I recently read Daniel Pink’s book To Sell Is Human. Pink’s overarching thesis is that we’re all “sales people”, even if we don’t describe ourselves that way on our resume. Everyone is constantly engaging in what Pink describes as “non-sales selling”. We’re always trying to get others to do things. The fact that we aren’t seeking monetary compensation doesn’t change the fact that we’re selling something (e.g. ideas, recommendations, favors, etc.).
Another big concept in the book underscores that the dynamic between sellers and buyers has changed. Pink attributes this to a shift in availability of information—so that now buyers have access to just as much information as sellers. As Pink puts it, we’ve moved from a caveat emptor (“buyer beware”) to a caveat venditor (“seller beware”) world. This shift is important to understand. It’s given buyers more power, and changed the way successful salespeople sell.
Selling snake oil isn’t a viable business model. Today, one customer can literally let the rest of the world know about their unpleasant experience. Now more than ever, you must believe in the product/service you’re selling to be successful. After all, it’s easier to convince other people to buy something you’d spend money on, if the roles were reversed.
That’s one of the reason’s I’m thrilled to be working at PandaDoc. Our product is genuinely awesome! Believing in a product is also one of the reasons I started selling apparel online. I knew the designs were too good not to be shared (read: worn) by others. I hadn’t spent as much time promoting them of late, but in the last week I made an extra effort to do so. Thanks to a few emails, a couple Facebook posts, and the fast-approaching holiday season, I was able to pocket a quick $85. Not bad.