By Rob Weinberg
How can I sell more?
— Bill Jennings
Confession time; I hate to sell.
When I worked at New York’s Greenapple Sales Promotion I bought 10 gorgeous green apples every Monday. I’d wrap them in green tissue paper, box them with cards saying “Take a Bite and Call Us”, and ship them to sales prospects. Then I’d make follow-up calls to people who thought we were a grocery store, trying to persuade them they needed our services.
To this day I hate selling stuff people don’t REALLY need.
So…if I won’t sell, how do I get people to buy from me (which I DO want) unless I do the icky stuff? I build relationships instead.
Take yesterday, for example. I met Raoul at September’s mini golf event, and we had coffee and danish to better acquaint ourselves.
Our expected 30-minute discussion took two hours. We joked, talked family, and finally (90 minutes in) he asked me what I did.
I took a few minutes to explain my agency’s services and how we might help his business grow. Neither of us felt I was trying to “sell him,” since we already knew each other pretty well.
By this time we’d talked about writing books, raising kids, and his height (6 feet, 9 inches!). I’d told him stories about clients so greedy for danish they’d cancel afternoon appointments and reschedule for the next morning knowing I’d bring pastries with me.
In other words, we had a rapport before talking business.
Let me repeat my mantra — people buy from those they know, like and trust.
Regardless of what you sell, customers are buying their relationship with you. They’ll travel a little further, or spend a bit more, because the service is better, people more accommodating, and they feel like they’re among friends.
As the relationship deepens, they’ll turn to those friends for advice about other things. They’ll ask marketers for referrals to interior decorators, or accountants for names of a mechanic.
Raoul and I may work together. If I can’t service his needs, he knows I’ll refer him to someone I trust.
And he understands I’ll help him without selling him anything he doesn’t need.
But isn’t that what friends are for?
With that said, I wish you a week of profitable marketing.
Mr. Marketing has spent 30 years building solid client relationships. Learn more about his strategies at www.askmrmarketing.com.