That fact alone makes my life complicated. We have been married for the most wonderful, incredibly happy 39 years of our lives. Four of those years I was a student and for thirty-five years I have been a salesperson. When I act like a salesperson, Peggy suffers tinges of regret. When I ask her what it is exactly that she hates about salespeople she said, “When they try to sell me something!” Risking bringing emotions to the surface, I asked her what she meant by that. She continued, “You know, when they try to make me buy something I don’t want!” I know this is true because I recognize those same feelings when I try to persuade her to watch a movie or go to a restaurant that I want to go to, knowing that she really doesn’t want to. Peggy will often bristle and tell me to quit trying to sell her.

When you really take the time to think about it, my wife isn’t any different from any other person in the world in one respect. She doesn’t want to be sold. She loves to buy, and she truly respects people who help her discover what is best for her, but she doesn’t want people telling her what to do if they don’t know what she needs or wants. Salespeople can learn a great lesson from Peggy’s experience. First, build a relationship with the prospective buyer by letting them know that you care enough about them to understand their needs and wants. Second, after learning their needs and wants, help them find that specific need or want. Third, once they have discovered what they are looking for, give them the opportunity to buy it without feeling the pressure of being sold.
When Peggy and I go shopping, it is truly an adventure. Throughout the process, she is critiquing the salespeople, and I am taking mental notes of her interaction with them. When they do their job properly, she will tell me the sales associate was great. When they try to sell her, she will tell me that she really doesn’t like that salesperson. She has made a mental and verbal distinction between good and bad salespeople and even calls them by different names. Being referred to, as an associate is good and being called a salesperson is bad. We all have different names for the good and the bad of any profession and Peggy has certainly found her names for the sales profession. Here are five suggestions that if followed, will earn the respect of buyers and will generate the income that only the best in our profession of selling will ever realize.
1. People buy from people they believe, like and trust.
2. People don’t want to be sold; they want to buy.
3. Discover the other person’s needs, wants and desires.
4. Do everything within your power to help them acquire those desires.
5. Give them the opportunity to buy without feeling the pressure of being sold.

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