In real life, you’ve got people hovering around you, a kid pulling on your hand, a waitress refilling your coffee, loud noises – countless distractions for both you and the person you’re talking to.

Rather than just one elevator pitch, I would actually recommend having a 5 second pitch (during handshake), 30 second pitch (when stranger asks what you do), 1 minute pitch (when friend of a friend asks what you do), and a 2-3 minute pitch (when you’re starting a formal presentation). Oh, and like everyone says, carry business cards.

What are some of your secrets to sales success? Share your experiences in the comments below!

Thank You Kindly LLC

 

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