Business owners have to be salespeople to some degree (if they want to be successful).
Salespeople are always looking for innovative, low-cost, effective ways to promote their business (if they want to be successful). Social marketing (Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) is one way to do it. (If you’re not doing it, DO IT.)
Sometimes, this results in what international publicist and marketing expert Starr Hall calls “sales b**ching.” Sounds harsh? I thought so too, at first. (I’m not a particular fan of that word, so you get asterisks)
Think about someone you know who constantly product pitches, even if you express little to no interest. They call or e-mail you. A sample of the product or brochure makes its way into your hands. They schedule a follow-up to see what you thought and ask if they can give you more information about it. You use the “I-can’t-afford-it” excuse and they turn it into a “how-can-you-afford-not-to?” If they’re in your “warm market” (people you know, relatives, co-workers or friends), you’re particularly difficult to avoid in certain settings — but they find a way to do it.
For a brief period of time, I was one of these people when my wife and I were involved in an MLM (multi-level marketing business — where you earn more by recruiting people to join your team). I’ve mentioned before that my wife had a friend who would not return her phone calls because she thought she would sales b**ch.
If all or most of what you talk about is your business, you’re guilty. And it should scare you. Ever notice how poor reputations spread much more quickly than a good one?
What’s the solution?
Think like a consumer and hone your sales pitch accordingly. When you go into a store, do you care about the salesperson meeting his/her draw? Not likely. The shopping experience is all about the consumer. It’s not about you. If the salesperson’s pitch was wrong, wouldn’t you leave the store and tell others who might go there about your poor experience?
I found two suits that I really liked at a certain store. A relative offered to buy them for me as an early birthday gift (April 3, mark your calendars, cash and gift cards are welcomed ;)). I left the counter area for a minute and when I returned, the suits were bagged up. I got home only to discover they gave me someone else’s suit.
When I took it back, the cashiers were talking to each other and leaning on the counter. While the manager did take time to find the suit (never found it), he made little effort to try and retain my business. I won’t go back there and I’ve shared the story over and over again. Not to be malicious, but it’s a natural reflex to prevent others from having the same experience.
Please don’t be arrogant and think the opinions of one person don’t matter. A reckless sales pitch to someone who’s not the big spender you want doesn’t affect you immediately. But someone in their circle might have deep pockets. And you’ve just may have lost someone looking for the product you offer by sales b**ching the “little guy.”
For more on this subject, I’d like to recommend reading “Selling Without Selling: 4 1/2 Steps to Success” by Carol Super.
Author Brian L. Thompson is the president of Great Nation Publishing and author of the Christian fiction thriller The Lost Testament, and The Revelation Gate, due for release on June 7, 2011. You can read more about Brian by clicking here