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The Heart Behind the Sell, or Here's My Pitch to You

Remember the old adage (attributed to Theodore Roosevelt):"People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care" ? I'm starting to think that this has some serious application to sales, specifically my new journey into Usborne books and independent sales consulting.

In the past, I've been approached more than a few times to "become a rep" or "build a business" buying and selling for various different at-home companies. Some were legit, some were shady MLM's, but all of them had an element of sales involved in both the "pitch" and the product(s).

What I always found unappealing, not to mention insulting, was the aggressiveness of the seller in approaching me and then following up with me to get me to buy in. Sometimes it was in how frequently I was being bombarded with the sell; in at least one instance, it bordered on harassment, particularly when it would recur even after my explicit requests for it to cease. Other times, it had to do with the forceful, sometimes emotionally-manipulative language being used. I was also offended because I found myself being targeted solely because the one approaching me needed to build a downline and I guess they had run out of options in their closer social circles; it was like I was being "cold-called" because I was an acquaintance or a friend from long ago.

Maybe I'm a terrible salesperson, but I just don't see how these pushy, in-your-face tactics actually work (and maintain friendships)! As a potential client/lead, I think I would far prefer for the products to sell themselves. I would want to know what the sales and specials are, and then I would want to be given lots of time and space to determine if I want to buy something or join the company. One business that does this well is Avon; they give you a bunch of colourful catalogues, and then they leave you be until you call them up to buy something. No deadlines, no pressure, and the onus to engage rests with the customer.

Now that I'm the one doing the selling, I want to be able to use my aversions and preferences as a consumer to inform my approach to sales. I don't want to commit the same atrocities that I've experienced from other direct sales folk, mostly because I care about my potential clients as people who have lives and families and critical thinking skills. They're not just "leads" or a means to my end; I'm here to offer them the service, not the other way around!

With this approach, am I going to be the best seller in the city? Probably not. But hopefully, because I really believe in the quality of my products, my passion for it will shine through nevertheless. And in being sensitive and empathetic to my clients' needs and feelings, I know that I will be able to build a business that I am proud of, regardless of the "bottom line."

So here's my "pitch:"

See that link on the side of the page? It goes to my Usborne Books website.

I sell these books because I love these books. They're beautiful, and as a bibliophile I find them so well made. Their pages are colourful, their layouts are easy to read and draw the eye to all sorts of interesting things, and many of the books are "interactive" in some way. I prefer non-fiction books with a high image-to-text ratio, and these books deliver on that front, too. When I started counting my own personal collection, I realized that (prior to becoming a consultant) I already owned 24 Usborne books (including bath books, board books, sticker and colouring books, history and art history books, craft books, phonics and young reader stories, plus a few non-fiction titles). I've also given many away as gifts for nephews and other children over the years. I've stocked my classroom libraries in both elementary and junior high with these books, and they've consistently been popular with my students. I am pretty sure every child in my life will now be getting Usborne for Christmas and birthdays until they're done school ;)

Anyway, these are books that I think are worth paying for, so I sell them to get them into the hands of people who also love books and want to start their own collection. I really believe that I have signed on for the right reasons; I'm not looking to become rich or make a ton of money from this venture, and I've mulled over the decision to join for a full year before signing on. Trust me, I really thought about it long and hard! :)

If you end up visiting the online shop and see something you want, please try to get a hold of me before you buy online. Usually, I can get you a way better deal if you order it through me rather than through my online store. If you want to host a party and get a few friends together, then you stand to benefit more because you get hostess credits toward free books, plus it's an opportunity to a)hang out with your friends, and b)get to handle the books yourself to see what they're like. If you're not in my local area, I can try to get you in touch with someone in your city.

And that's my pitch, and the heart behind my new sales venture. I hope it's not tacky or aggressive, and I hope I can honour those who invite me into their space by being as respectful as I can in my approach to selling.


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