January 24, 2018

Always Be Helping: How to Sell to People Who Don’t Want to be Sold

BY Caitlin Delohery IN Relationships, Sales and Marketing 0 Comment

You’re probably familiar with what it’s like to interact with folks who don’t want to be sold to. You can be giving your best pitch or just making small talk, but the only response you get from them is:

Your potential customers know when they are being sold to. They know when you have your own goals and needs in mind. The good news is, because they are so savvy, they also know when you are thinking of them first.

Here’s how to always be helping in sales.

Recognize the signs that they don’t want to talk sales.

Before you can focus on what your buyers do want, you need to get rid of the behaviors that push them away.

When you’re at a party or networking event, you take verbal, nonverbal, and behavioral cues to judge how interested someone is in your conversation.

The same is true for your leads:

  • They try to give you the slip with fake contact info.
  • They rush to get off the phone with you.
  • They avoid you by not returning your phone calls.
  • They ignore your emails and texts.
  • They refuse to meet with you.
  • They give you verbal cues that they don’t see the value you provide.

When someone is going out of their way to avoid you, stop and rethink your approach.

Build relationships instead of making sales.

Part of what your reluctant contacts are avoiding is the inauthenticity of sales interactions. If you are focused entirely on making a sale, you aren’t seeing them as unique people and you aren’t interacting in a genuine way.

Instead of thinking about “making sales,” think about building relationships.  

  • Be present. Practicing mindfulness helps.
  • Listen to your contacts. Two ears, one mouth → listen twice as much as you talk.
  • Dialogue. Don’t talk at them, talk to them.
  • Ask for feedback. You don’t have to guess — ask them what they want and then give it to them.
  • Show your appreciation for them. A little genuine gratitude can go a long way.

Look for opportunities to provide value.

One of the great things about these relationship-building techniques is that they give you deep insight into what value looks like for your prospects and customers.

So, instead of hunting for ways to make a sale, look for ways to provide what your customer needs. Hint: what your customer needs is not necessarily your product.

  • Create insightful articles, white papers, eBooks, and other content that answers questions, informs their choices, and provide useful data.
  • Make your user experience easy and thoughtful.
  • Surprise them with anything delightful — from discounts to fun. A laugh is sometimes more valuable than a coupon.

Go out of your way to help.

When you are building a relationship-focused business, your currency is helping. Look for ways that you can help your customer, rather than looking for how they can help you.

  • Be there even when you think a sale is off the table. Don’t drop your contacts just because they’ve told you no.
  • Donate your time. Go out of your way to help prospects solve problems.
  • Offer your expertise. You’ve built a knowledge base in your industry — be sure to share it with your contacts.
  • Give your money. Donating to good causes isn’t just a great way to give back. It shows your prospects — even the reluctant ones — what your company is made of.

Looking for more ways to help? Check out our article on how giving helps you sell more.

Caitlin got her roots in inbound marketing before it got its name. As a teenager in the 90s, she promoted her independently published magazines by writing about the importance of indie publishing all over AOL. Now, Caitlin is passionate about moving people and society forward. She follows thought leaders in the National Speakers Association, the staffing industry, and all human rights movements. She loves learning and helping people learn.

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