Thursday, May 15, 2008


Hi there,

The act of selling your product can be either easy or hard. It can be as simple as making a lunch date, or as difficult as convincing your child to eat onions. But imagine how difficult it can be if you don't believe in what it is that you're doing. Simply put, you need to believe in the value of the product. You need to believe that it's the very best product available. Then, you need to get the prospect to agree with you.

Let's go over that again. The necessary components of a successful sale:

- belief in the product
- the ability to share your knowledge

That's it. Belief, and communication skills.

John H. Patterson founded the National Cash Register Company in 1884, and proceeded to revolutionize professional selling. One of the things he did was establish a publication for his sales force to use called "The Primer", which shared scripts and other selling techniques. From Harvard Business School Working Knowledge:

The Primer instructed salesmen to exert pressure in a forceful yet subtle manner. The key was to prevent a prospect from feeling manipulated. "Avoid giving the impression to the merchant that you are trying to force him to buy.... No man likes to feel he is being sold." At the same time, it was important for the salesman to exude confidence and honesty. Chief among the rules of salesmanship at N.C.R. was the ability to demonstrate "sympathy [toward] ... the business and interests of the P.P. [or "Probable Purchaser"] and sincerity in presenting [the] machines to the P.P " These were skills to be honed. After an agent named John T. Watson had given a demonstration at the 1895 sales convention, one audience member praised Watson's "sincerity" and another commented, "The best thing I noticed in the demonstration was that Mr. Watson's manner indicated that he thought he was telling the truth."

Belief. Watson was telling the truth, which is why the audience member believed it so deeply, that he refers to it as "the best thing" in his demonstration. That's pretty powerful.

Now, believing something and convincing others are two very different things. Communication skills are critical, and we'll talk about those another day. The question for right now is, do you believe in your product? Do you believe so deeply that others can't help but feel your conviction?

If not, why not? Are you selling the right product?


Happy Selling!

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