The Essence of Selling

The essence of selling is about putting yourself in your customer's shoes and explaining the product's advantages from their point of view. It's a knack. It's a habit. It's a way of thinking. It's being positive, and it is much, much more. Selling is about presenting advantages in the most acceptable way, and about giving others confidence to take a decision that is to their advantage in an area where they feel diffident about making a decision.

Selling isn't about taking advantage of buyers. That's not worthy of the salesperson or their company. Even when a hustler isn't caught out, people usually sense that something's fishy or doesn't add up. They distance themselves and don't come back for more. Real selling is white knight stuff. A salesperson is partly a master of ceremonies, partly a source of authoritative information, partly a diplomat, partly a pleasant companion. That's why selling and salesmen are so fascinating.

Fairly obviously, the amount of knowledge and skill required varies with the complexity and price of the product. Selling a $20 videogame may involve little more than putting the customer in a mood to enjoy himself and turning on a screen for a few moments. With a $200,000 program that may keep a chain of hospitals or supermarkets stocked, the sale may go through a number of stages that could last years. The salesperson needs a matching intellect and staying power for the decision level of the product. He or she also needs to be equable and well mannered so that his or her presence is not an intrusion. Salespeople also need to like people and be socially adroit to pick up signals from a situation, to not put their foot in it, to dispel tensions, and to engineer agreement.

This book is not about salesmanship. If you have never sold before, you would do well to visit your public library and pick out a couple of titles. Master salespeople have some wonderfully enlightening stories and what you will learn is going to be invaluable.

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