How An Apple Taught Me About Selling

During one of my first job interviews for a position of sales representative, the interviewer gave me an apple and said: “Sell me this apple”. I stared at it for ages and could not come up with any arguments. Needless to mention that I did not land the job.

According to research, only 13% of customers believe a sales person can understand their needs. I fell into the 87% category: I was so busy trying to come up with features about the apple that I forgot this selling fundamental. I did not do anything to understand my interlocutor's needs.

The reality is you could design the best product or service in the world, if you don’t sell it, you have 0 business. So, what is selling?

Let me give you the best definition I know:

Selling is a person-to-person business.

It means that any sales transaction is comprised of minimum 2 human parties, the buyer on one side, and the seller, on the other.

I see 4 implications to this definition:

  1. Technology cannot sell for you. Stop hiding behind your emails, social media posts, ads or funnels. Reach out, call and meet people (F2F or remotely). Yes, it can be scary to talk to other human beings, but it’s definitely part of the job. I’ve read somewhere that the difference between good and average sales people, is that the good ones don’t hesitate to pick-up the phone.

  2. Where there are people, there are emotions. Do people really need that very expensive mobile phone while they can find the same specs on a device that is 3 time cheaper? No they don’t, but the very expensive mobile brand connects with them on an emotional level. It’s often the case: we buy on emotions and justify our purchase with logic. Sales people connect at an emotional level with their customers.

  3. People love talking about themselves. It’s also true for sales people. Make the following simple experience: ask your friends about something they care about. They won’t stop talking about it, like I won’t stop talking about CrossFit whenever I have the occasion. Great sales people understand that they need to speak less, and listen more. Listening and questioning are 2 essential sales skills to develop.

  4. We are social animals. People crave for great relationships. The better your relations with your customers, the higher the chance to sell, and to repeat the sell. Selling is a process, never a one-off. It never ends. Always think long-term.

There’s one thing I’ve learned since my job interview: the answers I was looking for were not written in the apple. Obvious you might say. Well, you’d be surprised how many people would react the same as I did!

You are not born a sales person, you become one. Sales is never about how great you and your products/services are. It is about how great your customers' needs are.  I designed this live mentoring program to show you how you can put your customers at the center of everything you do, and ultimately generate more revenue. 

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