When some people think about the act of selling something, they often think that the sales person is going through a process of convincing the prospect to buy what they have to offer – that they are “talking them into it”. With this frame of mind, the belief is created that the best sales people are the slickest and most cunning.

Not the easiest and most ethical path
For the most part, this view of the profession of sales is wrong. To be a good sales person, it is not to be a con artist and smooth talking someone into something that they do not want to do. It is not about performing magic and manipulation.

Selling by talking someone into buying something they do not need or want is not only more difficult and require someone to be a little  slick and manipulative, but it does not foster a healthy customer experience and relationship. And if someone is persuaded to purchase something that they don’t need, there can be an end result of dissatisfaction and that can have a number of negative implications.

Where the problem starts
With this skewed view of sales that we mentioned, it is often both prospects and sales people that see things this way. For prospects, they often see sales people as sneaky individuals that are hard to trust and will likely try to sell them something that they do not need.

But the bigger problem here is that many sales people have this same view as they operate thinking that in order to be successful, they are going to have to convince people to buy what they have to offer. And that will often lead to selling to prospects that do not need or want what the sales person has to offer.

This type of mentality not only leads the sales person down a less effective path, it also contributes to them looking like one of those sneaky and untrustworthy sales people.

A better way to go
There is a small change in perspective that can take a sales person in a much more positive and productive direction and that is to simply stop trying to convince everybody to buy and focus more on finding the people that need to buy.

That might sound like a “no brainer” or that it is easier said than done. Here are a few very practical steps to take to go in this direction.

Step 1: Stop trying to sell to everybody
A common mistake that a sales person can make is by trying to sell to everybody. Or stated another way, not being focused enough on selling to a particular type of prospect.

An example of this is a sales person that ends up spending time pursuing and meeting with a prospect that does not fit at all with what the sales person is trying to sell.

Below is a very simple pie chart. The big portion is everybody else. The small portion are the ideal prospects.

The Market

The ideal prospects are the those that have some characteristics that align well with what the sales person is selling. These characteristics could be demographic details like industry, location, title, or financial details or they could be some current state and environmental details  like current processes, tools, challenges, etc.

These characteristics can be pulled together to become the profile of your ideal prospect. Do you know what your ideal prospect looks like? Knowing this can help you to stop wasting your time on the “everybody else” portion of the above pie.

>> Part II >>