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Entrepreneurs, Are You Helping Or Selling?

by | Mar 9, 2023 | 0 comments

My girlfriend and I, sneaking past street vendors in Hawaii.

When we think of selling, we think of used car salespeople. We think of the times we tried avoiding kiosk vendors at the mall. And we think of all those phone calls we received from an unknown phone number at 5 p.m. on a Saturday, insisting that we can save hundreds of dollars on our phone bill.

If we look at each of these interactions, we see some commonalities. All involve a product or service being offered in exchange for our time or money — time and money being things that most of us covet and safeguard. And so, when these sales interactions occur, we feel as though our time and/or money are being threatened.

However, there is a caveat to this logic. If we are seeking to purchase a particular product or service, we will be more open to trading our time and money. For example, if we were actively looking to buy a new car, we will be less threatened when approached by a car salesperson. In fact, we might even want their help to answer questions about things like price, miles per gallon and if that model comes in pink.

The dynamic changes when the consumers actively seek the product or service being offered. For that car salesperson, approaching us now becomes much easier. Had they approached someone merely walking by, they would likely meet resistance.

Entrepreneurs, Are You Helping Or Selling? keanuarticle2
Sports fan gladly purchasing an ice-cold beer at a baseball game.

How then, can we use this knowledge as entrepreneurs? Many of us run into the problem of initiating business opportunities with prospective clients. We’ve been on the other side, trying to “sell” our product or service to those who may or may not be interested.

As you are seeing, the biggest factor in this involves the consumer — the party who will be giving their time and/or money for your product or service. So, for us “sellers,” it is vital that we try to find potential clients who actively seek our product or service. As you probably guessed, that is easier said than done.

Let’s now pretend that you’ve met a potential client who is looking for a service very similar to what you offer.

If you had a “seller’s” mentality, you might start to list the advantages of your service, how your service is cheaper, better and faster. Big mistake. Because, you have now just made it all about you — why YOU are better, cheaper and faster.

But the best “sellers” understand that it isn’t about them. Instead, they know it is all about their client.

The best “sellers” are usually the best “helpers.” How then, would a “helper” act in the same situation? After informing the client of their service, the “helper” would then ask the client questions. How does that work for you? What are your pain points? What can we do to ensure you get the best return? The “helper” makes it all about their client. Not the other way around. Because a “helper” genuinely wants to help their client. And if their product or service is not perfect, the “helper” will go the extra mile to make their client happy.

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Visiting a family-owned restaurant that prides themselves on customer service and a quality acai bowl.

As consumers, we gravitate toward businesses that genuinely care about us.  It is much easier to trust those who look out for our best interests. Conversely, we feel threatened when it appears a business is taking advantage of our time and money.

For that reason, as entrepreneurs, self-awareness is of upmost importance. It is time for us to ask the difficult questions: Have you been more focused on yourself? Have you been more focused on what you are going to receive from your client?

Are you more concerned with selling? Or, are you more focused on helping?

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  • Keanu Alfaro

    Keanu is an entrepreneur, independent inventor and self-taught industrial designer. In 2019, he earned a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree before working in business analytics. In h...