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Selling: Helping Someone Get What They Want

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Got Shoes, Need Socks

Got Shoes, Need Socks

I am listening to Harvey Mackay’s book; The Mackay MBA of Selling in the Real World on my iPad and one thing that has stuck with me so far is the sentence he uses to describe selling.  He says; “Selling is helping someone get what they want.”  That really stood out to me.  I never thought about selling in that way.  I suppose that is why he is so successful.  In case you do not know; Harvey Mackay wrote the blockbuster book from the late 1980’s; Swim with the Sharks without Being Eaten Alive.

If you are in the business of selling solutions like I am this means you have to develop some skills in determining what your potential customers wants before you can help them get it.  To add to the difficulty sometimes the customer doesn’t even know what they want!  This is where your skill has to kick in and peel away at the layers of the onion and get to the root of the problem.  Hopefully you are the solution to the problem. 

I might not be a highly skilled sales person but I thought I would share this nugget of wisdom in the hope that it will target your approach to selling towards finding what the customer needs and trying your level best to get it for him.  By taking this approach, I believe it will alleviate the adversarial role you will have in your customer’s eyes.  From my struggles with “selling” I would ask you to keep these 3 suggestions in mind when in front of a potential customer:

1)      Avoid the urge to recite an advertisement about your goods or services in hopes that they will be unable to resist your great commercial.  Remember to determine the need first.   If you are selling what he doesn’t want to buy you are wasting your time and his time.  He may know, trust and like you but if he’s buying shoes and your selling socks you are missing an opportunity.

2)      To determine the need you have to ask the right questions.  How do you know he is buying shoes?  The best way is to ask questions that will get the person to talk – the more the better.  Rather than ask him if he would you like to buy some of your nice socks. (This is an especially bad question because it results in a yes or no answer and if no you really didn’t learn much.)   You might want to ask the person; a general question about clothing and see if mentions and need that you are able to fulfill.  Remember, if you can’t help but you have determined a need for shoes; if possible offer a suggestion to put him touch with someone who has great shoes.  It will certainly help you with them and the shoe salesman will certainly appreciate the referral and will reciprocate when he can.

3)      Another thing to keep in mind is to keep an open mind.  Don’t think you know what they need before you begin your conversation.  If you do have your mind-set on what they need, you will probably not ask the right questions and you will lead them down your preconceived path.  Even if you see they have holes in their socks they still might want shoes who are you to judge?  It is not what you think they need is what they think they need.

To summarize, the next time you are meeting with a potential customer remember to determine the need by asking the right questions without assuming you know what they need.  Have a great week selling socks to people who want to buy socks.


Written by pacelinebiz

April 8, 2013 at 8:07 am

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