I woke up this morning and started thinking about selling. The fact is we are always selling. We sell our ideas to our bosses or coworkers. We sell products and services to consumers. We sell ourselves to our loved ones. But most of us sell backwards. We sell our products, ideas or ourselves without knowing, or maybe even worse, caring about, what our customer, coworker, boss or loved one needs. Egocentric selling is only going to be successful some of the time.
The most important aspect to selling is to know your customer. Sounds simple doesn't it? But how much time do you spend learning about your customer BEFORE you start selling them? When you give a presentation do you interview members of your audience? When you start to sell someone a product or service have you taken the time to really understand their needs and wants? Do you understand their pain. If you can remove their "pain" the chances of a successful sales grows exponentially.
So how do you find their pain? By asking questions and listening carefully to their answers. I am a huge fan of the book "Spin Selling" by Neil Rackham. If you don't own a copy I suggest you buy one right now.
I will leave you with this thought: Tomorrow, before you start selling your idea, product or service, ask yourself, "Do I really know my customer?", and if the answer is "no", then make it your business to find out everything you can about that customer, co-worker or boss. I promise it will pay off.