Increasing Sales in One Easy Step: Another Marketing Lesson from Mr. James

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Increasing Sales in One Easy Step: Another Marketing Lesson from Mr. James

It is easier to sell a person something they actually want.

My late grandfather knew that. While it may sound like James McKie had a keen grasp of the obvious, there are still many otherwise smart business people who appear ignorant of this basic truth. If people know it, why is there such a thriving industry in literature and seminars teaching how to sell?

Why is it so hard? Because selling requires listening rather than talking, which is hard for many of us. It requires sensitivity to another person’s interests rather than total focus on our need to make a sale. And it requires allowing another person to set the agenda rather than controlling and scripting the encounter. These actions are unnatural for many of us.

Mr. James put it rather simply. Folks will tell you what they want if you just listen. It’s hard to sell a fellow a shirt if he really wants a pair of pants. You have to make him try the shirt on, literally holding him down, wrestling with him, and putting the shirt on him against his wishes. No fun for anyone!

The alternative? Listen to the fellow, he wants pants. Hold out a pair and the man will jump right into them. He will find a pair he likes, and everyone wins.

Yes, it sounds awfully downhome. And it is simple compared to some of the complex problems challenging us today. But before you sneer consider this—ever endured a sophisticated, skillfully delivered presentation that totally missed your needs and requirements? You were being sold a shirt. You needed pants.

Perhaps occasionally you have worked with a potential partner who learned about your situation and shared options of how to grow your business or solve a problem. You were being sold pants. And you stepped right into the pants that were what you needed. It’s a comfortable feeling for both parties in the exchange.

The complexity of what we buy and sell can be overwhelming. Fear not, you still need all your technical skill and expertise to sell and deliver your product or service.

But the individuals you sell to still control the transaction and buy what they need, and that is unlikely to change. So listen, find out what people want, and then work hard so they buy from you. Stop wrestling, and start holding out the pants.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]