Stop Selling and Start Solving!

People love to buy, but they hate to be sold. So, stop selling!

By Larry Kendall, Author of Ninja Selling and Chairman of The Group, Inc.

What is selling? Webster’s New World Dictionary describes selling in two different ways.

They are:

1.  Selling, at its best, is serving and solving—often solving a need or want customers didn’t even know they had. The customer comes first. The wordsell comes from an old English word, sellan, meaning to give. Giving service, counsel, and value is the highest form of selling and is the foundation ofNinja Selling. Is there any more noble purpose in life than to bring value to others? Our mission is to help our students sell in this manner and make it easy for both them and their clients.

2.  Unfortunately, there is another form of selling. Selling, at its worst, is pitching and pushing—often resorting to high-pressure tactics and trickery. In fact, the slang description of selling in the dictionary is to cheat, hoax or dupe. The salesperson is looking out for their interests, not the customers. Unfortunately, this form of selling is often depicted in movies and gives selling a bad image. It causes many to avoid a career in sales and others to avoid salespeople. It is to this form of selling that we say: “Stop selling!” There is a better way. We call it the Ninja Way.

When customers sense high-pressure tactics or manipulation, they either put up their defenses, causing the salesperson to push harder, or they run away, causing the salesperson to chase them. Would you like to attract customers rather than chase them? It’s simple: stop selling and start solving! Focus on creating value by asking the right questions and finding out what your customers want and are willing to pay for. As a Ninja, you will be selling at its very best—solving, serving and giving value. And, customers will beat a path to your door.

The Internet Has Changed Selling in Two Profound Ways

The days of high-pressure selling techniques are over. Perhaps you were taught combative selling; always be closing (ABC); you have to have 10 no’s to get your first yes—grind them down, they buy or die. Customers no longer put up with these tactics. What’s changed? The internet has changed selling in two profound ways.

First, in the old days, the salesperson used a superior product and market knowledge as a lever to manipulate or outwit the customer, who was at a distinct disadvantage. Today, most customers have done a great deal of research online, even before they enter the showroom, sales center or open house. In some cases, they know more about the market and the product than the salesperson.

A salesperson who launches into a pitch or engages in puffery is a turnoff to the customer. Customers want someone they can trust to help them make a good decision. Do customers get the feeling that you are there to help them or to sell them?

Second, since the advent of the internet, pushy salespeople can be roasted by customers on social media. A salesperson’s reputation can be made or broken by just one customer. On the positive side, when you create value—solve their problems (pain) or make them feel good (pleasure)—your customers consider you their trusted advisor. They will tell their friends on social media. Today, the story your customers tell about you is far more important than the story you tell about yourself.

What story will they tell?  That you were selling?  Or, that you were solving and serving?

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