Are you a “sales grinch?” DON’T BE!

I HATE being sales pitched. I HATE sales pitching (at least in the traditional sense). More and more, I’m experiencing sales “grinches.” What’s a “sales grinch”? You know who they are. I am a reformed sales grinch. You might even be one.

If so, let me persuade you to change your ways.

Sales grinches exist in all walks of life: retail, public and private sectors. They’re the people who “sell, sell, sell” by telling you “buy, buy, buy.” You may need what they have or even want it, but their approach totally turns you off. 

You can see the sales grinch coming a mile away. They have a look to them, especially if they sense you have a need or a want and whatever they’ve got can fulfill it. They lead with “you should buy this,” which tells you the sales grinch cares about the sale, first and foremost — not the consumer (you).

Say you’re, I don’t know, an independent publisher selling a book. You want people to buy it to support your fledgling writing career, right? There’s a stranger in your midst, and they are reading from a Kindle, which signals to you that they like to read. You walk up to them, and say, “Hi, I’m an author and my book, ‘Blah Blah Blah’ is available for $5.99 in the Kindle Store. Would you mind checking it out?”

“Sure,” they say, which loosely translates: if I say yes, will you go away? Silly consumer! Sales grinches don’t leave until they make the sale, or you mace them (kidding!).

You, the sales grinch, take the “sure” as in they’ll do it now, because common sales psychology says if you don’t close the sale right then, right there, the odds are sky high that they never buy. So, you stick around.

This particular reader tells you that they’re in the middle of an important chapter (READ: Go away) and that they’ll check it out once they’re done (READ: I’ll never do it. EVER). You drop a business card, which they take (READ: I’m throwing this away as soon as you’re out of my line of sight). The sales grinch walks away, onto the next consumer. Now, not only does the reader not buy your book, but he/she spreads the word about your pushiness. And trust me, bad word-of-mouth is MUCH worse than a non-sale.

So, how do you increase your odds of getting the sale? Let’s revisit the same scenario, which I’ve actually tried and had some success with:

I’m an independent publisher selling a book and want people to buy it to support my fledgling writing career. I notice that one of my Facebook friends says “I just got a Kindle. What books should I check out?” That signals to me that they like to read, and they may be open to reading something by me since we know each other.

I comment on the thread and say, “Hey friend, my new book is coming out soon, and I’d love it if you would take a look at the first few chapters for free and tell me what you think.” The friend responded with, “Not only will I check it out, but I’ll buy it and read it” and she did.

I wasn’t a sales grinch. I introduced my product to her FOR FREE and let the product do the rest. They do it a grocery stores all the time: someone prepares a dish that the store is selling and they give you enough of it to get you hooked, but not to fill you. The only time I pass up a free sample is if I’m full or it’s not a food I would eat even if it was free. That’s important: know your audience. If they have diabetes, don’t sell them a dessert high in sugar.

One last thing: don’t be a sales grinch to your family members either. They can’t help that they’re related to you. Casually let them know what you’re up to, and if they want to support you, they will. Be blessed and well talk soon.

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. You can read more about Brian by visiting his author site.

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