"But I Can’t Sell!"

Most people who start out in marketing say they can’t sell. I said it, too. After some experience with shameless self promotion, I still couldn’t sell. Then one conversation changed my life, and made me finally understand all the marketing lessons I’ve been taking.



I’ve never been able to keep a job. Instead, I just had many odd ones, that required me to sell some products I don't give a shit about: Sorbet (I hate fruit based ice cream, give this girl chocolate!), flowers (Probably the most overpriced product out there), health insurance (don't even get me started). I was fired or left these jobs very quickly, concluding that I can't sell.

About a week after quitting the health insurance gig, I had casual girl-talk with one of my friends. I found myself, at one point, vigorously sponsoring a certain brand of tampons. Interestingly enough, the next week, while having coffee with my friend, she mentioned she bought a pack of the tampons, I had recommended. We spent the next 10 minutes sharing our mutual experiences.

"Maybe I should look for a job as a spokesperson for this company." I joked with myself. But then I thought I'd better just review the conversation I had with my friend, and many others like it:

  1. I believe in the product. This is basic, When you believe in a product, it’s benefits are obvious to you. A product you don’t believe in, has no benefits, as far as you’re concerned- only objections. If you wouldn't use it, you wouldn't recommend it to a friend. If you wouldn't recommend it to a friend, what kind of creep are you, trying to recommend it to a stranger who never did you any harm? Also you won't be very believable when you do.
  2. I identified a problem, my friend was having. I offered her a solution. I may have been the one to bring the subject up, in the first place, but if my friend had this problem in the back of her mind, this will automatically be interesting to her. She may have not even planned to do something about it, because the problem was so minor, but since I tell her there’s a solution to her tiny problem- she’ll take it!
  3. The first thing to happen was she raised objections (people seldom change habits). I diffused these objections by stating the benefits of this product. Even without clear comparison to her brand, she understood my brand's superiority immediately.
  4. I gave her a free sample. All ladies know this problem- you can't buy 1 tampon. You buy a box, which you're stuck with for about two months and then, if you're dissatisfied you can buy a different brand and commit to it for another two months. This sample saved her the trouble; she tried it, liked it and changed brands (even though mine is more expensive, the benefits are just too great). By giving her the sample I also saved her the typical trouble of changing brands (I believe, any tampon company that’ll do this, could convert millions of other brand users, and non-tampon users!)

There is another factor. And that is trust. My friend trusts me, she knows I'm looking out for her best interest. This is the type of relationship you should strive to have with your customers. If you offer a solution to a problem, the benefits of your product will be immediately recognized. And if you offer a free sample, they won't have to take your word for it- they could see it for themselves.

Strive to enrich people's lives and people will see a positive agenda. A positive agenda sells much better than a nasty one. Think of all the big corporations that are going "green", lately. Think of all the corporations trying to contribute to their local community. I'd like to make one point clear: Big Corporations don't necessarily care. They are polishing their image. But in my experience having a true giving agenda will help base your business on trust and entice you to go the distance for your customer, which, in return will not only get the money rolling in, but you will have the most reliable advertising available to a consumer: Word of mouth.

Now, rethink this statement: "I can't sell". If you are doing something genuinely good for other people- Your product will enrich a person's life and make it somehow better. Is it really that bad they part with a little cash for it?

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