When you set aside your ego, you will begin to understand how to sell.
An ego-driven approach to sales can be detrimental to a business’s success.
Having an ego is all about wanting to be perceived as the best although you are not and you are far from having a Brand Positioning statement that proves it.
The so-called ego, a mind-made sense of self, always yearns for more of both tangible and intangible stuff like material goods or power, fame, and knowledge.
When a businessman’s or a salesperson’s ego is front and center in every conversation, it means they are constantly trying to sell in a self-centric environment.
That’s why as a self-employed business owner, your ego is not the best salesperson.
When you stop thinking about selling “my products,” “my services,” “my ideas,” or “my solution,” you might discover more than you can imagine: people don’t buy things or services but rather values, emotions, and a self-image.
People purchase products and services that resonate with them: each thing, each service, is a brick that serves to build the house of individual identity.
People don’t buy things or services.
They want and buy:
- representations of who they are
- representations of who they would want to be
- representations of who they are in the eyes of others.
Pay close attention to people’s behavior.
Did you ever wonder what big brands are really selling through multi-million dollar advertising campaigns?
Everyone believes that these companies and corporations sell products such as shoes, perfumes, clothes, video games, home furnishings, or services such as home loans, insurance policies, WI-FI connections, credit cards, etc.
Focus on the real thing you buy from these guys:
- Coca-Cola does not sell drinks: it sells Christmas.
- Ferrari does not sell cars: it sells social status and wealth.
- Barilla does not sell spaghetti: it sells happy families.
- Apple does not sell iPhones: it sells belonging to a community.
- Nike does not sell sportswear: it sells freedom, physical appearance, and well-being.
- Patagonia does not sell clothing: it sells adventure.
- Marlboro Country did not sell cigarettes: it used to sell manliness.
- Vodafone does not sell Wi-Fi connections: it sells quick and easy virtual relationships and home working.
- Northwestern Mutual does not sell insurance policies: it sells safety.
- Mastercard does not sell credit cards: it sells convenience.
- Sony does not sell video games: it sells entertainment.
- Theme parks do not sell “just” enjoyment: they sell experiences.
The list could go on and on. It’s a very educational exercise, do it yourself and teach it to your children.
I am not a global brand, so what?
You don’t even have one percent of the budget that these brands invest in marketing and communication every year.
So what can you do to find customers and sell?
You have only one way to do it: bake a pie!
Actually, bake your pie every day.
P.I.E. is a guideline, a mindset, undoubtedly not a method. I’m not a huge fan of methods.
P.I.E. is the acronym for Problem, Interest, Essential (need).
Therefore, although you are on a shoestring budget you should always have a marketing and communication plan.
Let’s dive into how the P.I.E. works for small businesses and self-employed.
Solve a specific “Problem” or a specific set of problems by offering a unique, creative, and effective solution that your market niche can pay for.
Meet the “Interests” of your market niche, create communities around those interests, and listen to your potential clients, their preferences, their opinions, and doubts, what they love, and why. Create a constant conversation about the interests of a specific market niche.
Satisfy the “Essentials”, the needs of a defined market niche by listening first. Listen, listen, and listen until you find out their real needs even the unconscious ones, the needs they aren’t aware of, then share and suggest ideas based on their necessities, but never on the urge to sell. That’s another way to put your ego aside. Hint: social media listening and digital market research are effective yet quite affordable methods to listen.
Bake your P.I.E. every day in a consistent and persistent way and remember to prove your Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.