No matter what we do, where we do it, or how we work on making it happen (or avoiding it) – we’re in sales. When we pull up to the keyboard in the morning and hammer out are next great blog post, we are selling. When we schedule our tweets for the week to come, we are selling. We have something to sell and we want people to buy it, whatever form that takes.
The question is, do you know what kind of salesmen you are?
A while back I hypothesized to a co-worker that there are really only three types of salesmen. These are broad categories, and there is a pretty good chance that we have encountered, or impersonated, at least one of them. If you’ve spent any amount of time on Twitter, you’ve surely encountered them all in a very short period of time.
Let’s visit a fictional car lot and meet them.
1) The Boy Wonder
The first salesman is present, but but not much beyond that. He’s selling to the wrong audience, or acting out a part like an programmed robot whether the situation calls for it or not. The most common problem, however, is that this person isn’t aware that he is even selling. Whatever it is that makes him so automated and indifferent, the simple truth is that this salesmen doesn’t sell many cars.
2) The Dirty Mustache
The second salesman is stereotypical and annoying. This is the guy who sells a ton of cars, but is hard to be around. You wonder if people buy from him just to make him go away. In talking to this guy, there’s no question you’re being sold something. You don’t usually like him, but to your dismay you find yourself caving into what he is pitching. He is determined to sell to you, and that’s all there is to it.
3) The Country Club
Last but not least, there is the professional salesmen. He’s good. He sells you a car without you even knowing it. He shows you that you needed the car, that it was exactly what you wanted. By the end the end of the sale, your wallet is lighter and your friend count on Facebook is one person higher. You like him, trust him, and feel good buying from him.
Who do you want to be?
Everyone has something to sell, but most of the time we don’t realize that we are supposed to be selling. We might sell obvious stuff, or services, but fail to see that, if nothing else, we are all at least selling ideas. Convincing the I.T. director to ditch the company Blackberry sometime yesterday is a form of selling. How we go about that sale is the difference between sale and no-sale.
The first salesmen fails, the second get what he wants but eats dinner alone, and the third also gets what he wants – plus a round of golf on the company card. Yes, we must all master our inner tee-master – especially online. How do we do it? How can we become that third type of salesman?
- Embrace the sale. Admit that you are in sales already and pick your poison. Most of us will purposefully steer clear of being the second salesman (hopefully), so if we aren’t trying to be the third salesman, we default to the first.
- Avoid the over promise. The classic mistake is to sell more than you have. Sure, it lets the pitch come easy, but how does it go down? How do you explain delivering a minivan when you promised a limousine?
- Just be helpful. The third salesmen gets what we wants because he actually cares about the customer. He truly believes in what he is selling, and so his buyer believes him in turn. This is a relationship built on mutual trust, and that matters.
No matter what we do, we must all realize that sales is part of our job, and our daily life. We may be selling carrots to a toddler at dinner time, or software to a client at the office, but in the end it is all part of the pitch (or lack thereof). Everything we do boils down to the art of marketing and selling. If we ignore it, either accidentally or on purpose, we will fail. If we embrace it and focus on the helpful sale, we just may surprise ourselves.
Social media is full of salesmen. Which one are you?