The first, most fundamental rule of selling is that people don’t like to be sold. It’s a paradox: people buy things all the time. Trillions of dollars worth of products and services are bought and sold, in stores, through the mail, on the Internet. So how is it that people don’t like being sold when it obviously happens so much?
The answer is, they’re being sold without realizing it. People like to buy things, because buying makes them feel in control. Being sold, to the contrary, implies being controlled.
Let’s take the familiar stereotype of the used-car salesman. Customer #1 goes to the dealership, and before he’s had a chance to express what he’s looking for, the overbearing, talkative salesman tries to foist upon him a stodgy, expensive luxury car. What the salesman would have discovered–had he gone to the trouble of finding out–is that this customer is on a limited budget; he wants a reliable, fuel-efficient car.
Customer #2 is a young mom. She gets the same treatment, but what she really wants is a car that is safe to drive her children around in. Customer #3 likewise gets the luxury car crammed down his throat, but he’s a single guy with plenty of money who wants to impress single women–he wants a bright-red sportscar.
All three customers want and need a car, but they don’t trust the salesman–because he obviously doesn’t care about their desires. What if the other car dealership, down the road, really “got it” about helping these customers find what they really want? They’d get all the business, wouldn’t they?
A good salesman–of cars or anything–makes his prospect feel good about buying the product or service, not forced or coerced or tricked. They want the salesman to understand their wants and needs, and to fulfill them.
As salespeople, we create in our prospects a desire to buy by appealing to their emotions. An effective used-car salesman would appeal to Customer #1’s desire for economy, Customer #2’s desire for safety, and Customer #3’s desire to get the attention of the opposite sex.
If you do this successfully, your customer doesn’t feel sold because you’ve provided the solution to his or her problem. Understand the buying motives of your customer, and you can create sales messages that speak to their wants and needs, their desires and dreams, and they’ll beat a path to your door, eager to buy from you.