I’m not an expert. I’m just a guy who likes to think about stuff.
Since I started working for myself, I’ve attended seminars and workshops on…just about everything! Email marketing, cold calling, negotiation – you name it. One of the most impactful seminars I attended was one on sales. Sales is truly a science, and I saw the science in action a few weeks ago.
I attended a workshop on building a six figure professional speaking business. The presenter was a guy who came recommended by a member of my professional speaking group. The presentation started off with a video of testimonials about the presenter. My spidey sense kicked in immediately. Why was this guy trying to sell me already? I didn’t know these people on the screen. I’ve never spoken to them. Why should I believe them? Throughout the workshop, the presenter kept telling us attendees how others commented on how authentic he was. Why couldn’t he just let his authenticity shine through?
One of our biggest motivators to buy is fear of missing out. How can a seller ramp this fear up? By placing a time limit on an offer and highlighting the scarcity of the product or service. “I only have 10 seats available.” “This seminar will surely sell out.” I never really thought about this selling tactic until the end of the professional speaking business workshop.
Almost on cue, after speaking for a couple of hours, the presenter offered the audience a “deal.” A 2-day intensive workshop guaranteeing us a six million dollar professional speaking business for the low price of $10,000. After announcing the price, the speaker asked the audience who’d be interested in attending the 2-day workshop. Crickets. Maybe a handful of people put their hand up. I guess when he saw that most of us weren’t biting, he offered us “sponsorships.” He’d cut the price in half to $5000, but only for six people. He had registration forms ready for the six people. Seven people raised their hand. What about the people who were willing to pay $10,000? Did they feel deceived? The presenter handed registration forms to six of the seven people who raised their hand. One of these people wanted more time to think about registering. The presenter said that there was no time, since there was someone who raised her hand and didn’t get a form. The hard sell in action!
I saw selling at work – and I didn’t like it. Not the way the presenter did it, anyway. I suspect that he always wanted $5000 for the 2 day course, but he wanted to see if people were willing to pay double. Surely there must be a better way to sell to people.
Why not try honesty? Don’t promise that your 2 day seminar will give someone a million dollar business. You can’t possibly know that. And don’t put fake time limits on offers. It’s disingenuous. I buy when I trust the seller. I didn’t trust this presenter one bit.
As a seller, it’s important to build trust with buyers. It may take weeks. It may take months. But isn’t that a better sale? Buyers won’t feel like they’re just getting used for their money; they’ll feel your authenticity. They’re more likely to refer you to others, since they feel like you care about their success. The presenter didn’t know me long enough to possibly care about my success.
It was a pure sales job – one I saw coming a mile away.