If you want to be in sales, you better learn to connect with people.

We keep an open mind and we keep learning everyday. Some are more profound than others. This week I met bunch of some middle school kids in my community, who are “trying” to sell the magazine subscriptions from a catalog book. I met with about five different groups and learned a bunch on “how to” and “how not to” sell. Only one group was able to convince me to sign up for a magazine subscription. I could not observe if this particular group has the natural ability or mastered the skill with some training; probably that’s not important. Below are the conversations I had with five different groups.

Group 1, Group 5 : [<1 minutes conversation]

  • Kids : “Would you like to subscribe for a magazine!”
  • Myself : Sorry guys. I don’t read magazines anymore.
  • Kids : “Oh… thank you uncle”

Group 2: [<1 minute conversation]

  • Kids : “Do you have few minutes?”
  • Myself : “Sure.. what’s up”
  • Kids : “We(our school) are working with a charity organization. Some amount of magazine subscription money will go to school.”
  • My self : “That’s nice”
  • Kids : “Would you like to buy one?”
  • Myself : “Sorry guys, I really like the idea of charity. Unfortunately, i don’t read magazines anymore.”
  • Kids : “ohhh…. thats fine”

Group 3: [~1 minute conversation]

  • Kids : “How are you”
  • Myself : “Thanks for asking guys. How you are doing?” 
  • Kids : “Good. We have this magazine catalog.”
  • Myslef : “Oh OK…”
  • Kids : “Would you like to see whats in side and subscribe for something you like ?”
  • Myslef : “Sorry guys, i don’t read magazines anymore”
  • Kids : “You can subscribe and someone at home can read it”
  • Myself : “Sure. But no one reads any magazines at home too”
  • Kids : “ohhh…that’s fine. Thanks for your time. bye.”

Group 4: [~6 minutes conversation]

  • Kids : “Hi…… how is your day ?”
  • Myself : “pretty good guys. How are you doing”
  • Kids : “very good. Where is Saahithi?” [Saahithi is my daughter]
  • Myslef : “She is still in India. She will be back next week.”
  • Kids : “that’s nice. You must be missing her a lot. “
  • Myself : “Oh yes… so…. what’s up guys”
  • Kids : “We are raising funds for a charity organization via these magazine subscriptions. Based on what we know, you might be interested in Technology, Auto, Disney and Life style kind of magazines. Would you like to see what you might like?”
  • Myself : “You guys are a great mission. Unfortunately, i don’t read magazines anymore”.
  • Kids : “Totally, we get that. Good thing is you don’t have to have a full year subscription. You can try for 6 months and cancel if you don’t like. After all, this money is used for charity.”
  • Myself : “I really like this idea. But i don’t read magazines.”
  • Kids : “Do you have an iPad or any Smart Phone?”
  • Myself : “yes”
  • Kids : “There you go… there are so many magazines that can be accessed from these smart phones. You might want to subscribe things that you can access anywhere. And its really cheap compared to market price.”
  • Myself : “really? Show me the ones that can be accessed electronically”
  • Kids : [showed me couple of magazines that can be accessed electronically]
  • Myself : [I chose a 6 month subscription and provided them the details ]
  • Kids : “Thank you very much for your time. We live right across in …, …. If you have any problem please let us know. We will talk to our school and see if we can help you. Once again, thank you.”
  • Deal Done!

When you read the conversation. You might say, the choice is clear. Some kids are able to connect their mission with need and some did not (could not). of course, this is a simple example of  sales. But most often, these skills help everywhere.

Group 1, Group 3, Group 5 : [Whatever] We are here to sell. We don’t care if you buy or not.

Group 2 : [Mission] Didn’t know how to connect their mission with buyer’s need.

Group 4 : [Passion, Mission, Personalization, Persistence, Connection] They were very passionate about the mission they are serving. Started with a friendly and personal conversation. They were able to take the rejection and at the same time think out of the box to connect with the needs of the buyer. Not only think about this sale in the short-term but also think about credibility that you could use in long-term.

In summary, one should be passionate, mission driven, persistent and connect with the Company, Product, Need and Buyer. It needs incredible amount of skill to connect things together. Selling is not easy!

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One Response to If you want to be in sales, you better learn to connect with people.

  1. Sumesh says:

    Hi There
    I came across your blog – after looking at your flextronics supply chain presentations. I liked your writing style – crisp and clear message / easily relatable examples(cooking vs product management, magazine subscriptions). Keep the blog/ good work going.

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