Why we must learn to sell

Selling – it’s almost a dirty word to us creative types. We tend to be artistic, have flair, create masterpieces. Our work should sell and our talents should be recognised just because. We’re good. We know we’re good. The world just needs to see that.

Unfortunately the world sometimes needs its eyes prised open. It needs to be sold the idea of just how great we are. The trouble is, we’re not very good at selling. It’s embarrassing. It’s uncomfortable. Selling is something that people who didn’t have our talent were forced to do.

Many of us use agents or intermediaries to sell for us. But even then, we all need to improve our selling skills. An agent can only get you so far – an audition, a screen test, an interview. Once there, we need to sell ourselves.

Why do people buy?

One of the key errors we freelances make is misunderstanding how to sell. To get it right we need to understand how people buy, and, in particular, how different people buy for different reasons. There is no one way to sell your skills – you need to tailor your approach to the buying motives of each potential customer.

Think why someone buys a particular make and model of car. The same car will be bought by one person for comfort and reliability, by a second for appearance and performance and by a third because the boot space is big enough for their golf clubs or their child’s buggy.

The salesman sells the same car in three different ways, pushing its different strengths to match the buying motivation of the customer. He sells the fully adjustable seats, the air conditioning and the arm rests to the first customer. He sells the engine size, acceleration and the alloy wheels to the second customer. And he sells the fold-away rear seats, boot width and luggage rack accessories to the third.

Customers have different reasons for buying

If you can work out which buying motives are influencing your potential customers you will know how best to present the benefits of your product or service to each customer.


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