Aside from the unique few or those who studied it at university–most people hate selling. Particularly direct sales.
However, regardless of who you are–if you’re in business, you’re going to need to sell. Selling requires not only having a product, but presenting it in such a way that the buyer wants to buy it.
As we look at direct sales today, we are going to do something a bit different. We are going to look at it through the lense of developing markets and international business. I want to explore the old sales adage that everyday we sell, and we do this in many different ways–from convincing our friends to help us move or negotiating a new car purchase. I would like to make the distinction between selling and negotiation; which I think has been misapplied in this adage.
Selling involves negotiation, but it is not wholly comprised of negotiation. Some negotiations leave one party happy and the other interminable sad. That is not a sale, its a trick or a set of manipulation tactics. Not all negotiations are true sales. Selling involves producing a happy customer. Not just a sale. In the early days sales was about ramming ideas through to a customer and getting the sale or closing the negotiation at the expense of the customer. That doesn’t work because it creates a hostile selling environment where dominating the market and not satisfying the customer is the goal.
Here are three tips for Direct selling for developing nations from my experience in sales and branding.
Have a Brand: One of the biggest issues I see in developing economies is a lack of brands. I can buy a Versace bag, an Apple iPhone or a pair of Nike sneakers but what about Ethiopian coffee, Nicaraguan Avacodos or Pakistani dress shirts? Versace is Italian and Nike and Apple are US comoanies, but they stand alone because of branding. For so long the developing world has been the raw material of the developed world, it has not created its own brands. It is then held hostage to the ebbs and flows of business from other brands buying their raw materials instead of fully entering the market as a viable brand.
Sell to Win the Customer: Many sellers make the mistake of selling products and services in such a way that it leaves the customer frazzled and unhappy. Learn to gage the happiness of your customer. This point is one reason why I diverge from the notion that every day we are selling in some way. I believe, everyday we are negotiating. While selling involves negotiation, it is not only negotiation. It involves being sensitive to the buyer, understanding the product/service and demonstrating its worthiness to the customer in a way that suits the customer. It’s nurturing a working relationship. Just because a sale is made does not mean the customer is happy. It means you made a sale. Effective selling will make the client return to buy again because of the experience and the usefulness of the product/service. Don’t just negotiate, sell with the purpose of creating a returning customer.
Give Them Options: This is another huge aspect of selling–offering options. The more options you have, the better. However, it is to your credit to seek to understand the client enough to offer the right ootions. So listening is important. For the singular sales agent, listening to the customer is prime–but for the developing economy, listening to the market and the international world is key. Is there a drought in california, can you supply oranges? If there is a trading rowe in the Midwest can you supplement the maize market there? This is why brands matter, because it puts a difference between the government and the company often allowing branded companies to supply even as both nations may be working through diplomatic issues. Offering options gives you more ways to make the sale.
I am a marketing and branding strategist. I create market and branding strategies for SMEs, developing economies and nonprofit NGOs. Schedule a sales conversation today.
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