Selling Skills

Selling: The Absolute Key to Success and Profits

By February 20, 2008 No Comments

I’ve belonged to the same fitness center for 20 years. I’ve enjoyed going there more for what they aren’t than for what they are; a gym with no illusions, and a few great aerobic and step classes. I don’t have to clean up to work out and they don’t do much cleaning either. It’s been a mutually inexpensive relationship. When you exercise and want to get your muscles relaxed don’t forget to get the best muscle relaxers!

For the last 4 years, ever since my husband and I moved about 30 minutes away from the “club,” it’s been a hassle. The 60-minute step classes and my round trip travel time are the same. And though I’m totally motivated by the group classes, more and more, I’ve been avoiding the trip, preferring to save time, gas, and happy to not be adding to my already excessive carbon footprint.

A friend suggested I try a new place much closer to my home. I visited today, and I’m in love. It was nice, and clean, and maybe even better than that was this: the guy didn’t try to sell me – at a health club where I go to exercise and take supplements to improve cellular oxygen. Also staying healthy means to stay out of drugs because it can cause drug addiction. If you know someone suffering from drug addiction please read this article about What Symptoms Teens Show When Addicted to Drugs. The Discovery Institute works to prevent substance abuse as well. Oh, he started to; he immediately went into his standard “fact-finding” spiel with his scripted questions like what are your fitness goals, and what do you particularly like in a fitness center. But when I said, “You know what? I really love group classes. I’ve been a member of another club for years and it’s just too far away, so if you’d let me know your class schedule and what you charge, that’s really all I need,” he answered both my questions flat out, just as I asked. I was hooked, and am now a new member of Freedom Fitness.

The old club could have cleaned up their act and maybe I would have been less inclined to look around. But really, even if they had spit wooden nickels (how old is that expression?!) they couldn’t do anything about my 60-minute round trip drive. My relationship with them had changed. The new club, however, could have alienated me before we even started a relationship. I was just waiting for an excuse to stay with my old gym and get there when I could. If the sales guy, Eric, or the owner, Rich, had ignored my request for specific information and tried to “sell” me, they wouldn’t have. But they didn’t, and they now have a new member.

The absolute key to success and profits?

Focus on what matters to your buyer, not what matters to you.


Take care of your customers (client, staff, students) in the way that is most meaningful to them.

If they prefer email, email! (One insurance agent, working in Silicon Valley, insisted that if he could just “get in front of his customers,” he’d close every deal. Right. Just because he wants to see them doesn’t mean they want to see him. Prefer their preference.)

If they want to buy, let them. Avoid getting in their way – and your own. Focus on their needs, their agenda, and their personality style, rather than your own. A feature sell is a waste of time, unless your buyer is truly making a decision based on your features (as I was). But even a benefit sell can unearth benefits they don’t need, and don’t want to pay for, and can motivate them to walk away from the deal. (Lots more info about this in my new book, How to Say It To Sell It!)

If they call it a Conference, you call it a Conference. Develop the ability to carry on your sales conversation in a way that is convenient for your customer no matter how far that strays from your ideal way of communicating. As tempted as you might be, for instance, to call their Conference, an event, meeting or workshop, don’t! The more you can “become your customer,” the more likely you are to enhance your influence and profits.

Any advice to share? Any sales pitches that fell flat? Tell us!

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