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What's in a Word?

Posted at 4:03 PM on Sunday, April 10, 2005

My friend Rosa Say on her great blog Talking Story has asked people to weigh in this month on "the Art of the Sale", so here are some of my thoughts.

I've never met anyone that didn't like to buy something. Even if it is someone who doesn't like to go to the mall, or someone who doesn't like to part with their money, EVERYone likes to buy something, be it tangible, or an idea, or something.

On the other hand, many people have stong negative experiences/feelings about being sold. When they hear "sales" they think of buying a car, buying insurance or a telemarketer being a bit too agressive on the phone (apologies to people in these industries, I'm just stating my observations).

The words used and the tactics connected to those words is where the disconnect lies. For many people then, sales or selling is connected with words like manipulation, trickery, force, pressure, tactics, negotiation. Most of those people with those feelings will say they don't feel comfortable in doing sales. No big surprise here.

If people like to buy but don't want to be "sold" then what do they want? I think they want: assistance, help, advice, options, expertise. People don't mind being influenced, they just don't like being forced.

Based on this quick discourse, it isn't surprising that the best salespeople see themselves as experts, consultants, or "assistant buyers." It is why they are successful.

For those who have the negative view of "sales" it is time to get a new set of words in your mind so that you can help serve your Clients and future Clients. Those new words can help you get to your personal art of (and comfort with) sales.
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