In Harry Browne’s book The Secret to Selling Anything he approaches the art of salesmanship from a much different angle than most do. As you probably have seen, most salesman come to you with the intention of selling you their product, without any consideration of whether or not you really want to buy. This is why when we hear the word “salesman”, everyone packs their bags and head for the hills. Harry Browne, however, goes about selling products from a personal standpoint. He sees his possible customer as another human being that wants to benefit from the transaction.
He begins his book by discarding all the cliches and myths that have surrounded the salesman title, and replaces them with more encouraging principles. He says to first sit down with the client and talk with them. Find out about them. Get to know them as a friend before you “get down to business”, as they say. Find out what their problem is in as much detail as you can get out of them. Get them talking. And once you get them talking, keep them going with an “I see” or “and then what did you do” input every now and then. Now consider your product. Does it do anything that could fix his problems? According to Browne, this is the type of question you should ask yourself. You should not try to push something onto the person that they don’t want or need. “The extent of your own profit depends upon your ability to satisfy the needs and desires of others”, no matter how persuasive you think you are. If your selling in a free market then whether you sell your product to people or not, and whether they buy it from you or not, is each party’s decision. Therefore, your job as a salesman is to find out if your service is what the customer needs and how much you can sell it for. As you continue to talk with your client on what features they may need, be personal. I cannot stress this enough. If you sound like a TV commercial or a politician, they will immediately go into defense mode and your product will mean nothing to them.
When you have nailed what they want down, it’s time to talk money. Everyone wants to pinch pennies every where they can. If your product is a bit on the high side for them, ask them how much they think it’s worth. If this is out of your profit range, see if you can meet them in the middle. This may take a while, and you might not even make the sale. However, the important thing is that they see you as a regular person that wants to help them achieve their goals. This is where the true money to be made is…repeat (satisfied) customers.