My entire working adulthood revolves around sales- just different kinds of sales. Well, they are different because selling advertisements and courier services seemed more sophisticated as I was dressed in corporate wear, working with big corporate brands and in fancy office buildings. Then I was in a bank’s uniform selling free credit cards and here I am now, wearing shorts and slippers, selling Thai Iced Tea at pasar malams.

Apart from the nature of the products being very different, I realized that the process of selling these products are actually all the same. The product that you sell doesn’t matter at all. Selling is selling. But I’ll have to admit that working for bigger brands, will make your selling easier.
But here’s why the product you sell doesn’t matter at all.

1. You are always trying to sell to human beings 

And human beings are always the same. Human nature never changes.

What is human nature?

Humans like to buy, they don’t like to be sold. As long as humans pay, even if it’s $1, they expect $100000 worth of service. Humans like to feel important, appreciated, remembered.

Humans expect, humans are entitled and humans are demanding. Humans like to know that, in making this purchase, they are making the best decision ever, in their life. And even if they do make a bad decision, they like to know that they are not alone.

Humans like to complain and they’ll always be hard to please. When you give them a free rice cooker, they’ll say ‘why no free luggage bag?’ And when you give them free luggage, they’ll say they have too many luggage bags and there is no more space in their storeroom to keep the luggage bag. Whatever there is, they will always prefer something else. (I mean, of course, there are some who will appreciate your offer.) Humans will always be “considering”, whether or not it is free or $2.50. Because they are always skeptical. Free also scared, pay also scared but pay already also scared not nice.

2. There is only 1 way to treat your human customers 

Treat them good. And do it like you mean it because they can tell. Care for them. They will know. And they will remember you for it. Treat them like how you want to be treated as a paying customer. If they have a problem, solve it for them. If they have a question, answer it. And do more. Because remember, humans are demanding and have expectations.

If you simply do as asked or told, you are only fulfilling their expectations and they won’t remember you for that yet. To make an impression, you have to do more. Go out of your way to make them remember you. You only have 1 chance of winning this customer (and his/her network of people). This is the 1 chance that determines if they will ever come back to you again, no matter what you’re selling.

If I screwed up in selling credit cards, the next time she sees me and the next product I’m selling, she would have already blacklisted me and will not take up whatever I am offering next, regardless of how good the next offer is.

How do I know all these? Not only because I have experienced all of these, but I’m also human. I am also a customer and these customer instincts are in me too.

3. You matter more than the product. 

Maybe for Thai Iced Tea, the initial buying process might be slightly different. Ultimately, the after service is what determines if the customer comes a second time. If my service is good, they will come back and tell me that my product is not so good.

Average product + good customer service = 80% chance of returning customer

Excellent product + bad customer service = 20% chance of returning customer

Excellent product + average customer service = 60% chance of returning customer

Bad product + bad customer service = 0% chance of returning customer + blacklist for life

4. Rejections will always get to you the same way, no matter how prepared you are for it.

It’s still a numbers game, no matter what product you’re selling. You still need to see X number of people before Y number of people will buy. And the same Z number of people who don’t buy will piss you off, will hurt your confidence level and make you feel like you want to quit right now.

There is only 1 same way I handle it, take a break and do the positive self-talk (to yourself, in your mind) that meeting this Z number is just part of the process of reaching the Y number of people who buy. Remind myself, nothing can be worse! Continue smiling and being nice to the next person I meet like I never thought of quitting before. And right after being fresh from your break, the next person you meet rejects you again! #TrueStory. It’s just the same cycle you need to get used to, and get good at.

Whatever you sell, also same same.