Tips For Easy Selling

You can earn an income selling

I expect there are as many different ways of selling as there are sales people. This is my way. I've found that I'm more suited to the soft sell, and I believe it’s more conducive to the longer-term sales career. Something similar might suit you. If so, I hope this hub will be helpful to you - and good luck.

What Makes a Good Salesman?

The soft sell approach

When I started selling about 22 years ago, all I wanted was a part time job to supplement my income. Yet, selling has helped to keep me fed, housed, and paying tax, and it’s all I do for a living now. So, assuming there's something to sell, and some prospective customers, what tips would I give to anyone wanting to earn an income this way?

First, you have to ask your customer some basic questions like, “What particular product would you like to look at?” Note, that in keeping with the soft sell approach, you’re asking them to look at things; you’re not selling them anything - yet.

They might reply, “I don’t know; you tell me”.

Don’t tell them. If they don’t know, how would you know? They’ll eventually decide themselves - that’s their job.

Ask more questions like, "How do you intend to use this product? How do you think it will benefit you?" Don’t jump to conclusions, keep asking questions, and the conclusion will come.

Some people have ideas fixed in their minds - even when they don’t realise it. You might need to ask, if they would consider other options. Give your time freely. If you see them moving towards an unwise decision, tactfully point out the pros and cons; don't just move in for the sale. With the soft sell, you're trying to build up a loyal customer base.

Trust
Trust is the glue that holds people together. It’s the most effective trick in the book, if you want to build a lasting career in sales. When your customers know they can trust you - you won’t need to be pushy, or to use deceit or misleading ads to earn your living. Eventually, you might find you don’t need to advertise at all.

Be honest. Be reliable. Be consistent. Be amenable.
With prices, make sure everyone gets the same, fair deal; don’t barter, just cut to the chase. That way if people look you in the eye and ask, “Is that your best price?” You can say yes, and no one will catch you lying - because you're not.

Don’t try to sell something just because it’s more expensive - to get a bigger commission. Don’t sell something inadequate either - just because you’ve jumped to the conclusion that they want the cheapest option. (Even when they say, they want the cheapest.)

If you say you’ll do something - do it, or, say you’ll do your best, but never promise what you might not be able to deliver: - under promise, over deliver.

No matter what your competitors get up to, stick to the highest possible set of principles - it pays in the end.

When people are spending money, don’t try to rush them. If they say, they can’t decide - that’s an opportunity for you to show you’re on their side. Tell them to take their time, because it’s important that they choose the most suitable product.

You can help them do that, by asking more questions.
Ask your customers about their two favourite topics: them and your product. We all like talking about ourselves, (unless we’ve something to hide). Right now, their second favourite subject is your product, because they think it might benefit them.

Listen and attend to their concerns first - return to your’s later.
Listen carefully to each answer. Firstly, because it’s good manners and people don’t like buying from ignorant oinks - but also because the more talking they do, the more they will reveal about their life, and how it relates to the products you have to offer them.

‘Manners maketh man’.
If they butt in while you’re talking, stop and listen - it's their show, and they know what concerns them. Practice this with everyone you talk to - even your spouse (don’t overdo it with your spouse, she/he might get suspicious); it’s a valuable people-skill. If you need to make a vital point, return to it later. Write it down if you have to.

Soft selling = making friends
Soft selling is largely about building long-term relationships with your customers. You'll mostly find that a call from a previous customer, asking for advice about your products and services, feels like getting a call from an old friend. However, sometimes you'll get the odd difficult customer; that's life - and like all areas of life, we have to have standards, and to know where to draw the line. Don't let people bully you; stick to your principles; being civil, respectful and amenable is not the same thing as being subservient. Your services or products, and your customers' interest in them, is a mutual thing.

How do I close the sale?
Don't worry too much about selling. They’ll buy - when they’re confident that they’re doing the right thing, buying from you.

© Copyright David B. McBain 2012. All rights reserved.

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Comments 20 comments

Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 5 years ago from US

Gee I guess you can't share more? I have looked into selling seriously and what products I had interest in wholesale were ridiculously high. My daughter-in-law started bidding for writings for sites and makes about $300 an article, that is good but it is not something that would make me happy. I am getting ready to put two sites up and I thought maybe from those an idea would arise. One will have stories like the one you just read of mine plus and then the other will be more child related but as an adult I love it too. I want to feel good about any product I might have but here in the states it is so complicated. Some states make you charge sales tax-some don't. I guess I just want to make money having fun, lol. I have labored about all I want to or feel like.


Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 5 years ago from US

I just listened to the videos...very good. Having had real businesses most of my adult life I know I was a good sales person, never pushy. I just need to put that over into internet sales once I find what I have confidence in...Thanks


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Hi Polly,

Yes, it’s difficult to get things started. I wouldn’t know where to start on the web - certainly not writing articles, I’ve made £4 in 18 months; it doesn’t even cover the cost of a week’s internet. Yet I suppose the internet is the future, and I suspect that the soft sell approach will work just as well on the web as anywhere. After all, all kinds of people use the internet.

I liked these videos too. I was surprised, when I googled (something like) ‘youtube soft selling’, to find a video that so closely demonstrated what I was trying to say. It seems I’m not so outrageously different from the rest of the human race after all.

Have you checked out the craft web sites, like Etsy? There are quite a few sites like that, but I don’t know what the competition is like. If you like making things by hand, it might be worth a try.

The best of luck anyway - and thanks for dropping by and commenting.


Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 5 years ago from US

You are welcome. No my daughter-in-law does that too and I don't think it's really worth the effort. I just want a miracle I guess and I kind of have a plan I am not sure of but basing it on something a kid did a couple of years ago and came out with over a million a year, so young her mother had to take the business end over. We should be so lucky, huh?


