Selling your Product
Selling your product and brand. How many of you who are, let's say, solopreneurs who are freelancers. How many of you consider yourselves sales people.
[Man From Audience] Sales people?
You do? I love that. So often I find freelancers don't think of themselves as sales people. They think of themselves as people who have a product or service but not a sales person. So I'm glad you here, you do. We are all sales people. No matter what we do, we are selling something. We're selling our brand, we're selling our product. We're selling our trustworthiness, we're selling our ability to be believed. but we're all selling something. So selling your product and selling your brand. They're really the same sort of thing. No one likes to be sold or given a hard sell when they buy something. We all have that picture of the sorta sleazy used car salesman, right. Who is there to sell you something. I've got something for you, right. But we don't really like that, nobody lik...
es that. So the idea if we're not gonna sell people is that we're gonna listen to them. So we're gonna listen then we're gonna offer options and suggestions. We talked a little while ago about suggestive selling. And this would be a similar idea. But in terms of selling, it really comes down to listening. Because we don't like to be sold. We don't like any of those sort of things. How many of you have heard of active listening? Anybody?
[Man From The Audience] Right here.
Yeah, okay, good. So it's a technique. It's a technique of listening then reframing and then asking questions to determine what the customer is actually seeking. So it doesn't even have to be a customer. You could use active listening with anybody. Anybody know, what is the purpose of active listening? From a new ...
Make sure you understand.
Okay very good, so if I make sure I understand you, what am I offering to you?
So that I know that you understand.
Right, to create comfort and assurance.
Right, where it's a building block of trust. So if I feel that you've heard me, I can relax. Right, you've heard me. To be heard is a wonderful thing. And to be heard is a rare thing in the sales equation. So when we can think of active listening, and really making sure that someone feels heard, we're gonna be able to actually get them what they need. And they're gonna be able to buy what they need from us whether it's a product or a service. So, when you listen, you're going to discover what they need from you and your business and your brand. And then let's talk for a second about active listening. So, listening will be listening to somebody's state what they're saying and then reframing. What will be the reframing be? What does that mean?
[Man From Audience] Putting it in context.
Alright, so saying in a little bit differently. So, I'm not really sure what I need but I need something kind of cute because I'm going to give my mom this really great gift and so I need it in like two days. And so people don't know what is it that they want, right. So if we say, okay, so I hear you want something for your mom but you don't have a lot of time. And you want to be cute and memorable. And then you can start asking questions. So what's your price point? What are you thinking of spending? Maybe 60 bucks, okay, for 60 bucks you're looking for something special and memorable for your mom. Let's see what we can do for that. So by reframing it, you'll able to maybe help them establish clarity which is really really helpful. Cause some of these people come to you and they don't know what they want. So you said, you do photography for events.
[Man From Audience] Right.
Yeah. So people when they come to you, do they say, well, I'm gonna need about 75 proofs. I'm gonna need the lighting to come from this direction and that direction.
No, right? That's not their job, right. But they want a feeling. They are like, I want you to capture this. And I wanna focus on this person and I wanna focus on this moment. And I wanna make sure that this someone looks good. And that you don't catch me in the frame a lot because it's not a lot about me. They're gonna say little things like that. So, active listening is really helpful in those moments.
So you can say, okay, here's what I can do. Now in those moments if you've used the active listening, what are some of the things that you would like to call back to those people, what's important for them to hear from you?
Well, very often, they'll basically just say they wanna feature a certain person but so then I'll say, well, what is it that you wanna capture about that person. You wanna capture what they're doing? How they're feeling? You know, what they're personality is? And those are all different shots completely.
So that's how you find out exactly what they're looking for.
Right, I love that. And used you used couple of good words, what and how. Right?
So those are the things that you're gonna deliver. You're gonna deliver the what and the how. Cause sometimes they might know the what but they are gonna say from a totally different perspective than the what that you know.
Typically they know what they didn't want after the fact.
Much quicker than they know what they did want before it. (laughs)
Right. Although I think a lot of people sort of don't know what they don't want, sometimes easier than what they want.
I don't want this, I don't want that. So then you have to look at the relief. You have to look what's left over. Right, good, I like that example. So active listening is really what sales is all about. So if we can listen, if we can solve the problem in that moment, it's going to really help the client feel like they are getting satisfaction. And satisfaction is really what we're looking for. Cause that's really important in that customer service interaction. And that listening is something that doesn't really happen a lot. So often sales is back to my quote from before. Service is a conversation, it's not a soliloquy or a lecture or monologue. And very often selling becomes a monologue or a soliloquy or a lecture. And selling doesn't feel good when it's like that. It's very one sided. Or you think about sales as being a solution as suppose to being just something to sell. It becomes much more unique for that client. And it truly is not one size fits all. It's customer-specific. So back to when I was a waitress. Like sure, I could sell somebody the things that I like but they might not like what I liked. I gotta find out what do they like. So for instance, in restaurants, people would always say, well, what do you like? Or what's the best thing? I can tell you what the best thing is but it might not be the best thing for you. So my job was to ask question. Well, what are you in the mood for tonight? I'm starving, oh, do you like red meat. Oh, no. Okay, do you like fish? Oh my God I love fish, I hadn't had fish in forever. Okay, great, so we have X Y Z and A B C. So if had just said the short ribs, they'd be like, I don't like this girl, she likes different things. Yeah, but that's what it comes down to, right.
