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7 Keys to Selling

business Dec 31, 2017

If you cringe when you hear the word 'selling', struggle with the idea of selling yourself or hate the thought of being pushy or salesy, then this one is for you!

When it comes to explaining what selling is REALLY about and how to be great at it, and more importantly, how to sell with ease...I can't think of a better person to share the 7 keys to selling than, Graham Wilson.

Graham is not only the love of my life, but also happens to be one of the UK's top Leadership experts.  Over the course of his career, Graham has developed over 70,000 leaders globally, and sold multiple millions of pounds worth of business!

Here's Graham's blog on the 7 keys to selling for mums in business...

When you hear the word ‘SELLING,’ what happens in your head and heart?

What feelings come up?

What thoughts pop into your mind?

I’ve been told that for many mums it isn’t a very good feeling or thought at all!

Why is that?

And what really is selling?

Before I share the seven keys to selling let’s be clear about what selling really is. Let’s explore how it enables you to live the life of your dreams.

A few years ago, I was asked to go and teach selling skills to a group of amazing ladies.  These are dedicated women and mums who managed care homes for elderly people.  An amazing vocation.

Most had been nurses earlier in their careers. Definitely hugely nurturing and caring by nature.

My job was to help them become more commercial, improve occupancy and be able to sell their care homes more effectively. A tough challenge as you can imagine!

Once we defined and created a shared understanding of what selling is really all about, it was really easy.

Let me explain.

For many mums the word selling conjures up feelings and images of sleazy salespeople, hard selling and being forced to buy something through manipulation and closing techniques.   This is so far from what selling is really all about.

So how did I change the care home managers’ perception of selling?

The first exercise I asked them to explore was the process of giving care.  I asked them, “What is an effective process to ensure you give great care to another human being?”  They split into small groups and had great conversations over coffee.

We then regrouped and they described what they felt a great process looks like.

Interestingly they were almost all the same, or at least very similar.  To summarise for you, the process they came back with was…

  1. Knowledge, know your stuff, be technically competent and emotionally intelligent
  2. Build rapport and trust - quickly
  3. Ask questions in a supportive way to find out what the issues are
  4. Use your expertise to diagnose and co-build a solution/care plan
  5. Share the care plan with the patient so they fully understand what is going to happen, what they will receive and the likely outcomes
  6. Deliver the care plan
  7. Follow up, review and adjust accordingly and ensure the right results are achieved
  8. Review and learn

The next question I asked them was a huge lightbulb moment and catalyst for their ongoing success. I asked them what they felt the process of selling is.

There was a massive realisation that selling is the same as caring, nursing and even bringing up children!

The art of selling is caring so much that you want to help people solve their problems. You are passionate enough to want to make a real difference to other people. Just like parenting, selling is educating, caring, supporting and helping people solve their problems.

When running our businesses, we need to remember that people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do what you do and how your product or service helps them. People are more interested in themselves than your business.

They need to be able to trust you and understand how you can help them.

I see so many businesses get this wrong.  They talk too much about themselves and what they do, rather than how they help.

A great way to change your perception about the word selling is to realise that if you don’t sell your product/service you aren’t helping them.  It is like not helping your children develop and improve! And we wouldn’t want that!

I’ve been on amazing journey of the past 39 years of selling and helping people.  I learnt how to keep the peace in hostile situations during my military days, as well as fighting and surviving!

That certainly builds your core people skills!

I learnt the art of commercial selling during my time with Dupont and over the past 25 years of running my own training business crafted the art of selling to sell many millions of pounds of help and support.

What have I learnt along the way?  Here are my seven keys, in no particular order:


Selling Key # 1 – Understand the importance of a value mindset

You have to ensure you have the right value mindset.

You have to understand selling isn’t a dirty word.

You also have to understand and respect your true value.

There is a lovely story about Picasso being asked to draw a picture for a family whilst on holiday.  It took him a few minutes and he then asked a great deal of money for it.  The father thought this was outrageous and far too expensive.

He challenged Picasso saying that it only took him a few minutes to draw and he was asking way too much for a few minutes work.

Picasso’s answer was that in fact it had taken him 62 years to do it!

So, tip number one is to get clarity about your mindset and value you offer.  Don’t be afraid to charge for your experience and the benefit you are offering.


