We’ve all heard the sayings about salespeople… A good salesman could sell ice cubes in a snowstorm, sawdust to a carpenter, stilettos to a snail… Sales guides such as ‘How to Sell Anything to Anybody’ are brought in their droves, as though the marker of a good salesperson was their ability to sell against all odds. I may be in the minority here, but the salespeople I work with have turned this aged perception on its head. The skill of sales is not in ‘selling against the odds’, but in putting the odds in your favour– finding the market, the people, the timing to perfectly and strategically connect your product with the audience it was designed, created or coded for so that both thrive. Unless you’re selling a product that is doomed from conception, all products whether SaaS, software, hardware, or otherwise, were coded or created to fulfil a genuine need. It’s connecting and finding those who need your product, that mark a good salesperson.
Having specialist knowledge of the product you’re selling makes finding and connecting your audience with your product all the more synchronous.Of course, there are transferable skills that salespeople will possess regardless of the product or audience they are selling to. Skills that all good salespeople will practice as second nature such as being about to foster trustworthy relationships, actively listen, drive enthusiasm, vision and honestly explain how your product fulfils their needs. But that doesn’t mean that a good salesperson should be able to sell you a biro in an interview. A good salesperson will do their due diligence to fully understand their audiences’ needs and how their product can help. And who would want the alternative? Best case scenario you’ll be selling your product to people who do not have a genuine need for it, resulting in no positive word of mouth or energy for the product and presumably no continued subscription or repeat purchases. The worst-case scenario is an inevitable avalanche of wasted hours trying to contact people that quite simply, aren’t interested. I’ve read before that “the best salespeople know what type of answer they are looking for before they ask a question”; it reminded me of one of my favourite quotes: