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Does Selling Suck? (2012-03) Print
March 2012
Selling_suclk.JPGNot everyone is involved in selling.  No, this is not true.  Everyone is involved in selling everyday.  A teacher sells his knowledge to students.  A supervisor sells his help to his subordinates.  A president sells his contributions to the country.  A parent sells disciplines to children. Selling can be interpreted as personal communication, and it certainly includes selling in a commercial sense.  This article is intended to prescribe how we do it professionally.

In the CPD seminar held on 21 March 2012 attended by 25 peers, we presented 5 do's and 5 dont's in selling for discussion.  The points were originally quoted from a book entitled "Selling Sucks" published in 2007 and slightly modified for our peer group environment.  We started with dont's.

1st Dont cold call because it is not cost effective and would give the other person an impression that we are too keen to sell.  Most peers agreed although some did take cold calls as they found gold in a couple of inward cold calls.  Another peer commented that cold calling was one way to let people know what we had to offer. 

2nd Dont go to networking events as we would be networking with other sales people and not with purse string holders.  Some peers did not agree as they obtained business from networking events.  The majority agreed that time was precious and there were more important things to do than going to networking events.  For those who do not know how to do better, networking events may be an option.

3rd Dont be phony when we meet our propect for the first time.  A peer quoted an example of how a phony person behaved.  The majority agreed with this recommendation and a couple commented that being jovial and chatty was essential to gain relationships.

4th Dont lean.  A peer commented that he still paid attention to the prospect (or speaker) even though he may lean.   This has missed the point of perception as the prospect may perceive someone who leans as weak or lacking a good manner.  Powerful people do not lean and they lean when they are in doubt or tired or not focussed only.  Nevertheless peers found this recommendation debatable. 

5th Dont take abuse from the prospect.  A peer said there were genuine reasons to attend to something else in a one to one meeting, but he would ask for permission first.  As such, this peer is not rude at all.  Peers therefore take the recommendation that we should not tolerate abusive behaviours from the prospect. 

The 5 do's are largely about how to position or prepare ourselves better so that we can obtain leads on propects without selling the hard way.  This approach is good but to practise is a different story.  For example, we have to give something to the customer unconditionally of any trading and outside the domain of trading.  Is seminar a way to give?  Does the prospect perceive this as a gift?  To set up a catchment network of leads is also not easy as it will take a long time with invisible return for people who have a short horizon. To raise the personal profile is another task that needs a long time and possibly a lot of efforts.  Paying a commission for referrals could be seen as unethical or even illegal in some circumstances. 

Largely the seminar on 21 March 2012 stopped at what not to do and it did not prescribe how to sell successfully.  Presumably closing the back door is a good first step before we open the front door.

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