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Sell print or digital?-It’s a mind game

How do you leap from selling traditional media products to more complicated digital products? It starts with your mindset. Consider the following:

At the end of the nineteenth century, just as colonial Africa was opening up as a market, all the manufacturers of shoes in Victorian England sent their representatives to Africa to see if there might be an opportunity there for their wares. All duly came back in time with the same answer. ‘Nobody in Africa wears shoes. So, there is no market for our products there.’

All, that is, except for a rep from the shoe company Bata. He came back saying, ‘Nobody in Africa wears shoes. So, there’s a huge market for our products in Africa!’

Only one sales rep in the story above, could change their mindset and see a different picture. The decline of traditional media sales may seem like a country with no shoes to you. We can choose to be caught up in the decline, or we can get fired up about selling new products. Most of your SMB customers know they need websites, SEM, SEO, and other digital products. What they don’t know, is which products they need, and why. They need sales people they can trust, to help them make the best choices. How do you become that trusted salesperson – you have to change your mind.

Face your fear

Rejecting fear is the ultimate mind game. I know how scary the complexity of digital can seem. Naturally we want to cling to the traditional products we know so well. It’s human nature to avoid things we don’t like, including change of any kind. Guess what? Most of our SMB customers feel the same way. The majority I talk to have been running their business the same way for years. The playing field changed seemingly overnight for them, just like it did for us. We owe it to our customers and prospects to overcome our fear of something new. Just like bees smell fear, so do business owners. When was the last time you bought anything from someone who was afraid?

Be a hero

Change your mindset. Instead of viewing digital products as too complex to learn or explain, attack it like a gift you can give your customers. Who doesn’t like a gift, right? The issue of avoidance comes into play when we don’t see the value in something new. The value in selling digital is not for us as salespeople, it is for our customers to grow. Stop treating it like a quota you have to hit. It’s a vehicle for you to save the day, with customers who are more lost than you are. Trust me, they want your help.

Educate yourself

With education comes confidence. Each of us owns our education. It can be daunting to learn digital products, but it is simply a matter of will. Don’t rely solely on the training your company provides. Adult learners rarely learn from simply hearing something, they need hands – on learning. Follow groups on LinkedIn that share your industries and interests. Interact with others who know about digital products and trends. Take every opportunity to learn as much as you can. Make it fun. And don’t forget the rule from sales 101: find someone who is successful, and do what they do. Often time’s knowledge is not taught, it is ‘caught’. Hang out with people who know what they’re doing, and catch what they know.

Changing your mindset doesn’t happen overnight. Its a process. It starts with a decision to embrace something new. If you need inspiration, remember the sales rep from Bata shoes in the opening story. What would have happened if the Bata rep had joined the rest of the pessimists? People in Africa needed shoes, just like your customers need digital to grow their business.

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