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For entrepreneurs, selling is life – our selling directly affects our livelihoods and our ability to care for others. Our ability to sell or convince people of an idea (e.g. children eating their broccoli) determines our effectiveness in the role we play. Hence, there should be something for everyone to become a more exceptional salesman and a better persuader.
Related: Why Persuasion Is More Important Than A Great Idea
The best companies do something for the world
Over the past few decades, the term "servant leadership" has led us to remind us that outstanding leadership empowers and equips others to realize their full potential.
Daniel H. Pink, author of bestsellers such as Drive, A Whole New Mind, and To Sell is Human, has suggested that, in the way that many of us understand leadership to be synonymous with servant leadership, we should also understand sales to be synonymous with servant selling.
He said to me, "The presumption is that you are either running a business or doing something good. I don't think so! The best companies do something for the world. We believe that I have to lose to win. But that is seldom the case. I think it's morally and analytically wrong. "
I drew four insights and strategies from our conversation that can lead to stronger conviction and better sales.
Related: Servant Leadership is a philosophy, not a checklist
1. Remember that your business is doing well
One of the basic strategies for better persuasion and selling is to first remember why you are doing what you are doing and what you are selling.
You most likely started your business to offer something, be it a product or a service, to fill a void in people's lives. They wanted to improve their lives in some way. Well. Remember it.
Your product or service makes life better. Convince and sell with confidence and a clear conscience.
2. Think like a scientist
As I learn new things I can be overwhelmed by the multitude of insights, tactics, and strategies. So I asked Pink how to know which option to choose. He said to me, "Think like a scientist … you have to say," I have a hypothesis, I think this framework will work, but let me test it. ""
Just as scientists test and prove their hypotheses, so should business owners test their marketing. Suppose you have two approaches to your next big sales presentation or marketing plan, but you don't know which to choose. Why not spend more time testing your different approaches? It could be as simple as asking your family or friends. Just find some neutral people to experiment with.
When I launch a new product, the first thing I do is create a survey and send it to friends and acquaintances whom I would ideally like to work with. It helps me get an idea of what is related to people and what I may be missing or blind to.
3. Use social evidence
What do you think of when you hear the term "social proof"? I am thinking of brand names and logos that appear on a company's website. But social proof is more than that. Social proof is anything that proves to your audience that you have something in common and that you are part of a common tribe that validates what you are selling.
When you convince someone, be they a customer or a potential mentor, try to bring social evidence into your conversation. Mention how someone you know recently invested in your product or service. Appeal to their relational and social instincts: if they know someone in their tribe trusts you, they will be more likely to trust you too.
When trying to mentor someone, include how you spoke to someone or are friends with someone they consider a peer. Just make sure it's actually true.
4. Focus on one word
"When I say 'Google'", Pink asked me, "which word can I think of? And when I say 'search', which word can I think of?"
When starting a business, developing a brand, or developing a new one, it helps to find your "one word". What kind of word is that that describes your product or service? Is it "Search", "Marketing", "Paper"?
If you are having trouble improving your word, just ask some friends, your customers, or other people. Ask them what word comes to mind when they think about the business.
Sometimes we want us or our business to be something we are not. The sooner we can get over it and hug, the clearer our customers can see us and the more trust they need to buy from us.
Whichever word you find, become that word and become that word.
Related: You're Not Really Bad at Selling: 3 Ways to Earn More Confidence
A better servant seller
Sales and marketing are for everyone. It's for budding entrepreneurs, business leaders, and parents who want their children to eat broccoli.
When our intentions are pure and our product is good, not only do we have a right but an obligation to become a better seller. Remember: your business, sale, and belief are not just a means to a personal end. It is an act of service to another, to another, and to the world.