I recently completed a two-day sales seminar created by my friend Russell Gray of the Real Estate Guys Radio Show. Why would a real estate operator, investment manager, and physician attend a sales conference? Because sales, when done right, is so much more than “making a sale.” It’s about building relationships and helping people.
The word “sales” conjures up different reactions for each person. Often the image that comes to mind is the fast-talking guy in the rumpled suit who is telling you that he has a “special deal” that is only for you because he likes you so much. Of course, that deal is only available today and if you don’t act fast, it will be gone. That is not sales.
My friend Robert Kiyosaki, author of the best-selling business book, Rich Dad Poor Dad, says that everybody must learn to sell. If we think about it objectively, most of us sell in one way or another every day. Parents sell to their kids, and vice versa. Employees sell to their bosses and bosses sell to staff. As a physician, I also sell every day. My office décor and my front desk staff make the first impression and my greeting and attire are the next things the patient sees. For better or worse, people judge on appearance.
The next step is where real sales diverge from the common perception. Doctors begin to ask questions to solve the patient’s problem. A good salesperson does the same. Sales is simply finding a need and then producing a solution that will solve someone’s needs, wants and desires. Sales is not about the seller or the product – it’s all about the client or the customer. A good salesperson will solve the client’s problem whether it puts money in his pocket or not. Sometimes the best solution to your client’s problem comes from another source.
As an example, we recently had a potential investor interview us at Presario Ventures. As we talked and discovered his goals, it became evident that he wanted to learn some new things and take the next step in the investment world. Based on my connections, I introduced him to another group that I thought would be a perfect fit for him. Months later, I ran into him at this very same seminar. He had attended the workshop I had suggested and liked the people so much that he signed up for a second event. He has not invested with us yet, but I have helped him and made a new friend.
So, don’t be afraid of salesmen. Learn how to spot the ones that are only thinking of themselves and their own profit. Show them the door. Once in the presence of a true salesperson, you will want them beside you. They will be there to solve your problem, whatever it is. A true salesperson will strive to discover your needs and find the solution, whether it benefits him or not. If you have a real need, he will be your ally.