The other day I was enjoying a glass of orange juice from the Whole Foods Market that recently opened here in Naperville, Illinois. I was curious as to why this product was so much better than the others? I looked at the label for a clue and all it said was "fresh squeezed orange juice." Of course, I thought, that's exactly why it was so good. It was real! The true nature of orange juice is this – it's a great product if you get if fresh. That's all there is to it!
Why was this a significant moment. Well, the previous week I was drinking orange juice from the other supermarket and I noticed something strange on the label – the words "some pulp." What does that mean, I wondered? What are the specifications for "some pulp." I was so curious I went to the store to do a little more research. As expected, in addition to Some Pulp, there is No Pulp, Lots of Pulp, Healthy Kids, Low Acid, and Antioxidant – all for one particular brand. Now, excuse me, but if something has been added to or taken out of my orange juice – is it really orange juice anymore? Why would you have to do that if you have a quality product? The key here is the marketers can have a tendency to complicate things. In their efforts to represent products to be more than they are, they lose sight of what really sells in the first place – a clear representation.
To answer my question, no, I don't believe you can sell something you don't believe in. In the movie Walk the Line, Johnny Cash is auditioning in the studio of the legendary producer Sam Phillips. He and his band are performing this gospel tune for just a short while before Sam interrupts them. He says to Johnny – "I don't believe you." He didn't believe Johnny felt something about that music - that it was really a part of him, something he believed in. Sorry Johnny – no sale. Sam explains, "If you were hit by a truck..is that the song you would play before you were dirt…or would you sing somethin' different? Something real. Something you felt! And that's exactly what Johnny proceeded to do. So what am I thinking — Yeah, I feel bad for that adulterated orange juice that has to masquerade as something it isn't when the real thing is so good!
You get the point. Selling is a very simple process when its clear what is being sold and whatever you are selling is accurately represented by a trained salesperson – nothing more or less. This is where people can be unclear if you aren't clear. And when that happens – no sale. They start thinking either you don't know, or worse, that you are not telling the truth – i.e. it's too good to be true. When this happens you lose credibility. If there is anything you can count on in the profession of selling, it's being who you are. That resonates with people. If you get that right, meaning you believe in yourself and the product you represent – and the marketers in your company do their job of clearly positioning the product, the rest is pure and refreshing – like a perfect glass of orange juice.