Why selling online is often easier…
The dictionary definition in the introduction of what selling is all about is simple and straightforward and covers most of what you need to know about the physical act of selling. This does however ignore the
psychology of selling which is something to which we will return on many occasions in this report.
However, if we accept this basic definition for the time being, we can begin to look at the differences between selling on the internet and selling products or services in the real world of high street, bricks and mortar businesses.
The major difference between selling online and doing so in the real world is that the whole process of selling on the internet is far less personal than it would be if you were selling products or services to
local businesses in your neighborhood.
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For example, imagine that you are a sales person for a local offline business. In this case, you would be constantly calling existing customers and prospects on the telephone, making appointments to go and see them, sorting out problems for your customers and so on.
In short, everything about your job would be hands-on and whilst a degree of what you do would not be face-to-face, a significant proportion of your everyday work activities would involve meeting customers and prospects in person.
As someone who has over 25 years experience running sales teams who sold a huge range of products and services in the real world (from long-term investment plans to toner cartridges for laser printers), I can tell you that for most people who do not think that they can sell, meeting customers or prospects face to face is the most fraught and stressful aspect of the selling idea. This is perfectly natural because in a face-to-face meeting of this nature, you are at your most exposed and ‘naked’. You are in a position where you feel uncomfortable and perhaps even embarrassed which is unfortunately a position where mistakes are most often made.
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For instance, I have seen many young salespeople being far too eager to please prospects and customers who have fallen into the trap of making very basic errors in their understandable eagerness to keep their customer (and their boss) happy.
One classic situation is where, upon being faced with a question to which they do not know the answer, they make what is (at best) a fairly uneducated guess at what they think might be the correct response.
This is instead of doing the correct thing by telling the customer truthfully that they don’t know the answer but that they would go straight back to the office to find the information before reporting back
to the customer.
The latter ‘investigate and report back’ strategy becomes more natural and comfortable as experience teaches you that you can never know everything about your business and that your customers don’t really expect you to either. In the early days however, it’s a different story, because it is often hard for new salespeople to admit that they don’t know everything.