WANNA BE A GOOD CHRISTIAN? BE A GOOD SALESMAN
“…Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15) Those are the departing words of Jesus before he leaves his disciples and ascends into heaven. Every Christian may not be a preacher, but every Christian must study the art of teaching. It doesn’t matter if a certain brother or sister is a better teacher than you are. It doesn’t matter if teaching is a real weakness and struggle for you. Some Christians may be naturally better at teaching than others are, but it is the job of every single Christian to be a teacher of the gospel. When Jesus gave that command, he told it to 12 different people: 12 different teachers with 12 varying degrees of teaching styles. Those men went out and they taught the gospel to anyone and everyone who would listen. We need to do the same.
Before you teach the gospel, you need to be able to persuade someone to listen. This is where being a salesman comes in. You need to persuade someone to listen before you can teach. It’s a little odd to think of being a Christian similarly to being in sales, but it is. You are selling yourself as a Christian and selling God to other people. There are plenty of sales terms and concepts that we can examine that can be applied to a Christian’s life, but I want to focus on the context of the persuasive interview.
Before the interview
The first rule of sales is to “always be selling.” You need to be selling God at all times. Not only in words, but in your example. People need to look at you and want what you have. God’s word gives us peace, wisdom, character, and salvation. People should be able to see that in you and want that for themselves.
Another important rule to understand is the New ABC’s of Persuasion. The new ABC’s of Persuasion is from the book “To Sell is Human” by Dan Pink. Tell me if this feels familiar to any of you.
– Attunement: Learning to see from another person’s perspective
– Buoyancy: being able to float in an ocean of rejection
– Clarity: identify the problem and explain how you can solve it
During the interview
At the start of the interview (or before) you want to ask information gathering questions to determine the interviewee’s knowledge level and get a basis of what they already know. This is your foundation. Try to keep them engaged by asking them a question that appeals to their interests and emotions. Start small! Get small agreements into bigger agreements by saying things like “We’ll only study for a few minutes…” then as time progresses you can move to things like come to services. It’s very important to identify their objections, draw them out, and address them. Plan how to respond. Listen: never assume you understand their point or concern until you have heard it. Respond appropriately, tactfully, and seriously.
Before you close the “interview” you want to establish the solution to their problem and establish criteria for that solution. Instead of telling them what to do, demonstrate the routine, and participate in the solution on a small scale. “Come with me to services on Wednesday night.”
Closing the interview
First of all, you need to verify that the interviewee understands everything. Give them the opportunity to consider the things that you have said. If they say “no”, then you may ask what it is that they don’t understand. If you get a “yes”, then you can offer a tangible commitment. “So, you’ll come to services next week?” or “So, we can continue this study on Thursday?” You want them to commit to something concrete. If they need time, then give it to them. The primary goal is to leave them with a positive impression.
It is also necessary for you to understand the rule of reciprocation. If you do a favor for someone, they will want to repay you. This means you may need to go to their congregation before they go to yours or something to that effect. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.” (2 Corinthians 5:10-11 NKJV)