I sell knives.
I work for a company that sells a line of high quality kitchen cutlery. And, while working with this company for the past year, I've learned quite a few things about life.
So I’m going to do a series on things I've learned about life while selling knives. They won’t all be in a row and I don’t know how many I’ll do, but this is the first one.
About two months ago I had a meeting with the Division Manager. He is the guy in charge of all of the offices in Oklahoma as well as a lot of Texas. So it was a pretty big deal. It was an end of the summer meeting to go over my goals with the company, how I felt things were going, etc. One of the questions he asked me was, “How is your experience with Vector going to apply to your future career?”
I had already thought about this quite a bit before he asked me the question, so I had a pretty good answer for him. What I told him was that “this job is preparing me for my career, because I’m going to be doing basically the same thing then as I am now. The only difference is, I’m not going to be selling knives, I’m going to be selling ideas.”
He seemed to really like that answer. I really like that answer. That’s what apologetics is. That’s what evangelism is. That’s what preaching is. Every time you go to church on Sunday and listen to a sermon you are listening to salesman. He not selling a physical product, but he is selling.
No matter who is teaching or what they are talking about, their goal is to get you to “buy” what they say. Also, every time you evangelize, you are doing the same thing. You are trying to get that person to “buy” your viewpoint, your idea. (Of course, when it comes to evangelism, preaching, and things like it, the Holy Spirit does have a part to play in it, but the idea is the same.)
My point is, everyone is a salesman.
In light if that, here are 5 sales tips to help you in whatever "selling" you do.
1) Be confident in the product. If you aren't sold on the product, your customer won't be either. As Christians, we can have ridiculous confidence in our "product". Christianity is true. We can have confidence in that. When you truly believe that your product is the best, your customer can tell. They can sense it in your speech and they can sense it in your actions. And there is no way they are going to believe in it if they sense that you don't believe in it.
2) Be confident in yourself. There are two ways to get confidence. One is experience. The other one is information. Having a lot of both is ideal. But if you are just now getting started in whatever it is you are doing, information is your go to. The more you know, the more confident in yourself you will be. Start on the information, and then take as many opportunities to get experience as you can.
3) Know your product. The more you know the product, the more you can express your confidence to the customer. I can think that the knives I sell are great all I want, but if I don't know why they are great it does nothing for the customer. The same goes for your beliefs. You can think that Christianity is great all you want, but if you don't know why, it does nothing for the unbeliever. You can't transfer your confidence without knowing why you should have it.
4) Listen to the customer. I can't stress this one enough. One thing that I have heard said many times is that the customer will tell you everything you need to know to convince them. You just have to pay attention. You have to know the needs of the customer and shape your presentation to fit those needs. Many of our problems when trying to sell something could easily be solved if we just listened to the customer. One example would be public speakers. Too often, public speakers don't intentionally get feedback from their audiences or pay attention to them while they are speaking. This results in them making the same mistakes over and over again; making arguments that aren't effective or telling stories people don't understand. (Or jokes that aren't funny.) Feedback is essential to communication. We need to listen to the people we are talking to and make our case in light of what they need.
5) You won't always get the sale. Another thing I've learned is that you won't always get the sale. No matter what you do, you won't sell something every time. Some people are just too stubborn. The great salesman still has no sales. And so does the great teacher, writer, coach, or evangelist. The difference between the great and the not-so-great is the way they react to the no-sales. The not-so-greats let it break their confidence. The greats learn from it and let it build their confidence. The not-so-greats carry the thoughts of their failure to the next encounter. The greats adjust and move on.
You are a salesman. Now make yourself a good one.
What do you think? Leave a comment to let me know.