Recently, I’ve been reading The Joy Of Selling by Steve Chandler. It’s not at all what I imagined it would be and to my great surprise I am thoroughly enjoying it. If it wasn’t written by Steve I wouldn’t have even picked it up but that, and the fact that it was a gift, led me to read it. What I’m finding though is a whole new way to look at the process of selling. And, true to form with all Steve’s stuff, success is more about me than about tricks and techniques – even when it comes to selling.
I suspect I will be sharing more than one little gem from its pages but here’s the first one I paticularly liked:
“Make Some Friends In Low Places” – Courses on ‘how to sell’ often emphasise the need to get to the decision-makers at the top of the companies you are targeting – to go for the people in “high” places. But Steve turns this on its head and demonstrates the power of talking to people who, on first look, don’t seem to have much power.
He tells the story of his conversations with Marie, a woman that worked on the front desk of an organisation he wanted to sell to. And how, through his relationship with her, he was able to get insider information that led to his having an informed conversation with the big boss at a time when the boss was most receptive and in the language that the boss was most receptive to hearing. The boss trusted him because of the obvious “research” he had done on her company. But as Steve points out his only research was Marie. The consequence of the meeting was lots of work for Steve.
When I read this I breathed a huge sigh of relief because, if I apply this to building a coaching practice, this allows me to just talk to people and trust that conversations will lead to clients. I don’t have to try and sell to the people I think I want to coach. I just have to turn up, be present and be my usual curious self about all the people I meet.
This is pretty much how I built my original coaching practice, through conversations with people I met in all sorts of unlikely places such as the library or at a neighbour’s barbecue, or through referrals. No selling. Just being with people.
“There are no unimportant people. Everyone is a piece of the puzzle of life. Everyone plays a very important part. Everyone has power.”