So we have to make sure that we're on point with all that. Because otherwise, it's gonna be too ... It won't make any sense in that moment. So yeah, exactly right. Don't sell your product, solve their problems. So this is from Mark Cuban, a shark himself. And it's interesting when you know this is from him because if you've seen him, he seems pretty sharky, right. He doesn't seem like he's not about selling. But it's interesting to hear that he is talking about solving problems. And I do believe that that's what customer service is truly about. That it is about solving problems. It's not just about selling products. And when you find brands and when you find companies that will do that for you. That really is what makes the difference. And the difference is that they're looking at you as an individual. And then helping you feel better and solve the problem that you might have. So back to that person looking for a gift for their mom. My problem is finding something wonderful, but here you are, this is not a problem for me. My problem is I need to capture this event. This is not a problem for me. When I worked in restaurants, that was the thing. I'd say, we have so many things to make people happy. And that was the thing I tried to empower my teams with. Is to think outside the box. In hospitality, we always say don't say no. Don't say no, say well, I love to do that, let me see what I can do. And maybe it's not the exact thing that they want. And well I wanted to have Venison tonight. We don't have Venison. Well I don't have that, let me see what I can do. What I can do is offer you duck breast and it's cooked in red wine sauce and it's amazing. I don't have Venison but maybe the duck will be your liking. So there's things that we can do. When I was a maitre d, people would always have complaints about their tables. I can say no, or I can say sure let's see what we can offer you, let's see if I can get you another table or another chair or get a wobble wedge under there because it's wobbly. Find out really what the problem is, is it the table or is it that they're under a cold air vent and they're cold. Okay, well, I can adjust the vent. When I worked at that fine dining restaurant. I couldn't actually adjust the temperature. So we had like beautiful pashminas for women to put on. Because women almost always had on less clothing than men so I bring them a pashmina. Since it wasn't about the table, it's about what's happening at the table. So ask questions, find out, and then you can actually solve the problem. Cause some as the problem is much easier solved than what the customer actually thinks. There's great quote from Henry Ford, the inventor of Ford Motors. And he said, if I'd ask my customers what they wanted, they would have said, a faster horse. Right, cause those were the days before cars. People would say, I want a faster horse. And he created an automobile which they didn't even have at that point. So, sometimes people think they need in my case, a different table. They don't need a different table, they need to be warmer. So when we find that out, then we can do cool things. So in terms of like, you were talking about your business before, what are some of the things that you can do for your customers when they for instance, they'll like, oh I need this, and I need that. What are some of the things you would have in your back pocket that you know you can offer. Do you have anything like that?
I like to use props a lot and a lot of times, people don't think about it.
And when people can't relax very often, a prop makes a difference. And I use humor a lot also to get people to relax. That seems to be the biggest problem. Everybody thinks they take a bad picture and so they're always concern. So putting them at ease, distracting them from the fact that they are sitting for a photo and giving them something to do.
Right, yeah, I like that you use the word distraction and also the notion that people come in with that they are no good at things. Right.
Right. I'm no good at this. So, right, and I think that's very important to in terms of being a business owner, being a leader, and working with teams. Very often, your team is gonna say, I'm no good at talking to people. Oh I'm not good at selling. I'm not good at you know doing those sort of things. Yes you are, I hired you because you're good at that. You just haven't figured out yet. So we're gonna make sure that you can get there. So, I think it's important to sort of ... We're not gonna prove people wrong but we're gonna show them that they are capable of more than they thought and that's the beauty. In customer service, we have to train people on the steps of customer service which is why this whole course designing a great customer service experience. It's so important because really it's about deciding and choosing to make that true. But them training them, training it, and showing people they can make an impact on people. And that's the cool thing about customer service. You can make an impact on people. You can make a memory for them. And it's a memory that's gonna last and permeate the ideas of your business. That's the cool thing. So when you can chose someone that they can do that in their everyday work life, that's a beautiful thing. So, showing somebody, a customer that they're no good at taking photos. Well, you look pretty gorgeous in this one. I guess you do. I'm no good at talking people. Well, you just talk to that person and they feel fantastic. Look at that review they just wrote for you. So it's a wonderful thing to show people what they're capable of while you're creating the experience for them. That's what becomes a memory. That's what becomes a memory and that's what we're here to do. If you're interested in pursuing anymore of this, you can always check this out in my book, Hello, And Every Little Thing That Matters. I talk about all these topics including the language. The steps of service, the blueprint of service. These are all things that are tried and true. And I welcome you to check it out. I also welcome you to check me out on my website, Kateedwardsconsulting.com. At Instagram @kateedwardsnyc and Twitter @servicedefined.