Let’s go on a mental field-trip…
Imagine you are reclining in the sunroom of your dream home while sipping your favorite beverage and watching the sunset in your backyard.
Peace. Zen. Relaxati—-
Wait. What was that movement in the bushes along the edge of your property? Is that a human? Is there a human coming out of the bushes?!
By the locks of Samson’s mane- there is! There’s a grown man fumbling through your bushes and stumbling into your yard!
Well, thank goodness you’re in the sunroom. You get up to begin to sneak towards the house so he won’t notice you, when…wait. what?! He’s seen you! He’s calling out to you and keeps telling you he can see you walking out of the sun room. WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE?!
Well, now you’re spotted. You can’t make a break for it, plus he might be hurt or needing help…
But then you notice it – the tie.the briefcase. the fake smile. This guy is in no harm. No, no sir. This man is in something much worse: sales. Some two bit- greasier than Shia Le Bouf in every scene of Transformers- salesman has just breached the tranquility of your home and is on his way to sell you some widget or gadget.
Ok, snap back to reality. It was all a terrible dream. I apologize – I more than likely should’ve included some sort of warning in the title.
Maybe some of you have survived that experience. Perhaps many of you have yet to see a similar saga play out. The particular scenario we just read through was one that happened to a close friend of ours (right down to the bushes rumbling and the salesman yelling). Point being, we all know the stereotype and images that enter our minds when we think of sales people.
Slimy. Sleazy. Selfish.
Fair or not, we have an impulse response to the word ‘sales’ -positive or negative- and for many of us that word has been soured.
Here’s the worst part: We’re all salesmen.
Obviously, none of us want to be characterized by the creep who fell into my friend’s yard like a drunken fool, however, the evolution of industry and the digital flattening of the playing field has forced sales upon us.
Sure, you might be an engineer, developer, staff member, maintenance personnel, or business owner. Regardless, you’re ultimate job rests in the field of sales. Lewis Howes recently did a great blog on exactly this point.
Now, I’m not talking about making cold calls every day in order to drum up business and close deals. Although, that certainly is a style of sales. Everyone is in the business of selling their idea, product, or themselves on a daily basis. So, how do you go about doing this?
The fact is that the days of selling ala the style of Alec Baldwin’s character in the iconic movie “Glengarry Glen Ross” are all but over. That move is great for motivational quotes, or pre-pitch energy boosts, but the practicality of forming a relationship out of thin air -and closing business the same day- borders on insanity.
Instead, sales has moved in the direction that our marketplace and consumers have taken it: online. I’m not referring exclusively to e-commerce sites, although the process of commerce happening digitally continues to garner a large slice of modern day sales.
Rather, I’m talking about three aspects of selling that are non-invasive, don’t require cold calling, and actually provide the information your consumers want. You ready? It’s really simple (I’ll even alliterate for my fundamentalist Christian friends):
It’s that simple. You’ll notice I intentionally left out cold calling, canvassing, and closing business. While all three conveniently start with a C, they miss the point of what consumers are looking for.
The fact is that consumers now want to be connected with other people who are doing great things, are good people, and are willing to help them. Is that you? It should be. Connecting different pieces of your network to each other ought to be a regular practice you implement. Social media has made this too easy to ignore. This is great place to begin your modern-day selling cycle.
Creating content is the second step (and arguably the most important). No longer are consumers satisfied for you tell them what the best solution is. Instead, they want to be able to study and research solutions for themselves. Are you present when they do so? What kind of content are you producing to ensure you brand is perceived as the experts you that are? This step is VITAL to funneling leads and driving business in the modern-day cycle.
Lastly, we have community (no, not the show, although from what I hear it’s hilarious).If you’ve followed steps one and two, this last piece will come as an organic follow up. Consumers (myself included) want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Whether it’s a sports team, training for an athletic event, sharing a hobby, or joining a religious group- we all have a desire to be a part of something greater. Utilize this fact of human nature to your advantage!
Create an environment for consumers (online and traditional) in which they can absorb content, become connected with like-minded individuals, and eventually share in the community that will grow out of that process.
The days of knocking door to door might be over, but the days of selling are not. It’s never been more vital to drive leads and create an ecosystem for your consumers to connect with you.
How are you doing this currently? Let me know if we should talk about how to grow your community online!