I was walking toward my door after coming home from work, and my 7-year-old neighbor was standing outside. She said, “Hi, would you like to buy chocolate for $1 to help raise money for my school? I have milk chocolate, almond, and caramel.” Bam! I bought two, one for me and one for my lady. It was only $2, she’s a nice kid, and I knew it would help her out.
If I could change one thing about her pitch, I would rephrase it to make it a statement rather than a question, but other than that—pretty solid. She told me what she was selling, what the options were, how much it would cost, and why she was selling it. I usually never buy chocolate because it’s delicious, and if it’s around I will eat it all—no matter the amount.
After some retrospective thought, here’s what she taught me:
Lesson #1: People can’t buy if they don’t know you’re selling.
I never would have knocked on her door and asked to buy chocolate from her, she had to tell me she was selling it. Just as importantly, she came to me where I was, I didn’t have to go looking for her.
Lesson #2: Potential customers are closer than you think.
Often times I become so caught up in the online hunt for new customers that I forget about the network I’ve already established, and that they might be interested in what I have to offer.
Lesson #3: If people like you, they’re more likely to buy from you.
People want to help people they like—it’s human nature. If my neighbor was rude to me all the time, I would have had no problem saying no.
Lesson #4: Be clear about the options and prices.
I used to be very vague about what I charge for consulting or freelancing unless I knew every detail about the project. I wouldn’t even ballpark for fear of being too far off. The problem with that is there was no way for the customer to say yes or move forward. What I started doing is providing a range or per-hour pricing, and that’s made me more money.
Lesson #5: Sell the benefit, not the product.
She didn’t say, “Buy this candy, it’s edible.” She told me it would raise money for education, and that’s why I bought some. People buy running shoes because they can help them on the journey to getting healthier, not because they fit on their feet. The benefit is ALWAYS why customers buy things.
What are some lessons you’ve learned about sales?