advertisement

Personal Finance

Why selling is an art, not science

It is your task to identify the right customers, hold their hand and make them stand up. FILE PHOTO | NMG
It is your task to identify the right customers, hold their hand and make them stand up. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

If we lived in an ideal world, selling would be an absolute science. In an ideal world, buyers would deliberately involve sellers in crafting spec for say, a tender, ahead of advertising it. That way, sellers would accurately resolve the buyer’s problem with the precise product or service.

Alas! It is not so. Instead, to create spec, buyers form committees comprising solely of members of staff drawn from different departments. These committee members are usually of the mindset that they would rather be doing their ‘actual job’ than this extra workload.

Further, lacking a ‘third eye’, they contribute to creating spec from the perspective of their day to day visible symptoms instead of the infrequent ‘invisible’ root causes of it. And so, they tender, for instance, for a course in report writing but when the training starts the trainees complain that what they wanted was a course in just writing.

If we lived in an ideal world, buyer’s would not make statements like, “Call me on Monday”, only for them to proceed on their three-month long leave arrears; they wouldn’t make statements like, “Let me think about it” and remain in a state of perpetual limbo of thought; or, “You’re expensive”, and not reveal compared to whom, assuming there’s a comparison in the first place; or, “The year is over, let’s talk in January.” And yet January will be pushed to mid-February, and likely be in March.

In an ideal world, they would not make these statements, nor would they give a rock-solid appointment, only to hide in the kitchen with instructions to colleagues eager to deliver them that, “When that insurance agent comes, tell him I’m not in”. In an ideal world, buyers wouldn’t make such statements nor commit those acts that deflate sellers; stinging statements and actions that discourage sellers from approaching the next potential buyer (prospect) because the sting makes sellers feel rejected.

In an ideal world every prospect for your product or service would unilaterally follow an adaptation of the musician Eminem’s instruction: “Will the real Slim Shady (prospect, in our case) please stand up!” Buyers would dutifully line up like drought victims at a refugee camp to receive their portion of food. Alas! It is not so. Even most of the buyers that crave your product or service won’t want you to see that they do. They won’t stand up.

So, finding who will buy becomes more of an art than a science. You have an idea of who it can be or is, but not all you approach will buy-many won’t. And, even years later this hit-and-miss will still be your modus operandi. And yet the paradox is, they may not have bought today but can buy tomorrow; so they remain in your sights waiting for you to hold their hand and make them stand up.

If only we lived in a utopia (sigh!)-selling would be so much easier, yes? Well, if we lived in a utopia, then you Mr. Seller would be out of a job.

advertisement