What a Rug Vendor Taught Me About Sales
It was almost 30 years ago but I still remember my first lesson in sales. At that time my aunt and uncle lived in Dubai and I was there for my summer vacation. One day we went to Sharjah. I was fascinated. As we approached the central Souk, the charm of a desert and the stories of Scheherazade seemed so real at that moment. Eventually, we stumbled upon a carpet store and we remained there for the next couple hours. We hadn?t planned on buying anything, but at the end of those two hours, there we were, making our way home with a carpet.
The Two Hour Non-Sales Experience Sales Experience
What happened in those two hours didn’t feel like a sales experience. It was nothing more than kind people, cold drinks, sweet fruits, sitting and talking with the boss and his crew, enjoying our time. Of course, from time to time, they showed us a carpet or two (or three), but it was actually a very relaxed conversation on many different, non business topics.
They were connecting with us, to them we were guests in their home, and they were perfect hosts. They were genuinely interested in us: who we were, what we liked. There was never talk about price, unless we insisted on it. The carpet they gave us to try it on, to see how it fits into our home, we eventually kept. A week later we came back, and paid for it.
The Ancient Sales Strategy That Still Holds True Today
Fast forward to the present time: I’ve been in marketing, strategy, sales and business development for more than 16 years, and I make all my deals using the same ancient technique; show interest and know your customers, and know them for real. Of course technology has changed. If you have internet, you have access to social networks and that means that we are all globally connected. This is a huge opportunity, crossing all borders and time zones. Yes, technology has changed many things; how we gather data, and interact with each other, the speed in which we react, and how we share information.
As for people, we haven?t changed much at all. We still want the same things we wanted from the beginning of time, and that goes not only for our life goals, but how we approach things we want to buy.
Here’s my advice, know your customer, their dreams and their wants; don’t make an offer unless you create a human bond. Even then, do that with style. The approach to success is simple. But, if you want to chase them away, keep bombarding them with pointless emails, ?like my Facebook page? requests or forcing them into trying your product without even introducing yourself properly.
Go out and just observe people on the street. You’ll learn more about human nature in 15min than in 15 days online. pic.twitter.com/IKJv2Nmg3l
? Iva Ignjatovic (@IvaIgnjatovic) December 29, 2015
Are You Collecting or Connecting?
There are so many places today where you can gather basic analytics. There are also many ways in which you can analyze data, but that will only give you general insights. The data we gather, assuming that we do the analytics properly, is a good starting? point, but keep in mind that people online mostly share their Best Selves? or just one side of their personalities. Unless you want to cross the line of social listening and become a stalker, some things will remain hidden. Trust me, if you want the job to be done, you need a human not a machine.
Whether you are a solopreneur or a small/medium business owner you will not seal the deal on raw data alone. You still need a human approach that involves empathy, genuine interest, connection, conversation, humor and joy.
We are actually drowning in the amount of data we create. We are overwhelmed by the vastness of information and opportunities data offers, and, in the process, we lose sight of our priorities. In other words, we focus too much on collecting not enough on connecting.
? Iva Ignjatovic (@IvaIgnjatovic) December 4, 2015
Every Business Has One True Goal To Improve People?s Lives
You are not in the business of selling products, or services you are all in a business of improving people’s lives. Improvement comes in many forms; sometimes it’s just to make people feel good and happy. Ask yourself: how does my product/service improve the lives of my customers? From a business perspective, the goal is to create a profitable income, but from the perspective of your customers it’s about making their lives better. That’s what they want. [pullquote align=”normal”]Give them more time, more fun, more joy, less stress. In the end, what you offer must support their desires and help them achieve their goals. [/pullquote] If you don’t improve their lives you will not grow your business. Stop selling, make people fall in love with what you offer. Use the potential of social media, to network, ask real questions, entertain, and awaken their curiosity.
Let’s face it, having a presence on social media is not just about showing your products and business being on social media is like show business. Being on social media is like being in the people’s entertainment industry?; one that we can all afford.
? Iva Ignjatovic (@IvaIgnjatovic) December 27, 2015
Social Media The Virtual Marketplace
[Tweet “If you want to win in social media, stop treating it like a digital vacuum and treat it like a virtual marketplace. via @IvaIgnjatovic”]Use social media to show interest in your clients. If you do that, they will show interest in you and if you capture their attention, you can count on their interest in your business offer. The important part is to remain true to your values and give them what they need, don’t underestimate the potential of your personality.
I won?t tell you that it’s easy. It’s simple, but it isn’t easy. Turning social followers into customers takes time. Mostly because we were taught to ask the wrong question how to sell more on social media and that is the wrong question. The right questions are:
- WHY would people buy my product/service?
- WHAT is the value they look for?
- WHY would they do business with ME?
- How can I get and keep their trust?
Always remember, the people in your social media community are your guests. When they visit your online social media profile, they are walking into your ?store. Even when they don’t buy, if you treat them with respect there is a good chance they will remember you, your service, they will remember your hospitality and how they felt when they were talking to you or visiting your website. That first impression is the most important, don’t sell just be a great host.
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