My lady & I went into a yogurt shop the other night, with a 20% probability of buying something (well, for me at least). The ice cream shop next door was closed and I don’t even like yogurt. But it was open, and I hadn’t been in there before, so we walked in.
The employee behind the counter at this small space said hello to us… And not another word. We stopped and read the huge wall sign that described the process (it was one of those make-your-own places where you pay by the ounce) and admired all the goodies at the toppings station. Then we looked at the soft serve pumps that had delicious pictures of the different flavors available. In the end we decided against the yogurt and walked out.
The employee watched is the whole time and never said a word.
The reason I mentioned the 20% earlier was so you could understand this analogy: I was standing on the ledge, money in hand (or pocket), and 20% ready to jump into a small cup of yogurt. There was also an 80% chance that I’d just turn around, back away from the ledge, and live another day. The only person close to me at that moment on the ledge was that indifferent employee — just a small push would’ve sent me headfirst into a purchase. But she stood there are waited, as if the yogurt would sell itself (which it probably does a lot, which is why she was conditioned to let it happen).
This yogurt shop, and countless other business worldwide lose hundreds and thousands of dollars per day because of employees like the one at this yogurt shop — not only to non-buyers like me, but in missed suggestive sales to those who do buy.
When you have something even half-decent to offer, people will not throw their wallets at you simply because you’re there. Oh yes — some products do sell themselves — but if that’s the case, what is your boss paying you for? I can buy a computer that dispassionately take money from people. Sales is the act of making people believe that your offering is so great that they spend money they didn’t plan on spending — or more money than they planned — because you made them believe that is was the best thing for them to do. That’s what a salesperson gets paid to do.
Once people know you’ve got it (like I knew the yogurt store existed when walked in), you are your product’s #1 fan, transferring your feelings and emotions to others so they they buy into it too. This is when a sale takes place.
It’s not about logic. When I had time to think in the shop, logic told me not to eat yogurt, and I left. But during that 3-minute window, my emotions could’ve been triggered with the right words, and I would’ve bought and ate some yogurt. The employee blew it.
The reasons people don’t sell like they should:
1) They haven’t been taught to. No one told them to sell, do they don’t do it. Understand this: Most people in life want to be told what to do. It relieves them of decision-making responsibility, and of the responsibility of blame if things go wrong — he told me to do it. In that moment, at least, I wanted that employee to tell me to buy yogurt — and I would’ve obeyed. People don’t sell because they don’t understand the concept of telling people what to do — try it and you’ll be amazed at how often people comply.
2) People are afraid of rejection. Once bitten, twice shy. Anyone will give selling a try once. And if that once is a huge failure — it probably will be, if it’s your first time — most people will take every negative from the situation and allow them to block them from ever trying again. You can replace “selling” with many other things in life — love, leadership, entrepreneurship — and the observation remains accurate. There are a few of you out there reading this who are excited right now because you see what I would see here: A golden opportunity, because you’re not afraid of rejection. You can accept something not working and come right back with the same level of energy and enthusiasm. You can learn from the missteps and build on the positives, no matter how much of each you have on your hands. You are the salesperson. If you’ve never sold anything (which is a trick question: You have sold plenty), go find something to sell. It could change your life.
With so many options and choices on our hands, often we need a little push to come to a decision. The only practical use of money is to trade it for something we want; it is otherwise worthless. Combine these two thoughts. Engrave them on your brain. Internalize — not memorize, but internalize — them, and you can sell me that yogurt.