October 23, 2021
April 2008 | Vol. VII - No. 4
How to Sell Without Being a Jerk
Earn Respect (and Money) with Endurance and Gratitude
The following article is excerpted from the new book, “How to Sell Without Being a Jerk: The Foolproof Approach to the World’s Second Oldest Profession,” and appears in TDmonthly Magazine with permission of the author.
Earning respect and earning money are similar, in that everyone loves to have both, yet not everyone is willing to do what is required to earn them. Selling without being a jerk means that you earn both simultaneously.
There is a fine line between selling to people so that they don’t feel they are being sold to and the lesson of Painful Selling Truth #1:
AS SOON AS YOU START TO SELL, PEOPLE CAN TELL
The good news is that if you sell, you are someone who likes a challenge. If you have been selling for any period of time, you have found a way to sell to people and repeat the experience. Everyone, and I mean everyone, can tell when someone else is trying to sell him or her something. Selling without being a jerk acknowledges and revels in that fact — we don’t try to hide it!
OK, time for some bad news (you knew it was coming, right?). Drum roll, please . . . respect is earned! … Yet too many of us neglect to act like we know that respect is something we have to earn in every interaction. Instead, we act as if we believe the opposite. We expect people to respect us because we are good at what we do, or because we are interesting. Unfortunately, neither of these attributes holds the key to being successful in the selling profession, or even to getting into a prospect’s office.
In the same way that music resonates, so do simple gestures designed to show appreciation or gratitude. Nothing goes further in solidifying long-term buying relationships. It is said that the best reward for a job well done is the invitation to perform more work.
As a salesperson, your objective is to get to the next step of the conversation, on an incremental forward-motion path to a long-term buying relationship.
The small gestures of appreciation I make [toward my customers] ensure that I continue to book [speaking and training] dates in the future. Small gestures add up to long-lasting relationships. Here is a short list of some of the most useful and fruitful small gestures I have both delivered and received:
• Thank your customers for buying from you. This can range from giving gifts (appropriate to the person and situation) to the simple (not easy, but simple) act of simply saying thank you. It requires a bit of humility to say this, but this profession is about risk. If you aren’t comfortable saying thank you, this might not be the best profession for you.
• Send your customers a funny advertisement that is relevant to what they do, or what they like.
• Send your customers articles that might be of interest to them from the Wall Street Journal, Time magazine, or any publication.
• Ask their advice about selling within their industry. They may not give you a list of names to call, but they may give you greater insight into the minds of the people in that particular industry, area or specialty.
• Selling without being a jerk means to feel, think, act and regularly evaluate the results of your actions.
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