HARDISON’S TIPS – DECEMBER 23, 2020 – Invaluable Sales Tips From a Former Door-to-Door Salesman
3. Don’t try to convince.
This seems counterintuitive, but it’s essential. If you go into sales thinking that you need to “make” people buy, you’ll fail. Unless you’re a cute little kid selling cookies in the street for a dollar, pressure isn’t going to work. People see what you’re doing, they don’t trust you, and they don’t believe what you’re telling them.
Instead, get to know people. Your mission is to understand them. What are they going through? What are their ambitions and needs? Focus on them, first and foremost. The product comes second.
Once you understand their story, you can connect the dots for them. You can show them how what you’re selling can genuinely help solve their challenges and make their lives easier.
Also, the more you get to know individual prospects, the clearer sense you’ll get of the types of customer who are more likely to buy your product – and the kind of pitch they each need.
The books I was selling were for parents to help children with subjects in school. I learned to gauge an entire street in advance to get a sense of how many families with kids likely lived there. And I learned to tell from the height of a basketball hoop what age the children likely were, so I could tailor my pitch for parents of elementary school kids, middle schoolers or high schoolers.
4. Be gracefully direct about next steps.
If someone is seriously considering a buy, you need to get structured about making it happen. This requires finesse. A prospect might need to bring the offer to others at his or her organization, or discuss it with the CEO. So they might say, “Let us think about it internally and then get back to you.”
Don’t leave it there. Selling door-to-door, I learned that they key is to ask new questions out of sincere interest — not out of pushiness. I might say, “Sure, absolutely. If you don’t mind me asking: What is it that you want to think about most?” Potential buyers respond well to curious people.
I also asked early in the conversation whether the person I was speaking with would generally make this kind of purchase decision alone or with a spouse. If it were the latter, I’d save time and come back later to demonstrate the product.
This same idea applies to phone calls. Feel free to ask a prospect early on who else may need to weigh in. At the end of a call, ask: “When do you see yourself talking about it internally and when could we connect again?” Be as specific as possible about the agreed next step.