Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Selling Is Sleazy - Or Is It?

You say sell and people think sleazy. 

They picture Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman or Herb Tarlek of WKRP in Cincinnati. They remember Alec Baldwin's classic performance in GlenGarry Glen Ross. They think used car salesmen in plaid pants and a mismatched tie attempting to sell them a lemon.

And if they are not old enough to remember any of that - they still scrunch up their faces and scowl. 

The word 'sell' continues to conjure up images of inauthenticity and old school marketing tactics.

But not for me. I know better. I know that learning how to sell - especially in today's new economy - is essential if you want success. 

Selling is the cornerstone of commerce and has been since the beginning of time. Without something to sell, we have no economic model. Without someone to sell it there is no money earned. And last time I checked - that is the currency we use so we may put food on the table and a roof over our heads. 

There is no doubt that how we sell (like just about every other profession and industry) is in a state of disruption. Customers are more educated than ever before. And in the age of noise, we all hate - more than ever - to feel as if we are being pushed.

But the truth is that in today's brave new digital world - whether we want to admit it or not - we are selling every day. 

All of us. 

If not a product, we are selling ourselves. Through social networks and at cocktail parties. To our bosses, our employees, our husbands or wives. To that guy who might be the new boyfriend. 

Selling only becomes sleazy when 
- you don't believe in your product or service
- you don't believe in yourself. 
- there is no real value to what you are selling. 
- you try to convince someone to buy before you know if it will solve their problem.
- you don't know what their problem is and/or don't care.
- your product or service has no real use - to anyone.
- your "spin" has become so far spun that it is no longer authentic. 
- you are so busy talking you have forgotten to listen.

Selling is not just about taking the order. It's about understanding  people and their appetites. It's about creating need and filling that need. It's about understanding problems and offering solutions. It's about learning to tell a story that engages.

Nothing sleazy about that in my book.

Note- I will be speaking on why sales is a critical skill at BlogHer Pro in San Francisco October 22-23 !

BlogHer Pro is for professionally-minded online influencers interested in taking their business, marketing and technical skills to the next level. If that's you - sign up today!

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