Sell like you’re talking to your friends

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Selling, especially to my millennial preferences, is abhorrent. I don’t like to be sold to and  I absolutely hate selling something myself. The coercive attempt to make someone do something they seemingly would rather not too is like the sound of nails on a chalkboard. But here’s the thing, we’re all selling in some way or another all the time, even those of us who think we hate it. We recommend movies, albums, restaurants, products, apps, you name it. We invite others to hang out, to join our fantasy league, to participate is some experience. We even apply peer pressure when we really want someone to do something, and with no shame! The selling is constant. So why would someone like me (I know I’m not alone) hate the idea of selling while simultaneously recruiting, recommending, and even coercing?

Here’s the important distinguisher, we do all of this selling to our friends. We do it (usually) because we care about them and we want them to experience some of the joy or convenience that we’ve received from some experience or product. We’re even comfortable applying some pressure to help them see the light.

In work, we’re typically dealing with acquaintances at best and downright strangers at worst. Selling in that context is terrifying. But I heard something recently that made a huge difference to my perspective: instead of selling to people, treat them like friends. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend something that I believe in to a friend, regardless of whether or not I get paid if or when they purchase. I would explain it to them without any awkward, cold sweat-inducing, manipulative selling techniques, I would give it to them straight and try to help them see the light. They can still say no, obviously, but at least it won’t be because I tried to sell them something.

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