Want to earn more money?
Have your own business, and the freedom that comes with it?
It is absolutely essential that you learn how to sell. It’s a basic life-skill that everyone should possess.
Even if you don’t have a business, the principles of sales are foundational psychology that will help you have better relationships, be able to influence people, and empower you to help people around you.
Perhaps you’re thinking…
“…But I’m an introvert, sales is not my thing”
“…I just don’t like sales – it feels ‘icky'”.
In part 1 of this 3-part post on sales for introverts I’m gonna break down why it’s important that you learn sales, no matter who you are.
You’ll actually find that being introverted is something of a super-power when it comes to sales. You just need to discover how to tap into it.
Basic sales for introverts
We live in a funny society.
We’re completely consumerist. Everybody gets excited about their shiny new iPhone, and buying crap they don’t need.
Yet they’ve done studies on associated word clouds with ‘sales’, ‘salesman’, and it turns out the general public hate sales.
They feel like it’s sleazy, dirty, and they’re trying to be tricked.
This is the word cloud below. It’s from Dan Pink’s excellent book, ‘To Sell Is Human’, which I will be referencing later.
We think like this, while on the other hand, as a society, we buy things we have no need for, with money we don’t even have on credit. To then live month to month.
People love to buy, but they hate being sold.
– John Patterson
Humans are odd creatures indeed.
Sales is one of the most valuable skills you can possess. Not just for pushing used cars off the lot, but in every area of your life.
You can either be part of the masses who see sales as a bad thing, refuse to learn it, and end up only ever being consumers of what someone else is selling.
Or you can understand the basic psychology that makes people tick. To use that to your advantage, to create success for yourself and the people around you, to make the world a better place, even.
Sales is not just trying to trick you to pay an extra $2,000 on a used car (though it could be).
Sales is also Elon Musk selling people on using electric cars powered by the solar panel roof of their house – it’s a net benefit all around.
The roof is cheaper, and lasts longer. The power costs next to nothing. The car has less maintenance costs, next to no fuel costs, lasts longer, needs refueling less, and you’re saving the planet, if you believe in that.
Let him go sell that as far and wide as he possibly can, and let him accumulate tens of billions dollars of wealth, if he’s successful.
You’re probably not Elon Musk, but you still have massive value to add to the world, and especially to the people closest to you.
When I started as a Personal Trainer, I had to ‘sell’ my parents on a healthier lifestyle. To start working out, start eating better quality food, and drinking more water.
They showed some resistance to it, but ultimately gave it a go, felt a tonne better, lost weight, their health improved, etc.
Should I feel sleazy for selling them that?
To my actual clients I was selling the same thing, but they were paying me money – should I feel sleazy now?
At what point should I start to feel bad?
Sure, I could be selling crack to teenagers, and I probably should feel bad about that…
The problem is not selling, the problem is what you are selling. If you’re selling dogshit in a carton to kids in the park and telling them it’s chocolate ice cream – you’re probably a bad person.
Sales is a morally neutral act.
You can SAY or WRITE some truly horrendous things – that doesn’t mean speaking and writing are bad.
The judgement should be on the content.
Why sales is both healthy, and vitally important
Everybody should read ‘To Sell Is Human‘, regardless of whether you want to be a salesperson or not.
Sales is essentially interchangeable with influence.
You influence your kids to not take candy from strangers, because it’s in their best interest, right?
Selling is a healthy endeavour, if what you are selling is positive and ethical.
Ethical sales is selling something to someone that will benefit them.
‘Something’ could be a product, information, an idea, time, knowledge…
Without sales, the world would fall apart.
Nobody would be able to influence anybody else to their opinion, so everyone would simply follow their base instincts. Society would fall apart.
The only reason people co-operate and work together, rather than you murdering your neighbours and stealing their stuff, is because it is mutually beneficial to work together, as part of a larger society.
That concept is sold to you by your parents, by society, by education, by the government; your entire life. Why else would you not just take what you want, right now?
That’s what unsocialised 2 year old’s do.
This is essentially what ‘to sell is human’ means. Animals don’t sell.
They just ravage any other animal that strays into their territory, murder their offspring, and rape their females. Sales allows collaboration, and that allows us to move forwards as a society.
Without sales, there would be no value exchange, no economy, and no ability to move up in the world.
I’m an introvert, I can’t sell…
Alright, so we’re on board with sales not equating to pure evil.
There’s still the problem of being introverted and just not the ‘sales type’.
I get that, whenever you think of sales, or see it portrayed in the media, it’s always the guy pushing some crap on an infomercial, or the classic used car salesman.
High energy, lots of talking, enthusiasm, and social skills. Everything you’re not naturally disposed to as an introvert.
That is how you sell to a crowd, especially when you’re selling things that people don’t necessarily want to buy. However, it is not the best way to sell things that solve problems people are looking for solutions to.
You can just make a lot of noise and eventually someone will buy something…
But you’re a lot better off having a real insight into the world of the prospect. What are their problems, what are they looking for, why are they buying?
What is their experience, their fears, their buying criteria?
When you know all this stuff, you can be much more effective, save a lot of wasted energy, and the buying experience for the consumer is actually pleasant.
It feels like they’re buying, rather than being sold.
This is where introverts have an advantage. We tend to be quiet observers in the world. We shut up and listen, more than we talk.
You can talk someone’s ear off, until they either get so sick of you they leave, flicking you off on the way out… or they relent and buy, usually regretting it later… This is pitching.
Or you can ask some simple questions, listen to what the prospect is saying, help them take the right action, which is going to be good for them… and they will talk themselves into buying from you… This is prescribing.
The latter is an introverts skill.
This won’t work so well if you’re selling some crap that nobody wants to buy. Assuming you have a good product or service, and it helps people solve a genuine problem… it works like gangbusters.
Selling for influence, not money…
The exact same situation is true when you want to influence people in a non-financial way.
Want your parents to take your advice? Want your girlfriend to change her behaviour?
If you put yourself in their world, understand where they’re at, listen to them – and I mean really listen and understand – then you’ll be able to ‘sell’ them anything.
Rather than projecting your own values onto them, and creating conflict.
When you’re a good salesman, you’re rarely ever going to argue with anyone, about anything. You become a master of influence that can create a positive impact for the people around you.
You’ll best learn sales by actually selling product for money, but it is genuinely a life-skill that can help you change the behaviour of people in your life for the better.
In part 2 we’re going to explore why people buy. I’m going to lay out the difference between ‘pitching’ and ‘prescribing’ in great detail, show you how to listen and get people opening up so that they ‘sell themselves’.