Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Learning From Aretha

"...Find out what it means to me." R-E-S-P-E-C-T. If you are ever to be a rare and remarkable seller, one of your calling cards will be a sincere and obvious respect for the customer you do, or would, serve. A clear communication of respect from seller to buyer goes a long way toward lowering the well-built barrier between buyers and sellers. It says, "I know you have concerns and I am here to help you sort them out and find solutions." It says, "You are a person of value and I am sincerely appreciative of the time you are spending with me and will do everything I can to reward you with valuable service." It says, "My work life is about doing everything I can to make yours even more rewarding."

Think for a moment about the all the obsequious, or disinterested, or arrogant (or pick any other number of distasteful adjectives) sales people you've come across recently. Was there anything in your contact with them that made you feel appreciated; respected; cared about? Of course not. And consequently, were you even interested in their expressions of enthusiasm about their product or service? I'd bet not. If there was any conversation at all with these average and all too typical sellers, it was about price. In fact, buyers are so used to being treated as personified wallets, most of the time they make "price" part of the introduction..."Nice to meet you Bob, how much?" or "What do you have for me today?"

When I meet a new prospect for the first time, I'm often greeted that way and my response is always along the following lines: "Ah, you want to discuss a special. I'll have someone get back to you very quickly on that. I thought you wanted to discuss how I might be able to help you grow your business." It's an honest response. I'm just not an average seller. I really am interested in helping people do and get more. I'm devoted to it. Yes, I have needs; personal interests and a family, dog and cat to support. But I have found over the years that taking care of, and respecting the needs of others will result the Shermans, and their pets, doing OK.

I never think of myself as smarter, more successful, more worthy or more anything than the people with whom I deal. The shop owner who spends ten hours a day, six days a week behind a counter to take care of his family is a worthy person, deserving of my attention and respect. And he gets it, naturally. And I'd like to think that because I communicate that respect with my words and body language, he little by little comes to trust me, and little by little the buyer-seller barrier is lowered. And if our work together results in a strategy and plan that includes my services, I am as devoted to him and the successful implementation of the plan as Charlie is to me. Sorry--Charlie is the dog.

A man that says, "Yes, let's do it. When can we start?" is owed every bit of my thinking and energy and attention. I owe him all of my R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Respectfully submitted.

Great Selling!

Serve Not Sell
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