Michael Hyatt, Chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers, posted about building a platform when you hate selling yourself. It had some excellent points, and even concludes saying how you’re not selling anything.
It’s all good information and if you haven’t read it yet, I definitely suggest heading over and reading it before continuing here.
Now I’m going to disagree, not with the methods, but with the conclusion. I’ve taken front-line sales job more than once, and I’m actually quite good at it. The key is it’s not the selling that makes you good at sales. If you’re a pusher, people move away and ignore you. They try to avoid what you’re offering, at all costs.
In sales, especially sales that produce returning clientele, it’s about trust. I was good at my job because I got to know my customers, and I did literally everything I could to make sure their experiences were top notch. A mistake in the computer somewhere? I would hunt it down. Hours on the phone or digging through computer records in some cases. Yet, even with such horrid wait times, my customers would come back.
They did more than come back, they started asking specifically for my opinion on their purchase decisions. They knew I didn’t do it for my own gain, I was out to help them. That nature, of reaching out and giving, regardless of what it costs you, is what makes repeat customers.
So, in reality, what Michael is saying is exactly what I think of when I say ‘sales.’ Don’t worry yourself if you think you’re bad at the hard sale, it doesn’t really work anyway! Get to know people, and make them aware of what’s available. Help them out. Make them care about you, and the ‘platform’ and ‘sales’ part is easy.