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Sell Yourself, Sell What You Do

Sales lessons from network marketing expert Cliff Walker Sell Yourself, Sell What You Do

Working in sales takes bravery. Bravery because there’s no one theory, method or science to getting it perfect each time.

Unlike other careers, you cannot get a degree in sales. You need the power of attraction, charm, persuasion, enthusiasm, wit and nurturing - and those who do it professionally often pin their success down to raw experience.

We can’t hide

C-suite executives and call centre operators alike all have to do it at some point. We can’t hide from sales, but we can find a way of applying our skills with tried and tested knowledge of what does work.

Direct sellers and network marketers alike have a deep understanding of sales because their jobs go so far beyond what we understand to be ‘selling’.

Working in sales within network marketing is a profession rather than a job because there are now too many millionaires across the globe working in the industry who have built extensive careers, many spanning decades, rather than just a stint at hitting a few targets. It’s serious business.

Recent global direct selling data reveals the industry has grown yet again and is now worth more than £140 billion per annum, with growth recorded in nearly every country.

More than 20.5 million people in the USA alone worked in some way in this industry across 2016. That’s more than the population of Sweden and Austria combined. So these skills are crucial. We need to work on them regularly.

Here are a few fundamentals to honing your own sales skills:

Look at who’s a serious seller for inspiration

My industry, network marketing, probably has a more advanced understanding and relationship with sales than most others for one reason - the products are largely unknown because they’re not advertised. This makes the job more challenging.

It’s true to say you get many different kinds of sales jobs, which can range from an outbound call centre role to marketing multi-million pound yachts. However, there are universal principles that apply throughout.

When not to sell, but to promote: the difference

The answer lies in science, not sales and marketing. Something forced will be met with a degree of resistance.

When talking to potential customers or stakeholders, the narrative should be: Here’s the story I want to tell you…This is what I’m doing…This is what’s been created. These are the dynamics by which this success has worked.

Sales people too often make the mistakes of the buy this now, high pressure approaches, which more often than not backfire.

Promotion leads to attraction. If the fit is appealing and relevant, it removes the difficulty from the sales process. You become a solution to their problem, rather than an unwanted irritation.

In network marketing, for example, there are no shortage of stories of people who have started on the same level and have gone on to achieve success. Tell a memorable story that related to whom you’re speaking to. Show them how they can do the same thing that can bring about the potential result.

It’s about timing, not rejection

We’ve all said it at some point when being offered something we didn’t want: Thanks, but that’s not for me.

That may well be the case, but if every sales person had to fully absorb that response they’d be jobless. Listen to the reason as to why the product or service is not right and reframe it in your mind as ‘that’s not right for me right now’.

People change their minds as their lives, habits and needs move on. Your job is to build a relationship and ensure your presentation is slick enough to be remembered.

What you want to achieve is being thought of when it comes round, at some point in that person’s life, for reconsidering the need for the product and service.

Change your thinking. A waitress in a restaurant may offer you a cup of coffee. Saying ‘no thanks’ in the moment really means ‘no thanks right now’. You know when you want that coffee exactly where to get it.

Desperation: not for seasoned sales people

Desperation and sales are like oil and water. Once the presentation has been delivered, be graceful in tuning into the interest and feedback.

Being desperate will have a reverse affect. The prospect saying ‘no’ might be so put off that they go to someone else when indeed they do eventually want that product and service.

The way to counter this is to remember to be relevant. The minimum an outbound call centre worker can do is check their records properly as to why the prospect needs the service or product.

Those selling higher valued products and services need to listen to the feedback they receive, which often reveals the point of where they can one day add value. Forging a sense of relevance comes across as a favour rather than an irritant.

As an aside to this, if you’re selling a product or service, you’ll often have numbers to back up your claims. If the business is transparent about its operations and there are credible additional sources beyond its own marketing material to verify its success or impressive track record, simply let the numbers speak for themselves. Numbers presented in a credible way sell themselves.

How to follow up

If you’ve established a ‘not right now’ response initially, quite simply ask: “When might it be good to check in with you about this again?” If the answer is: “I don’t know”, be proactive and suggest a time in the future.

The most important lesson here is to get them to agree to that follow-up point, whether you or they have suggested it. This means it’s their instruction and their wishes being respected.

This removes the coldness out of the follow-up and gives continuity: “When last we met, you said I should get in touch after the summer.”

Valuing the ‘network’ from network marketers

No one expects an outbound telecoms call centre worker to LinkedIn with a prospect (unless they’ve hit it off with aplomb).

Networking is really vital to any business arrangement. The reason is clear - if someone likes you, they will want to do business with you.

The point of being liked and building a rapport is the world’s oldest social truth. Connect with your prospects on social channels and offline where relevant.

Remember what you’ve learnt about their lives and find other appropriate reasons for cropping up, whether it be a shared interest or something you come across that might add value to their lives.

Having a generosity of spirit is the fundamental basis of relationship building. What can you contribute to that person’s life without expecting anything in return?

That sales prospect may not ever end up needing your product, service or proposition, but they may come across someone who might. If they do, you will be first in mind. That’s provided you’ve made an impression. You do that by adding value without expecting an outcome.

About the author

Having risen to the top of three global network marketing companies and currently on a seven-figure income as a result, Cliff Walker is an internationally renowned trainer, sales expert, speaker and author on all aspects of best practice around network marketing.

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