Evangelize: convert or seek to convert (someone)
When’s the last time you met an evangelist who was half-hearted about his/her faith? If there’s one thing they’ve got its belief and they’ve got it in spades. They’re all in. And they think you should be, too.
An article by Forbes entitled “Stop Selling, Start Evangelizing” argues that salespeople (and consumers) would be better served by applying this philosophy to their selling style. This means going a step (or two) beyond training and education. You want your team to drink the proverbial Kool-Aid before you set them free to spread their beautiful and prosperous sales wings. You want witnesses. Preachers. Prophets! Ok, maybe it’s too much, but you get the picture.
The article does a great job of laying out this new style. We’ve elaborated on some of their ideas and added a few of our own on the “How To’s” of evangelizing vs. selling. But make no mistake, it starts with assembling your dream team and getting their buy-in.
- Who You’re Evangelizing to Matters – Don’t waste your time (or theirs) by trying to sell snow to an Eskimo. It’s hard impossible to evangelize to someone who doesn’t want (or need) what you’re touting. Instead, focus on building up a pipeline of qualified leads who you believe will truly benefit from your product/service.
- Adopt a Consultative Approach – There’s no sense in going on about how the luggage you’re selling includes a silk jewelry roll if you’re talking to a single man (with no affinity for bangles and pendant necklaces). Instead, take the time to ask about their needs, pain points, challenges, and opportunities. Listen and then react accordingly. Discuss ways in which your product/service can help them specifically. And – this next thought will be unpopular among some – if it’s not a good fit, tell them. Making the sale at all costs is not only a bad business strategy, but it’s also borderline unethical. Repeat business plummets, attrition increases and in today’s hyper-connective world negative word-of-mouth spreads like wildfire. Some might call this karma.
- Create Value – Often in the sales world, it’s the norm to ask, beg and make promises right outta the gate. We want potential buyers’ trust (and their money) before we’ve delivered anything. Mix up this model by providing helpful information/insight. Focus on education in regards to the relationship between your product/service and their business to create value even before the sale.
- Follow Up – We get it. You’re busy, your pipeline is full, and the phones are ringing. That’s great! But taking the time to do even minimal follow up will go a long way towards strengthening relationships, increasing retention and combating buyer’s remorse. If you normally blow off these sorts of “touchy feely” tips, consider this small, but powerful word: REFERRALS.
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