Who Cares If It Sells or Doesn't?

05/19/2015 04:13 pm ET | Updated May 19, 2016

Well, I for one care if my service or product doesn't sell. Let's be honest, most of us do. Don't you? In my experience, in the UK selling is not a well-loved word. It's as if it conjures up nasty salespeople, insincere and almost dishonest behaviour. Let me be clear and say, it really isn't any of those things. In fact, first class salespeople are honest, warm, sincere and empathetic.

Having spent many years living in the USA, travelling extensively in Europe, I have found selling to be considered a worthy profession. Many salespeople abroad tend to take pride in their job as salespeople. For instance, watching retail staff cleaning the exterior of their retail premises is not unusual in Florence, Italy. Furthermore, arriving earlier and leaving far later than required, is quite commonplace in the USA. In many cases, it's as if staff treat the business as if it were their own. In short, they tend to go the extra mile.

When I had my London retail business, one of my main focuses was that each customer, irrespective of how much they spent, had to be treated as if their custom was all that mattered. This means, one mustn't pre-judge, never look down on anyone, and be grateful that an individual has seen fit to enter our premises, or consider our service. Is this kind of attitude and behaviour easy? Probably not, otherwise it would be considered to be quite normal everywhere.

Remember, even if you are seeking to get extra time off, a salary increase or promotion, you are selling yourself. And when we are able to sell ourselves in an engaging fashion, the buyer becomes more amenable. We tend to encourage the feel good factor. This, combined with good product knowledge, awareness that the customer has alternative options, keeps us on our toes. One of the keys to being a good salesperson is awareness. This means, you need eyes in the back of your head, so to speak. Trust those gut feelings, don't ignore them. Often, our intuition is more powerful than we give it credit for.

What I learned on the shop-floor continues to be valuable in my coaching business. It's enabled me to read people, remain focused, be more empathetic and not pre-judge, anybody. When in retail, I recall attending to a new customer. He looked artistic-ish, well heeled and mildly eccentric. As I carefully observed his behaviour, I took it upon myself to gently bid him the time of day. He responded quietly, yet politely. We had just had a delivery of beautiful Italian shirts. I dashed down to the stockroom and brought up a well-chosen few to show this customer. He looked extremely carefully at the selection and quietly chose three. That was it, I found my hook: be quietly assertive, and identify his taste. About 45 minutes later, he ended up spending about £800.00 - in 1985, this was considered an excellent sale to have made. When I checked the name on the Credit Card, I saw it was movie Director Barry Levinson, he told me he was in the UK, filming Young Sherlock Holmes. Only then did I realise that this was a kind of coup.

Some tips:

See selling as an expertise

It's about enabling people to purchase

Remember, we are all buying and selling

Take pride in whatever it is you are selling

Never look down on salespeople - remember you are one too

Be patient, yet persistent with your clients

If you hear 'No', consider it as Not now