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How to sell – identify the customer’s currency

While reading an article this week about the East Bay Homemade Food Swap, I was reminded how we all have our own currency. Whether certain foods or a yearning for a vacation in the mountains, when you learn someone’s personal currency, you can get the customer’s attention.When I first stumbled upon this food swap phenomena, it reminded me of the cookie exchanges my mother participated in during my childhood in the Midwest. Everyone would bake dozens of their favorite cookies around the holidays and gather to trade and walk away with a broad selection of cookies.

It was always a surprise what would come back home. Some good, some not so good. It always made me appreciate my mother’s baking skills. Today that mismatching of tastes has been professionalized. The Oakland food swaps are much more formal, with a bartering system used to propose trades that appeal to each person on both sides of the trade.

These are foodies with artisanal tastes who want to explore all flavor possibilities. Think blood orange marmalade, peach-and-ginger kombucha, homegrown herbal teas and vegan boysenberry swirl chocolate cake. Keri Keifer of Grand Avenue Bakeshop would have had my currency at the swap. All the great sweets; cupcakes, pies, cookies. But, she found people looking for more savory fare, and was denied a trade.

You have to know each person’s currency to ensure that you have their attention. In sales, this is critical in the one-to-one relationships to understand someone’s personal win to ensure you as the seller are presenting something that appeals to their personal currency. It may be as simple a teaching them something new or maybe they are gunning for a promotion and your solution will help them get it.

Think about this when presenting to a group also, collectively what is their personal currency? I recently watched a great presenter talk to a bunch of middle-aged men and tell the story of his first motorcycle which he had just purchased at the age of 40. Of course, it was a chromed out Harley Davidson. He went on to talk about going to Sturgis, the annual motorcycle rally in North Dakota, for the first time. He had our attention. Everyone connected with this story about new experiences and adventure.

You will make a better connection when you look for the right personal currency.

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image by Katrina Snaps

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