Earl Nightingale wrote, “People tell me they want to make more money so they can become successful. But they have it backwards. First you become successful and then you make money. And you become successful by serving others.”
The best way for a salesperson to earn more money is to serve more people or serve people more.
Recently I met a young man who is just starting out in insurance sales. He looks good, sounds good, and seems to have a genuine desire to serve people. I think he’ll do well. When he asked me what I thought he needed to do to earn more money, I asked him how many people he helped in the past week.
“What do you mean ‘helped’?” he asked.
“Did you talk with enough people to find two who needed to buy more insurance?”
“Yes,” he responded. “Actually I talked with three who really should buy life insurance.”
“And how many did you help to buy what they needed?”
“Well, they all wanted to think about it. I’m to call them back in a couple weeks.”
“And in your experience, when people say they want to think about it, how many buy from you in a couple weeks?” I asked.
“Not many. In fact, even though they seem pretty keen when I first meet them and review their needs, they cool off quickly and keep putting me off.”
“So,” I continued, “if helping people involves finding those that need your products or services and helping them to make the right decision, based on your understanding of their situation and what you can do for them, how many people did you help last week?”
“Based on that definition…none,” he replied.
Many salespeople have forgotten what this young man was just learning. Serving others includes helping them to make the right decision. In this age of the Internet, information is overwhelming. Prospective customers have probably researched your products before you meet them. In many cases, they have enough information to be dangerous. Successful salespeople help their clients by providing the best advice to serve the customer’s needs and by helping them to make a good decision. If all you do is provide information, you serve no higher purpose than a website.
If you have the expertise and understanding to make a strong recommendation, you should do so. Then you should ask them to buy. You owe it to your prospective client. That’s the best way to serve them. That’s the best way to become successful. Once you are successful at serving others, you’ll earn more money.