Saturday, March 18, 2017

"Selling Isn't As Complicated As We Might Think"

Sometimes the concept of selling can be an intimidating prospect, especially to those who see it for more than it is. Some people think of "being sold" and want no part of it. They never want to put someone else in this position and have no interest in selling as a result.

Unfortunately, selling does have a bad reputation for many people. Nevertheless, it is quite honorable and necessary so let's see if we can get past the stumbling blocks of making sales.

For any business to exist, there must - not just needs to be but must - be sales. It's how a business receives revenue and keeps the business going. Even non-profits have sales - getting donations, charging for services, holding fundraisers, and applying for and receiving grants and funding are all sales activities.

Knowing that all businesses must have a sales function - in some form - and since our aging in place businesses therefore must have a sales function as well, we need to learn how we can embrace it.

Let's begin by looking at the notion of "being sold" or working with someone we consider to be a glib or slick salesperson. The image of "used car salesperson" may come to mind. Selling cars is a great way to earn a living, but many salespeople in this profession have brought the unfortunate image upon themselves by their conduct.

The reason we don't like being sold is because at such times we didn't feel we were ready to make a decision - we were just looking, thinking about, or getting ideas for a possible purchase later on. Maybe it wasn't even a serious interest that we were expressing but one more of curiosity. Nevertheless, some salespeople will take any opportunity they see to make a sale and go all out with every technique they have ever learned.

There are times we willingly make purchases, but we feel we are in control of the process. A good salesperson knows how to make this happen and only asks for the sale when there is a clear indication that the customer is comfortable with a decision and in fact wants it to happen.

Being talked into or pressured into something is no way to create a favorable relationship. We may buy something because we feel that we had to, but we won't be happy about it. Generally, we end up returning what we bought or cancelling the transaction, and we feel somewhat resentful for having been placed in this position.

So how do we keep from ending up like the salespeople that we can't stand to be around? We do this by getting to know our customers, by having a conversation with them, by genuinely wanting to serve and help them, by explaining how what we are proposing really can help them, by allowing them to express their concerns and not feeling threatened, by not having to make any particular sale to survive, and by not being in a hurry. The process in aging in place solutions takes time. We must be patient.

When we see selling as communicating with a potential customer what we have that help them - after we determine the exact nature of their need - selling is nothing more than having a pleasant conversation with our clients and customers without pressure being applied. We have no quotas to meet. We are only there to serve them, and we want them to appreciate what we are trying to o for them. We are comfortable with them not making a decision until they are ready to do so and don't try to manipulate them into doing something they are prepared to do.

This is how professional selling occurs, and this is what all but eliminates "buyer's remorse" because the customer really wanted to purchase what we presented.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, CEAC, SHSS, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist-instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555. Also check out the "Aging & Accessibility" groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.