October 22, 2016
How Giving Helps You Sell More
Take a minute to imagine a “salesperson.” If you’re anything like me, you imagined a used car salesman in a tweed suit jacket or a smooth-talking, cologne-soaked peddler of mysterious tonics. These images typically come along with the perception of pushy, deceitful individuals, working in their own self-interest to close more deals. In short, takers.
Now imagine what would happen if we flipped the script. If salespeople were known as givers instead of takers. Contrary to what some people might think, the more you give the more you get.
First, let’s define what we mean to give in sales.
What does giving mean in sales?
Giving means focusing on the customer, not on yourself. Instead of thinking about how to best sell your prospects, think about how you can add value and improve their life. This requires getting to know your prospects beyond the scope of your product or service. Find out what else they’re struggling with and how you might be able to help.
Sound difficult? You’d be surprised what you can find out about people just by asking. Once you widen the scope of the conversation from “How can I sell?” to “How can I help?” it opens the door to so many more questions.
- Who are you looking to meet right now?
- How are you getting adjusted to your new town?
- What’s the biggest challenge in your life?
Why give in sales?
Giving builds trust
The immediate benefit of thinking about your prospect’s needs first is that it builds trust. Trust is the backbone of any good relationship, and it comes free when you give freely.
The prospect in any sales relationship typically comes with a healthy dose of skepticism. Is this product right for me? Is this salesperson looking out for my best interests? Etc.
When you focus on giving, you prove that your motivation goes beyond your prospect’s checkbook. It shows them that you can be trusted. I’ve even gone so far as to suggest a competitor’s product or service if it’s the best fit. Then, if you recommend your product, they know it’s because you genuinely want to help them. This goes a LOOOOONG way in closing a sale.
I’m sure all you salespeople out there have experienced this. You KNOW your product will save your prospects time | money | energy, etc., and that it’s a fantastic fit. But they still question it. You can’t explain enough how confident you are that your product will help them. But they’re still skeptical.
Your prospects doubt your motivation because you haven’t earned their trust.
Giving builds reciprocity
The more you help people, the more they want to help you. It’s just human nature.
I have people in my network who’ve introduced me to hundreds of people, without ever asking for my business. As a result, I’m passionate about helping them and I refer business to them every chance I get (and feel great about it). I do this because 1) they’ve helped me so much and 2) because I know they won’t hard sell anyone I introduce.
Giving injects you into the conversation
If you’re making an introduction between people in your network, you bet they’re going to chat about how they know you. If you’ve made a positive impact, you bet they’ll chat about that too. This will make them see you more positively, and it will build goodwill. Goodwill helps people like and trust you more, which in turn helps you close more deals.
Oh and giving feels good!
Giving has many health and emotional benefits. Giving makes you happier. It’s good for your health and it actually benefits your brain. I could tell you more, but I imagine that you all know this intuitively.
How do you give in sales?
Giving in sales isn’t so different from helping a friend who needs your advice. You want to put the other person first and spend some time in their shoes. Ask: What are they struggling with? What do they need? How can I brighten up their day?
Giving builds your sales empathy, which — surprise, surprise — is also a massive tactic for closing more sales.
Here are a few specific ideas for how you can give in a sales relationship.
- Make useful introductions – Build a robust network and cross-introduce as you see needs arise. Maybe Jane needs a roofing contractor and you have just the one!
- Share helpful articles – Look to the needs or interests of the network around you.
- Send actual gifts – Sometimes a small gift can make a big difference in someone’s life.
Giving is the best tool you could possibly add to your sales stack. It’s easy, it’s free, and you can start using it right now — no credit card required.
I’d love to hear how you give, and what your experiences have been as a result of giving!