Saturday, June 17, 2017

"Selling Is Nothing More Than Communicating With A Purpose"

For many people, the idea of selling something rates right up there with many of the unpleasant aspects of life to be avoided if possible (public speaking and root canals come to mind). It doesn't need to be this way.

Selling has two very distinct aspects: (1) making your point and persuading someone else that what you are presenting to them has value for them (from watching a movie with you, going to a certain restaurant, or purchasing something they really need) and (2) making your livelihood from selling items that may or may not be really needed by the person or company to whom you are making a presentation. It's this second part that garners all of the attention, gives selling a bad name, and causes people to run the other way when the idea of selling even mentioned.

There is a very simple and basic fact of business. No one in the company or organization gets paid until money comes through the front door. Usually this is in the form of sales. It could be grants, donations, royalties, gifts, or other contributions, but sales is the primary revenue-generating vehicle.

Many people think of being sold at some point in their lives and project this image onto sales in general. Being pressured into purchasing something - being talked into it - when that really wasn't our intent is not pleasant. This is what often leads to buyer's remorse - the idea that people want to cancel a purchase soon after they make it because they weren't emotionally prepared to make it in the first place.

If our idea of selling is that we need to talk people into buying something their either don't want or don't need, we have the wrong product and the wrong approach. Take our aging in place solutions and look at those are sold.

With aging in place modifications, we generally have an appointment with someone to discuss their needs and provide possible solutions to address those concerns. We don't invite ourselves into their homes or force ourselves upon the. We are invited.

Once there, we offer professional opinions about solutions to meet the conditions that they express or that we observe - or a little of both. We determine a budget and then fit possible solutions within that proposed expenditure. Sometimes, priorities need to be assigned to make sure the most important or pressing needs are addressed first.

People want what we offer or they wouldn't agree to meet with us. This is different from "window shopping" where they drop in on us at our showroom (if we have one). They may not agree to what we are proposing and may not want to spend what it will take to address some or all of their needs, but we can feel that we meet with them in good faith and that we were not trying to talk them into getting something they didn't need (such as selling them a new car when the one they had was serving them well or trying to get them to buy a new set of golf clubs when there is nothing wrong with the current ones).

While there are many ways to approach solving a particular situation, and many price points for doing it, it's a matter or showing someone how they can be better off than they are now rather than trying to talk them into something they don't need, can't afford, really shouldn't be purchasing, or have no interest in getting. If they don't want what we are proposing, it's alright. They just won't get the immediate relief they are seeking and will have to go on living with their situation or talk with someone else at a later time. It such cases, they may or may not ever make a decision, but it's up to them.

If we believe that we really can help people age in place successfully by offering them some solutions to improve the quality of life in their homes, then we owe it to them to share our knowledge and insights. If they like what we are proposing and agree to have us implement it, they will pay us for this service. This is professional selling and how we build a business. 


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Steve HoffackerCAPS, CEAC, SHSS, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist-Master 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.