Today I want to briefly blog about the secret to selling people their dreams–in three steps. I’d been thinking about this for some time already, and today I think I can pen my thoughts.
Here are the three steps:
Step 1: Listen to the person and be genuinely interested in him/her.
The best salespeople aren’t the most glib. The best salespeople are the most sincere listeners. They make you feel most important.
You know, this year I’d been talking to a lot of brides. They gave me a lot of their time as they shared their experiences with me, some even up to half a day, and trust me, I was really grateful for that! I was also very fascinated by all the pretty gowns, bridal accessories, gorgeous photographs they showed me. Interestingly, I realized that they felt really bad about bothering me, even as I thought I was taking up a lot of their time.
I wondered why. At the end of the day, who is doing who a favour? They seem to think that I did them a favour by listening, but to me they are the very beautiful ladies who have taught me so many things about marriage, weddings, hopes, ideals and aspiration.
So I learnt that the best way to “sell” a bride any material good is to earn their trust via 100% sincerity in listening. The best salespeople listen really closely and give you their 100% attention. They put themselves in your shoes, and as a rule of thumb they’d almost always agree with you. “Ah yes, that is what I would have done if I were you,” those salespeople might have thought with them.
Step 2: Agree, and make them feel important.
I have this partner in crime in Finland, who is super good at the art of agreeing. He’s almost voodoo at it. He works in sales too.
Basically he will sincerely agree with everything you say. He can do this because he genuinely tries to put himself into your shoes. He’d nod, think and see through things via your lens. It’s close to impossible to hate him.
Also this guy is very good at giving people his exclusive attention! He has a way of talking (actually mainly close listening) to you that makes you feel like you’re the only one on earth.
You know, before meeting this partner in crime, I always felt that agreeable and nice people are truly spineless. Because basically I like to be challenged, and I like to engage in very fierce debates. So meeting this dude is truly WEIRD, because I can’t pick a fight with him ever. Yet I learnt something else, too.
Also, my other Chinese partner in crime, him and I–actually are capable of doing the craziest projects together! And I think that’s because he’s very sincerely and not patronizingly agreeable.
Step 3: Intention is everything.
I think the key to selling people their dreams is sincerity in listening, and making people feel important. Listening helps you understand their dreams. Making your clients feel important helps boost their ego and feel good about themselves. Doing all these sincerely makes them like you, as well as you like them, so it’s like a super win-win situation!
That’s really it!
Essentially, the people you are selling to cannot feel that they are being ripped off, or that you’re being an asshole. So perhaps fear tactics work, but only in the short term. So perhaps, always re-frame product attributes to the benefit of your clients, and always be sincere in treating others.
In the past I had problems with wanting to make people feel good about themselves. I thought, if the product/service is so damn good, then why do I need to boost people’s ego? That’s just sucking up to them, right?
But after thinking about it, have you done any sales that didn’t involve the boosting of ego? I actually haven’t. If we were to change a perspective, this phenomenon can be seen not as the “boosting of ego”, but the deep appreciation of even the smallest thing that is special about a person. The deep desire to find out what is important to them. And the condition is that this process of finding out has to be done sincerely.
And why should you sell someone his/her dreams? It is because hope springs eternal. Just take a moment to chew on that. A dream helps a person want to live out a better, if not best version of him or herself.
And I think that’s pretty amazing. 🙂