Selling the Hug Your Customers Way: The Proven Process for Becoming a Passionate and Successful Salesperson for Life
June 11, 2018
Jack Mitchell outlines a customer-first sales process that goes beyond simply meeting customers needs to meeting their desire to connect.
Jack Mitchell opens his new book, Selling the Hug Your Customers Way, with a story about his first adult job—fundraising for the New England Institute of Medical Research. It was a good cause, and he was a passionate young man, so he would often get "carried away" (his words) going on and on about the great work the institute was doing, when most of the donors just wanted to know how much was needed and who to write the check to.
After one such pitch, a helpful, "shrewd old-timer" gave him the what for, explaining that while he appreciated his enthusiasm, he didn't know a "gosh darn thing abut the process involved in selling." What he learned from that older salesperson that day was that there are steps to the sales process, and how they might go—and the importance of staying genuine, honest, transparent, open, and sincere, which he already had down. He memorized those steps, and found he not only had much more success raising more money for the institute, but that both he and the donors he interacted with felt better about their interactions as a result. It all taught him one fundamental thing about the sales process:
To become a truly outstanding salesperson … I realized that you needed to abide by a philosophy. That philosophy can be expressed in a process that you will read about in this book. But it is much more than a process. It's a mindset of getting close to your customers and truly understanding and connecting with them—making them feel great.
For Mitchell, this approach has gone beyond a sales strategy, and become a way of living. "It's not simply a work style," he insists, "but an actual lifestyle." Sales is usually more associated with chicanery than integrity in the popular imagination, but Mitchell turns that on its head by explaining how he "fell deeply in love with selling," with the ability to connect personally and emotionally to customers, while meeting their needs and making the sale. It is a customer-first mindset that he has embedded, as Chairman, into Mitchell Stores, the three-generation family business started by his parents in 1958 that now operates some of the most successful clothing stores in the country. They have been so successful, in fact, that they have been used as a case study at Harvard Business School for many years, and he has been named Executive in Residence at the Columbia School of Business.
He is spreading the message because he believes it is an important message not only for his own business, but for everyone who interacts with sales, which is, well… everyone:
Not a lot of people know this, but the retail salesperson is the most common occupation in the United States, followed by the cashier. More than 7.6 million people hold those jobs. That gives you some sense of how pivotal a role selling plays in our economy and the world economy. And how important it is that it gets done right.
Mitchell Stores employs over 400 of them, and Jack not only dedicates the book to those associates, he dedicates seven pages of the acknowledgments to listing all their names. He promotes a process that sellers can feel good about and proud of, and that makes customers their friends rather than targets. He promotes "the joys and value of great selling within a culture of caring."
Above all, our process is rooted in positive, proactive, personal passion, the heart of which is consideration for our customers.
As human beings, we all yearn for a deeper connection to others. We also all need basic needs like food and clothing (and books!), and have to go out in the marketplace to get them. The best businesses serve both, and Jack Mitchell has a process for doing just that. You'll find it in Selling the Hug Your Customers Way.
We have 20 copies available.