(This article originally appeared on Deb Calvert’s blog)
What inspires you?
Not “what gets your attention?” Not “what interests you?” But what stirs you? What compels you? What moves you into to action?
Notice the difference in those questions. Selling isn’t about getting someone’s attention or even about causing them to be interested. That’s the job of marketing.
Selling aims higher. It’s about taking that interest and getting someone to explore it with you. Selling is fanning an interest so it builds into a desire that eventually compels the buyer to take the action of making a purchase. In order to take those mental steps, a buyer must first be inspired.
Understanding how to inspire someone else starts with understanding how you are inspired. These questions aren’t meant to be taken lightly. So think about them. When you are a buyer, what stirs you or compels you or moves you into action?
If you’re like most people, you are inspired by some personal motivation which you may or may not choose to share with a seller. If you don’t see a connection between the product being sold and this certain something that you value, you won’t be inspired. It really is that simple.
Most sellers miss out on sales opportunities because they don’t inspire their buyers.
This happens for a number of reasons including these common culprits:
- Over-reliance on canned marketing materials or pitches that recite product features without making links to buyer needs and motivations.
- Assumptions that buyers are already inspired to buy your products because they buy from a competitor or buy from you or made the initial contact.
- Belief that your brand and reputation are strong enough to do the inspiring so all you need to do is take the order.
- Burnout that causes sellers to forget just how powerful and inspiring their products can be when presented as solutions.
- Lack of seller skill in understanding buyer needs and linking solutions directly to those stated needs.
No matter how strong your brand and marketing materials are, people will only buy your product if they are inspired to do so. If you forget to inspire and keep inspiring your buyers, someone else will earn their business when they do. Being inspirational is not optional in selling.
To be inspirational, you don’t have to be charismatic or over-the-top in style. What you do need to be is connected and able to personalize your solution to the buyer’s needs. People are inspired by the things that matter to them. The best way to find out what matters to them is to ask.
People will gladly tell you their priorities and goals. They’ll appreciate your genuine interest in understanding them. When you offer your solution, you will inspire by making links between the buyer’s needs and what you are proposing. Your solution will be inspiring because it will be about the buyer, not about some sterile products that could easily be provided by a dozen other vendors.
Back to the questions about what inspires you. Think it through and dissect the last few big-ticket purchases you made. You chose to buy from one seller over another. Why? What did that seller do to reach you and earn your business? To inspire you to move forward with the action of buying?
That’s what you need to do with your buyers. Personalize the sale. Stop being clinical and start being inspirational.