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Yes, I thought it would be difficult to make anything out of these sites. You'd have to be very original, I suppose - and then you'd have all the hassle of shipping and customers complaints. It's all a bit soul destroying for a generation who grew up when jobs were ten-a-penny. We need either a miracle or a radical change to society. (That would be a miracle.)


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 5 years ago from UK

Hi amillar, my background has mostly been in sales, too. I've sold training, books, jewellry, and houses. Like you, I don't have any wish to sell people things they neither want nor need. I like your advice. I'd always rather buy from someone I like and trust than some fly-by-night smart Alec whose only interest is in their commission cheque.

Happy New Year to you BTW!


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Morning Amanda,

"Fly by night", just about sums it up. Short-termism is another expression I've heard used to describe the way some big businesses operate. They grab the assets, and leave a wasteland in their wake. Then we’re told that the problem is that we’re not working long enough or hard enough, when they reality is the harder we work, the harder they outsource and asset-strip.

Anyway, the High Street is on its way out, and so is much of local industry. I don't know what things are like in your part of the world - we’ve almost nothing left now. (It’s being so cheerful that keeps me going.)

Thanks for looking in on me - and Happy New Year.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

Excellent article and advice. I got over shyness and became a Mary Kay consultant and became a Sales Director after two years. I think the approach somewhat depends on the product. Many of the questions about when and how one uses cosmetics would be superfluous, but the principles of concern for the customer hold true. And when the majority of customers are women buying non-essential (but highly desired & used) products, the approach is a bit different, too. I enjoyed it. And I enjoyed your hub immensely!


neeleshkulkarni profile image

neeleshkulkarni 5 years ago from new delhi

am i glad i found someone whose selling philosophy agrees with mine. i been selling first as a first line sales person for five years and then as an entrepreneur for 25 and have never ever resorted to the hard sell.

all my products have repeat income value and maintaning long term relationships with clients has resulted in them being more friends than clients. they know my company will look after their interests in the best possible manner.ALL my new business is either from references by older clients or repeat business from existing clients and absolutely no advertising is required. i do not even have to set a price point as in most cases the clients just call up and ask a particular job be done/product suplied and we go do it and bill them and the payment comes through without hassles.

no sales calls are made as even new references are so much presold on us before they come to us that no convincing is ever required.a typical client call consists of an hour talking about family, politics , weather or books followed by 5 minutes of business talk before departing.i am glad to report we have 70% of the business coming from 20 plus year old clients in a 25 year old business.when competitors call on them they are politely told to go away without even making a presentation.

i agree and emphasise that all along it is ME they are buying not the product or service and I have got to be totally reliable and honest.with clients giving you so much honestly where is the need to cheat???


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Hi neeleshkulkarni,

I suppose there are as many ways of selling as there are sales people, and we all have our own different approach. I think much of the hard selling methods, the deceitful ads etc, come from the big organisations; the people at the top of the organisation have no empathy with either their sales staff or their customers or clients. People, who have to interact with real human beings, tend to act more human.

Although I sell for a large organisation, which has no compunction, I've never let their values supersede mine. This has led to some difficult situations when I've often felt insecure, and ready to start up on my own. However, it's never come to that, and, I've constantly refused to sign any contacts that would put me in a position where I would lose that option.

So I've stuck to my values, and I've stuck to my independence, but it hasn't been easy. Yet I believe it's only been possible because of a customer base, built on those very values we both share. Whenever I'm put under these pressures, I know, and I make it clear to them, that I do not rely on their dodgy advertising to survive, and that because I refused to sign their dodgy contracts, I could go it alone if necessary. They've always back-pedalled so far, and with only a couple of years to go before I get to retiring age, I doubt if I'll start up anything now.

We're all different, but I agree with your philosophy, that we should look after the customers, and they'll look after us - and we need concern ourselves with little else.

Thanks for your visit, and for your encouraging comment.


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 5 years ago

Great post! Great points. I was in retail for years and was always too busy to learn! God bless.


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Hi Micky,

Better being too busy to learn, than too busy learning to be busy. (I think I know what I mean, but please don’t ask me to explain.)

Thanks for dropping by.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa

Selling has never been a trong point of mine. Have done a bit but was glad to get out of it again! Your Hub though makes a lot of sense. I was trained in the SPIN model which uses a questioning process very similar to the one you have outlined here.

I think the term used for this kind of selling is "relationship selling" where the focus is on the longer-term buying-selling relationship rather than the quick sell. Usually the higher the ticket price of the item being sold the more effect such methods are.

Thanks for sharing from your valuable experience.

Love and peace

Tony


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Hi Tony,

"The SPIN method" sounds like something politicians do; I'm not buying. It looks like an acronym. (It's obvious how little I've studied the subject - the story of my life.) One thing I know is I never want to make a living by deception. In today's social climate, that's maybe asking for too much luxury, by way of peace of mind, but what the hell - as long as I'm getting away with it.

Love and peace of mind. Thanks for looking in on me.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

I sold Avon years ago,after I was first married, door to door,dog nipping at my heels, I sure know I will never do anything like that again.


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Hi Jackie,

I wouldn’t like selling Avon either - but if I had to do it to survive, I’d probably apply the same principles as I’ve described above.

Thanks for visiting, and your comment.


toknowinfo profile image

toknowinfo 5 years ago

Great hub. In addition to being a good salesman, you are a good teacher and a good writer. Thanks for sharing. Rated up and useful.


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Hi toknowinfo,

Thanks for dropping by and for your kind comments - I appreciate it so much.


Juliet Owen 4 years ago

Many thanks! I like your article very much

Kind regards


amillar profile image

amillar 4 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Thank you for reading and for the kind and encouraging comment Juliet.

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