Selling Key #2 – Understand what you are really selling

Although I’ve sold millions of pounds’ worth of training, yet I’ve never really sold training. I’ve always sold a solution to a problem. If you think you sell training, you don’t. You sell capability.

If you think you make and sell jewellery, you don’t!  You sell a feeling of beauty.

If you sell make up, you don’t.  You sell confidence.

If you sell business coaching, you don’t.  You sell clarity, awareness and desire to grow and improve results.

You need to understand what problems your product or service is solving and be able to turn these into marketing messages and questions you ask potential customers.


Selling Key #3 – Selling is all about building trust and relationships

Trust is key – you have to learn how to build trust really quickly.  Marketing is key here.

You need a clear customer persona and value proposition.

You need to know your target customer and value you add to them. You then market yourself to show how you solve their problems in a consistent way to build trust.

I believe there are four key elements of building trust -  Dependability, Integrity, Credibility and Empathy.

When you behave in a way that aligns to these four elements you build trust.

The two behaviours that destroy trust are self-interest and inconsistency. That’s why closing techniques and manipulation, just doesn’t work in selling. Leave them for the sales charlatans out there!


Selling Key #4 – Questions are the answers

You have to develop a set of questions you can ask your potential customers to ensure you are helping them solve a real need.  Sometimes they are unaware of the need until you start questioning them.

Depending on the situation I often use a simple process I call O.P.E.N.

I start with Overview questions… tell me about your business? You? Big picture situational questions.

Then I use Problem questions… What are your challenges? What is your issue? What are you looking for? What made you make contact? What are your aspirations?

Then Effect Questions… If the problem isn’t solved what is the impact going to be. What would the effect of doing nothing be?

Then Need Questions… What is your real need?  What are the benefits you are looking for? When you get a solution, how will you feel?  What will you be able to do that you can’t do now?

We then need to explore any barriers – again through questions.

Once we have done this we can talk and explore how we can solve the problem.

You’ll see we spend far more time exploring and talking about them than what we are selling.  Ask the right questions makes selling is easy… the answer to selling is truly in the questions!


Selling Key #5 – The timing is important

People don’t buy if they haven’t got a need.  Sometimes you are just planting seeds and when the time is right they will make contact.  I’ve had people attend an event I’ve been speaking at and 5 years later made contact and we’ve done massive business together.  The time has to be right.

You can also use special events and times as a great selling point.

On Mother’s Day 2012, P&G launched a campaign called “Thank You, Mum.” Throughout the campaign, P&G featured Olympic athletes training from a young age, and emphasized the impact their mothers had on their lives.

The “Thank You, Mum” campaign also included the “Raising an Olympian” video series to highlight specific athletes’ experiences.

For a company whose products or services aren’t directly related to sporting goods, P&G generated more coverage for this campaign than a lot of other companies like Nike whose products relate directly to the Olympics. Each “Raising an Olympian” video received close to 1 million views, and the main “Thank You, Mum” video received about 53 million views.

We can learn a lot from the timing of our actions…


Selling Key #6 - Link it all together

You need to have a customer journey in place that links marketing, selling and delivery.

Selling becomes a lot easier when you have a powerful attraction and conversion strategy.

I’m a big fan of inbound marketing and selling.  You have to be of huge value in the market place, stand out and be remarkable in our information overload world.

Great selling without marketing is hard…. Great marketing without selling is hard!  It has to flow end to end.  And as they say the best marketing is doing great work, so make sure you deliver!


Selling Key #7 - Dare to be YOU

And finally, the most important element is to dare to be you.

People buy people – end of story.  You have to be comfortable being authentic.  Don’t be forced into selling like other people do.  Find your way…

Remember the nurses and care home manager story… selling is about caring, helping, supporting and enabling people to solve a problem.

Before my daughter was working she would ask me for some money to buy some new clothes.

She developed a certain look in her eyes that would send my hand straight to my wallet and give her the money!

She wasn’t really asking for money.

She was saying, “Dad I want to look beautiful tonight.”

Every success



A huge thank you to Graham for contributing this fantastic blog on Selling to the Mpower community.   We hope you enjoyed it.

With love,


Founder of Mpower for mum in business, Award-winning business coach & mentor, author of The Invisible Revolution

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