June 29, 2016
I recently began re-trying my hands on selling. I enjoy it. The feeling that you made profit is a glorious experience. Back in school I used to be a little wary of selling because there was this feeling that I had taken money away from someone. Blessing, a close friend and fellow member at Nigeria Fellowship of Evangelical Students shared the same concern. Something in our consciences was telling us there was something wrong with taking money away from people even though we were giving them something back. It was so bad for me that I eventually sold my goods at such ridiculous prices that the businesses did not last.
For example, when I sold Engineering Drawing paper in Year 2, after the first batch was sold, I use part of the profit to buy drinks and snacks for my roommates. I guess I was trying to pacify my consciences by sharing profits! I don’t remember buying another batch of drawing paper for sale. In final Year I did MS Visio Drawings and MS Excel Charts for year mates for about NGN500 per job. A certain lady turned back disappointed when I told her the price. I felt so guilty, how would students listen to all my preaching if I was taking money away from them; fellow students who had such little money anyways. Funny enough I later learnt that someone in town was doing the same Visio drawings for NGN2000! I will not tell you how many people owed me permanently when I tried to sell airtime during my service year in Ekiti State.
You see, selling is a fundamental skill for anyone aspiring to be an entrepreneur. The other two key skills are counting and what was it that Strive mentioned again? Oh let’s leave that part. There are less conventional selling scenarios other than simple trading which make e believe everyone sells at some point or another. When you sit before an interview panel, you are trying to sell yourself. When you make a presentation to your boss, you are trying to sell an idea. When you pick up your paycheck at the end of the month, you have sold your time. Everyone sells.
Buying! A successful salesperson is one who has closed the loop by getting actual buyers. Why should someone buy your product? In my experience there are possible reasons:
1. They like you
2. They really like your product
3. They have a lot of spare cash
4. They are adventurous
5. You are a good talker
I believe a combination of these factors can make you a good salesman. How many people like you? Can you make them buy because they like you? Can you make friends easily? What are you trying to sell? In case you are selling yourself at an interview, are you convinced you are a great product? Who are your target customers? Can they afford your products? Can you take advantage of people’s personality in an ethical manner? How much of an influence are you in communicating the benefits of your products?
Incidentally, a colleague challenges me on the last point recently. He asked me to tell him why he must buy a watch I was selling. It sounds like a simple questions but it is not exactly mathematical. Convincing someone to buy a product includes the ability of the seller to communicate clearly the details of the product. You see, human interaction border a lot on perception. Your encounter with a potential buy must create the correct emotional effect in the shortest possible time to make a good sale. At the same time, your product must be good enough and your practices ethical enough for your business to last a long time. Make that sale today!