Selling without permission is coercion.
You can’t morally or ethically have a sales conversation with someone who hasn’t given you permission for that type of conversation.
And, selling without permission is ridiculously ineffective.
You’ll have heard people talking about ‘handling objections’ – but, isn’t it better to not have any buyer objections at all?
Then seek to gain permission first, before ever talking about your offer.
It’s the difference between talking to a person who says ‘yes but’, and someone who says ‘Tell me more’.
And that ‘tell me more’ is what you get when you gain deeper levels of permission, ongoingly.
Level 1: permission to ask questions. You get that level when someone agrees to meet with you. Not that difficult.
Level 2: permission to ask deeper questions, to find the problems behind the problems, and the causes behind the causes (google ‘the 5 whys’ for more on that kind of inquiry – it’s pretty useful).
Level 3: permission to discuss how you might be able to help. This isn’t where you’re selling, it’s where the two of you are exploring if you’re a good fit, mutually.
Level 4: permission to ask for the sale. Asking for the sale is often the most daunting of the entire sales process, but it won’t be if you first took care of gaining the first 3 levels.
When you do, asking for a sale will be as easy and natural as saying to a friend ‘So shall we catch that movie tonight?’.
It’s not for nothing that Seth Godin coined the term ‘permission marketing’.
Well, there’s permission selling, as well.
So how do you gain permission from your buyer?
We say too much. Recommend too much. Expound and reason and explain and… well, we waffle a lot, don’t we?
Especially when we’re uncomfortable with the sales process, which is largely due to not having paid enough attention to what level of permission we have from a buyer at any given time.
Instead of talking, listen more.
Questions are the currency that buys you permission.
P.s. I’m looking for a few people whose business exists to make a difference in the world, to work with me 1 on 1 this winter.
I’ll coach you on how to make a bigger impact (and a bigger splash, financially :) than you thought possible, by showing you how easy sales becomes when you let your values and integrity lead the process.
Let me know if you’re interested…
Also published on Medium.