Is this question confusing or profound?

Kathie Rotz PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

Is this question confusing or profound to you? “People will buy despite you, but will it be from you?”

When I first heard this a few weeks ago I thought it was extremely confusing and somewhat contradictory. The more I ponder this question the more profound it becomes.

During the financial crisis of 2008, my husband and I owned a bookstore. Financial challenges during this time was an understatement. Customers would come into our store for our kindness, knowledge and research but then choose to purchase elsewhere online where their resources were cheaper.

We found many of our books in local big box stores for a price less than what we paid as a supplier. Our customers were buying despite us and it was not from us.

During the pandemic of 2020, I own a direct selling business where I sell cooking tools. I have been in this business for 18 years. People are cooking more at home now, so I know that there is a need for these tools. Plus, other local stores cannot keep cooking tools on their shelves.

My sales this year have increased by 200%. My customers are buying during this uncertain year and it is from me. However, there are other consultants in this same business who are struggling and not getting sales.

What is the difference between my approach to business in 2008 vs. 2020? What is the difference between my direct selling business and others who sell the same tools?

Besides being more seasoned in life and growing from lessons learned, I also am passionate about thinking differently. There is obviously a different mindset in those who succeed in the same business, during the same time period, as me.

I do not want to be in the position ever again that I was in back in 2008. I do not want to feel unempowered, helpless and drowning. I got angry and chose to focus my energy on these three areas:

Connect

Connect with people. It is as simple as that. Even though people can be scary and intimidating, do not avoid them.

I visited a socially distanced outdoor vendor recently and the business owner sat with her back to her products. This in turn kept her back to the people who were shopping. If people wanted to buy, why should they choose you to buy from? You are not even smiling at them or showing an interest in them. Shoppers do not need to be convinced to buy your products; they need to be convinced to buy from you.

Ask

Not everyone thinks like you. So, stop assuming that you know how everyone else is thinking. Your income might be reduced during the pandemic; you could be nervous about spending money. This does not mean that everyone is in the same situation as you.

If you have something to offer then share it with everyone and ask if they would like one, too. My business statistics show that it takes 10 asks before I receive one yes. If I need 10 yeses then I need to ask 100 people. If I do not ask, I will get 100% no.

Know

Know the value in what you provide. Believe in your products. Know your value and strengths and how you can help people. Believe in yourself. Be confident. If you doubt yourself others will feel that hesitation and walk away from what you offer.

While checking out at a convenient store the cashier asked me if I would like to add to my order a new candy bar that was strategically placed on the counter. She asked it this way: “Would you like to try this new candy bar? You don’t have to if you don’t want to.” I do not think she believed in the candy bar or the process of asking for my business.

Success comes from the power of thinking differently. Regardless of who you are or what you sell people are spending money this year and they will buy gifts to give during the holiday season.

Connect with any person you come in contact with, ask if you could help them with their needs and know that you have a valuable solution to offer. As a reward for your focus and growth, their purchases might be from you.