Chances are that it makes you think of people or companies that want something from you, usually money, and do not really care whether you want their product or service, or not. People often relate the word “sale” to the caricatured second-hand car salesman or telemarketer that continues to bombard you with things that you have not asked for and do not actually want.
Briefly, there’s a negative atmosphere around sales and sellers. And that’s a shame. In fact, we are all salesmen. Hard to imagine? It’s really true. Everyone on the planet is born as a seller. Whether you like it or not.
Take a moment to consider how you were as a child. You may have children of your own, or know children in your area. What is it that (especially small) children do throughout the day? They tell their parents what they want and negotiate the terms. And parents play along with them: “Three more bites and then you may have a dessert”. There is something else that children do a lot and what adults seem to have unlearned: ask questions. Open questions about why, how, who and what of all the things they have sincere interest in.
Without knowing you, I’m sure you did this as a child too. Curious about everything and anything. Always asking questions and sincerely looking forward to the answer.
How is it that many adults now find selling “scary”, seem to have lost their curiosity and do not know how to use open questions anymore, with the aim to find out more about their fellow people?
I think the answer lies in our western educational system. Children are not motivated in school to develop their inquisitive mind and character. That is how it goes in primary and secondary education. Children are being kneaded from curious human beings into obedient followers. If you are unlucky as a child, you also get 4 to 6 years Bachelor’s and Master after primary and secondary, and then you cannot discover anything yourself anymore and your sole purpose seems to be to stay within the margins.
A lot of beautiful Dutch companies are full of professionals who do not know what is important to their customers (anymore). It is simply not asked for or professionals do not know HOW they can forward questions.
I work with many very highly skilled knowledge professionals on a daily basis. People who professionally are the top within legal, banking, IT or engineering.
All these people have something in common: They share a passion for their profession and want to help their customers. Another thing they have in common is that they often do not know how to explain their value to a customer, in an understandable language. And that is the exact challenge for these professionals.
Albert Einstein once said, “If you cannot explain to 6 years old, you have not understood it yourself”.
I help professionals with this challenge. I help them to reconnect with their inborn skills and to get into conversation with customers with pleasure and passion (again). Not for the purpose of “scoring” but with the aim of creating values with the customer.
Every time I see these highly skilled professionals again get a twinkle in their eyes as they retrieve the fun of client contact and their own intrinsic curiosity, I tell myself over and over again:
You see, selling is easy!