Bring back memories? For many of us, our first exposure to sales is selling something to raise funds for little league or scouting. Unfortunately, the experience is painful mainly because that’s not selling—it’s begging. It’s no surprise we found that unpleasant.
When I talk to folks about selling I usually get the similar reactions.
“I hate having to sell stuff,” they say. “I had to do it when I was a kid. It was embarrassing and frustrating. I can’t imagine doing it to make a living. It’s humiliating.”
I think selling is a natural part of being human. It’s part of the glue that binds us together. It’s no accident that small tribes of early humans became civilized trough trade.
It’s a social skill that can be learned. Contrary to popular belief there’s no such thing as a born salesperson.
When I used to do wait-staff training, I posed a simple question to the servers:
You all work in a restaurant. You wait on people. Your attitude choice is simple. Would you rather be a servant or a salesperson?
Choosing to be a servant is a bit degrading. That choice enforces a feeling of being one-down. It alters the relationship with the customer. I think the bad feeling it engenders is one the root causes of bad service.
There is another choice. If you’re a salesperson, the relationship is between equals. The server is free to offer information at which he or she is expert. In any service industry selling is critical part of the customer’s experience. Whether you’re a consultant or beautician or waitperson, selling is how you communicate your particular expertise. Selling is how you help.
“Hi my name is Jim. Welcome to our restaurant. Here are your menus. Today we flew in our first shipment of Copper River King Salmon from Alaska. Joe, our chef, really looks forward to featuring them. He thinks they’re the finest salmon on the market. They are only available for a short time. He slow cooks them over apple wood coals. I guarantee you’ll love it. ”
Service is fun when you can share the wonder of your product or offering with your client.