Selling Tips: How to Serve Your Customers by Selling to Them

Oct 11 11:46 2007 Molly Gordon Print This Article

Do you do your best to provide value to prospective customers but back away from selling to them? Use these selling tips to explore your attitude to selling and make your business and your relationships with your customers healthier.

LOOK MA,Guest Posting NO WHITE SHOES!

The used car salesmen in white shoes and belt with a loud plaid jacket has become an archetype of selling. As a result, you may -- like me -- have tended to keep sales in the closet, depending on the admiration of your network and the kindness of strangers to bring in revenue.

Do you do your best to provide value without asking for reciprocity? Do you write newsletters, blog, offer complimentary introductory session or other benefits to prospective clients but back away from selling to them?

How thoughtful. How generous. How unhealthy.

Yes, unhealthy. Because when you don't invite your customers to reciprocate, when you don't issue clear, open, and regular invitations to buy, you consign your business to a kind of financial anorexia.

The person suffering from anorexia has a distorted body image, and can languish and even die from starvation, while being convinced that they are fat. What's more, they are convinced that being fat is a fate worse than death (literally).

FINANCIAL ANOREXIA

Do you have a distorted image of what it would mean to profit from serving others? Would it be okay with you if people saw your business thriving? Or do you cling to the notion that somehow starvation is a more artistic or enlightened path? Heaven forfend that your clients or customers would think you are in business for the money!

And of course, you aren't in business for the money any more than a healthy adult lives to eat. Yet, your business needs money just as certainly as you need food, and the more up front, clear, and effective you are at selling, the healthier your business and your relationships with your customers.

Sounds good in principle, but how do you sell effectively without pressuring your customers and alienating your audience? Keep reading.

SELLING TO SERVE

Your customers and clients -- like you -- have a lot more on their minds than whether or not your work can help them. They could be crying out for what you offer, but distracted by slings and arrows of everyday fortune: leaky plumbing, aging parents, boomerang kids -- the list goes on and on.

In order to help them, you'll need to open your mind to selling. How do you keep selling from co-opting your values and your vision? The answer is to build service into sales and vice versa.

TIPS FOR SELLING THAT SERVES

Begin with the end in mind. Stephen Covey had this one exactly right. (If you haven't read his classic 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, it's well worth your time.) Before you sell anything to anyone, remember why you are going to do it.

This first key is the most important. If it is missing, you will run out of steam before you even begin the sales process.

Remember the archetype of the white-shoed car salesman*? It runs deep, and unless you consciously establish the service foundation for selling every time you write copy or tell someone about your work, you risk getting blind-sided by shame. And guess what? As soon as shame starts to burble up in you, your customers pick up on it. Yuck!

Walk a mile in their shoes. What do your "just-right" customers need to know in order to make a decision? What could get in the way? What are the stakes if they fail to act?

How many couples would not be together today if one partner hadn't been willing to hang in there when the other hesitated? If the course of true love doesn't run smooth, why would the course of deciding to buy something that's a good fit?

When you stand in your just-right customer's shoes for a while, you'll see what steppingstones they might need in order to buy something that will truly serve them.

Are those steppingstones for everyone? Of course not. Is that a problem? No, and to find out why not, keep reading.

Dance with no as well as yes. When you are clear about who you are serving and how, open your heart even wider so that people who don't need what you offer or who are not ready to buy, are free to decline. Rather than arming yourself against someone's decision not to buy, open yourself to it.

Imagine a prospective client or customer considering and then deciding against your offer. Watch them closely in your mind's eye without pretending to know what they are thinking. Just watch.

When you let go of what you think that they think about you, what do you see? Do you notice that they are simply taking care of themselves as best they know how? Good. Now notice how your heart eases as you unhook your self-esteem from their choices.

This heart's ease completes the circuit from intention to serve to decision to sell to blessing all of your prospects whether or not they decide to buy. Selling becomes a conversation in which you advocate for those folks who want and can benefit from your work so that they can notice, consider, and decide.

*By the way, I love my car salesman, DJ Dougherty at Peninsula Subaru here on the Kitsap Peninsula. Why? Because he served me in every step of the sales process. Two and a half years after buying "Blanche" from him, I still tell everyone I know about how happy I am with my car and with the process of buying it. How would it be if your customers told their friends about you because they loved the way you sold to them?

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Read more selling tips and articles on price setting on Molly Gordon's website and cast a fresh eye at your pricing strategies.

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About Article Author

Molly Gordon
Molly Gordon

Molly Gordon, MCC, is a leading figure in business coaching, writer, workshop leader, a frequent presenter at live and virtual events worldwide, and an acknowledged specialist on small business marketing. Read Molly's articles on to find out what makes good customer service, and how to serve your customers without burnout, and, while on the site, don't forget to join 12,000 readers of her Authentic Promotion® ezine and receive a free 31-page guide on effective self promotion.

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