You’re a salesperson! Don’t believe me?
It doesn’t matter what kind of business you own, what industry you work in or if you are working for someone else – any time you’re talking to a customer or client you are selling. You might not be trading a tangible product for money at that moment, but you are representing a business and asking that individual to invest in it, either with time, resource, energy, emotion or with cold hard cash later down the track.
It’s an important to remember that every customer touch point is an important opportunity to get that person to “buy” into your brand, your people or your service.
Most people think that selling is confined purely to ‘sales’ roles where cash is exchanged for a product – wrong! This precludes all those people who work in design, customer service or communications roles (for example, although there are countless examples) and a big, big part of their job is to effectively communicate to the other people and get a response from them.
OK, let’s break it down to the absolute basics and then I will build it back up. At its heart, Sales is nothing more than seeking to understand needs and wants and effectively communicating a solution. The ‘selling’ part resides in the most part in how effectively you communicate how the solution will resolve the individual’s wants and needs. Now there are several different fancy, persuasive or underhanded techniques that can be used to present a solution but that’s just window dressing; it still remains as a seek - response format.
When it’s broken down like that it’s easy to see how any customer facing role in business is responsible for selling, right? You need to identity the customer’s needs and communicate the right fix in a way that the customer will understand – you could be working for a café, for a plumber or for a church. Everyone here has a “product” and everyone has a “customer”.
So where does marketing come in, I hear you ask. A big (huge) element of marketing is anticipating and then addressing a customer’s needs and wants. Selling is exactly this!
I’ve repeated ‘effective communication’ a fair bit and this is because you can’t possibly sell if you’re unable to articulate how and why the product will help. I like to think of it a little bit like a spider web – you need to draw connections and link together how the different elements interconnect and relate.
For example, a menu can list items with no explanation “eggs, toast, muesli, yoghurt” or a menu can provide small descriptions under each item that give a sense of the flavours that I should expect. Which one would you prefer to order from? As a customer I’d like to know what to expect and pick something that will satisfy my brunch craving.
Now let’s make this a digital marketing example, you’ve got a visitor to your website thanks to a “digital marketing Hobart” search on Google (thanks Google!) but now they’re on your website they’re searching for information on who, what and where you do what you do. Your explanation needs to sell your brand and your product, so they’re compelled to contact you and invest in your business. You would miss the opportunity if you had believed sales was for you anddidn’t effectively communicate how you could address a customer need, .
We know why you’re selling, so let’s tackle what you’re selling. The short answer is everything – it’s the brand, the values, the product, the experience. You are representing your brand, and you want people to walk away from the experience getting a real sense of what your business is, what they can expect and why they should return. It sounds a lot more difficult than it is, you basically just want to match your brand identity, acknowledge and respond. For example, if you’re a swanky, traditional Hobart restaurant responding to a customer who’s wondering if you’re open on Tuesdays you wouldn’t respond “totes!” instead your response would be “absolutely, can I book a table for you?”. This helpful, polite and respectful tone would be more in line with the experience the customer would receive during their meal.
Lastly, this interaction is representing the business and it might be the only chance you get. So, put the effort in to make not just a good impression but a great impression that results in that person telling people exactly what you would hope they tell people about your business. First impressions are made quickly and can be permanent, so you really want to seize the incredible opportunity you have, the reality of social media means that a first impression could be made by a comment on another post, one of your own posts or even a story so make every opportunity count.
To sum up:
If you’re communicating to a customer you’re selling the business – every single time.
Every business is asking people to buy in and make an investment
You get one first impression – make it a damn good one!
I'd love to know if you were all over this 'sales' business or if I have just blown your mind so please leave a comment below.
Who are you & why are you giving me all this awesome help?
Hi, my name is Millie and I’m a Tasmanian digital marketer, word nerd and coffee addict. Squawk Digital is my Hobart based digital marketing studio.
We're all about custom solutions that are highly practical and designed to work with your current structure, processes and workflows. We don't do cookie-cutter, boring arse generic marketing because it doesn't work, and we’re all bored with that shit - you know that’s true.