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Why do non-sales professionals need sales skills?

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So you’re not in sales, at least not by title or compensation. But, as a non-sales professional, you know you need to sell more. For example, you may be a doctor, and your customer is a patient in your waiting area. Or, you may be a banker, and your customer is on the other end of the phone.

In your mind, your job is simply to cure their illness, fix their problem, or answer their question, but definitely not to sell them. After all, haven’t they already been sold if they’re in your waiting area or calling you on the phone?

If you only serve them, they might be happy. But if you also sell them, they will come back and refer others. And, if you sell correctly, they won’t even consider themselves to be sold.
How do you move up from only serving them to also selling them? You move up to selling by creating a perception of value in your customer’s mind.

As a non-sales person or someone just creating a sales mind, you can easily create this perception of value in mind and heart of your customer. Creating this perception is how you move up to selling.

Assume you provide an excellent level of service to a customer, regardless of what it is you are doing, heart surgery, or answering a phone call. If you do everything right, just as you were trained, and satisfy all customer needs, you have effectively served that person. Great job, well done. That is what the customer is precisely paying you to do. This is what your customer merely expects, and this is what your competitors are doing.

Unfortunately, despite your best efforts, you did nothing but meet the customer’s expectations and failed to differentiate yourself from the competition.

Now, take the opportunity to sell the customer while doing all the other things you need to do. You’ll create a fan, a salesperson for you, and a more profitable customer.

Okay, how do I create that perception of value? Remember, it’s what the customer perceives as valuable, not you. It’s easy. There’s no formula, but this will give you an idea of what I’m talking about…

First, make a statement that lets the customer know you understand and empathize with their problem, desire or need. Then, make sure they know you’ve heard what they said to you (really listened) and repeat it right back to them.

Second, explain to the customer what you are doing and why. Over-communicate to the customer what may be the relatively routine steps you are taking. As a professional, these routines are second nature to you; but it may be the first time they go through the experience as a customer. Make them feel comfortable.

Third, tell the customer how they’ll benefit from what you’re doing for them. If you did something for a reason, tell them. As a doctor, tell them why you chose the prescription you did, or explain why you are using 6-0 nylon instead of 4-0 silk for your sutures. If you’re passing along a customer’s request for information, tell the customer you put a yellow sticky note on the proposal to ensure their unique concern is noticed. Even better, add the comment that you will personally make sure the action gets taken to handle the request.

Make it about your customer!

These simple activities create value in the mind of the customer. That’s not selling? You bet it is. You’ve differentiated yourself, and be careful, here… you’ve started to sell. Nice job.

Key points in selling while serving

1. Listen to the customer.
2. Confirm your understanding of their request or problem by repeating it to them.
3. Specifically, explain what steps you’ll be taking to solve their problem or handle their request in terms they will understand.
4. Let them know how they will benefit from the action you’re taking to solve their problem or handle their request.