My grandmother was a good cook. And though I loved her food,especially her fried chicken and lemon meringue pie, the real reason I ate Grammy’s cooking was because she made it for me. She cooked with love. Selling a product or service is like cooking: people will buy from you because you are making the offer—as long as you sell with love.
I learned about selling with love when I was a freshman in college. I needed a summer job, and so looked through the newspaper ads with my dad. One of the job opportunities was for an outgoing go-getter. “That’s me,” I said. My dad looked at the position listed, which was for newspaper subscription sales: “A 100 percent commission sales job? That’s the last job you want to take.” Of course, I took it anyway and sold my heart out.
Because I’m dyslexic, I’d never even read the newspaper. But because my dad read it every single day, I instinctively realized that it had a lot of value. So I sold that value. I stood in grocery stores and suggested that people sign up to win free shopping sprees. While they were filling out their forms, I talked to them about the newspaper.
This type of selling took a lot of emotional energy. If I didn’t make any sales by lunchtime, I would get so drained that I wouldn’t make any all day. I didn’t have the emotional reserve I needed to sell. And remember,this job was 100 percent commission. If I didn’t sign up anyone all day, I went home with no money in my pocket.
Eventually I realized that if I was having a bad day, it was better for me to just go home at lunchtime and come back fresh the next day.Once I understood the connection between my emotional energy and my ability to sell, I signed up hundreds of people — so many that I ended up as one of the paper’s top 25 sales reps, out of 300 salespeople across the country. I even earned a trip to Vegas. I accomplished this working just summers and holidays, unlike everyone else.
After finishing college several years later, I needed a way to make some money in between jobs, so I went back to selling papers. But the world had changed. People read the newspaper on the computer. The print version was in decline. And somewhere along the way, I’d made an emotional decision that the print newspaper had no value anymore. I tried to sell the paper for five days in a row. I signed up one person.
No one would buy from me because I didn't believe in the product anymore. I couldn't sell with love.
To sell with love, you have to love the product, obviously. You also have to love your customers. If you don't think your product will solve a problem for them, you’ll have a very hard time selling it if you have any integrity at all. You also must love yourself. If you don't think you're awesome, your potential customers won't either. That’s why I couldn't sell any subscriptions during the afternoon after a bad morning. I’d become angry at myself for not making any sales. I stopped loving myself, and as soon as I was down on myself, no one would buy.
Selling with love is really just about alignment. You have to sell a product you believe in. You have to sell to people your product can help. And perhaps most importantly, you have to love yourself. Remember, people buy because you are cooking, so to speak. Do it with love.
Eric McGehearty is a well-respected entrepreneur, an award-winning artist, and a dedicated advocate for people with learning disabilities. He’s the founder and CEO of Globe Runner SEO, a top-performing, Dallas-based SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and digital marketing firm.
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