I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed on several radio shows about my new book, Selling with Soul.
One of the items we discussed was an article I wrote called, “10 Tips for Selling and Living with Soul.” For the next 10 weeks, I’ll be sharing each of those tips with you and writing about how they can help you enjoy having your work and your life in harmony with your core values.
Selling with soul is respecting yourself and your customer.
It’s not about manipulating or persuading someone. It’s maintaining your personal power while allowing your customer to be empowered as well. So the first tip is about respect.
My goal is to see every sales person learn how to sell with integrity and empathy as their guides, respecting themselves and their customers. It doesn’t matter whether they sell products business-to-business, professional services, or are trying to build their own entrepreneurial empire.
In spite of the stereotypes that surround it, the job of selling is itself worthy of respect for several reasons. It drives the economy, provides the lifeblood of business, and helps people achieve their goals and solve their problems. It is the only job that creates more jobs. Nothing happens, no one is helped, until something is sold.
For sellers, remind yourself on a daily basis of the value you create with your customers, the knowledge and experience you bring to them, and the commitment you make to provide excellent follow-up and service. Make time in your life for ongoing learning and improvement and treat that time with yourself as though it were an appointment with your most important customer. It is.
Train your customers to treat you with respect as well. You may have been so eager to please them in the past that you jumped through every hoop they offered no matter how high.
You may have been taught that the customer is always right. Well, they’re not. Some customers treat their vendors rudely and take advantage of their desire to be helpful by making requests that go beyond what makes good business sense for the vendor.
Learn how to say no to unreasonable requests and how to ask for what you need, whether it’s an introduction to another executive, a reference, or a deeper understanding of the internal processes and politics. Don’t allow them to abuse your time or resources and be sure you don’t abuse theirs.
Insist on a professional and courteous tone in meetings even when there are conflicts to address. And train your customers in the art of Quid Pro Quo: Get something before you give something. You are a knowledgeable professional just as they are and you deserve respect, but it begins by respecting yourself.
Editor: Brianna Bemel