Let's make this easy to understand. Are you married? If so, that is a base example of how we are all sales people. You managed to convince someone that out of all of the other possible choices in the world, you were the one they should commit to spending the rest of their life living with. We don't give ourselves enough credit here. Pausing to think about it, that's an incredible accomplishment from a sales perspective! However, it didn't happen overnight did it? In most cases no. Often this arrangement takes place over months if not years, and it's generally considered very risky for a marriage to take place too soon.
Owning a business, no matter what kind, is not dissimilar. What draws you to a particular business may have nothing to do with sales. To overlook the fact that selling is a key activity in any business is naive at best and possibly even a fatal error. People often choose a business primarily because of what you get to do, but to have a business you must have customers...and customers must be sold. Now, we aren't talking about sold in terms of pushing unwanted product on someone through super aggressive tactics. Yet, we are talking about positioning yourself in a way that makes a person with a need see you as a solution.
Four things have to be in place for any "sale" to occur. It's important to take the time to understand this basic truth. Then, consider how your particular business concept is or must begin operating in a way that keeps them at the forefront of your activity.
- They have to know you. Yes, make introductions. You have to get out there shaking hands, making calls, providing information, and networking to simply make sure those you want to do business with know you exist and know what you offer.
- They have to like you. You've surely heard the term "the face of the business" right? Like it or not people do business primarily with people they like. They want a face that is enjoyable to be associated with and interact with. You have to visualize yourself in this role and make sure to understand that it must be genuine.
- They have to trust you. Trust can take some time. Think about the notorious "used car salesman". He asks you to buy before any level of trust is established. The key is to understand trust builds or falls apart slowly and with each and every word, action, and perception.
- They have to need you. Meaning, you must to do your homework. Sometimes a potential customer knows what they need. Sometimes they need you to create awareness to a need. Super success here means understanding that one need will always lead to another if you are paying attention. Look back often and make sure all of the three previously mentioned things are constantly nurtured.
A variety of things draw you to a business. However, to be successful in any business you must be willing to sell. To sell means understanding and being willing to do the things necessary to make sure the basic four realities above are the foundation of finding and keeping customers.