By Candace Huntly and Trevor Shorte
If you have ever felt the dread of picking up a phone or sweaty palms walking into a meeting with a potential client, you are not alone. Selling is a big part of being an entrepreneur, but most people don’t know that they already have the tools they need to do it and do it well. You’ve been selling since you were a kid, you just didn’t realize it. (Think lemonade stands, school bake sales, Girl Guide cookies, convincing your parents to buy that special thing you wanted. All those activities have helped you hone your selling skills.) Selling really is that simple. The question is how do you get rid of your fear of selling?
So what’s holding you back?
While everyone is unique in their thinking and how they do things, there are certain common feelings that come up often when discussing sales.
- You don’t want to become a negative stereotype: What do you think of when you hear the word “sales”? Are you part of the group that has images pop up of the smarmy used car or door to door salesman? If you associate that negative stereotype with selling, then you will try to avoid it at all costs so you don’t become what you fear.
- You are afraid of rejection: Hearing no can be difficult, but you need to separate your personal feelings from your professional reality. If someone says no to you, it has nothing to do with your worth as a person. It could mean a wealth of things. They may just not be interested right now, or it might be out of the budget, or it could even just be the wrong product or service for them. You will hear no from more than one person, but how you take that and the feedback that comes with it that, will set you apart from your competitors.
The right approach to sales
Your sales strategy has three important elements:
- Product offering: What it is you have to sell
- Marketing message: How you are going to talk about it
- Social proof: What your customers are saying about it
You have to work through the three elements and perfect each at different stages to reach your full selling potential. That means you need to work at it to build your strategy over time because you definitely won’t have social proof right out of the gate.
In order to get a good start, you need to remember that your goal isn’t to make a sale. Your goal is to get someone to agree that you offer a solution that meets their needs – that you can fill a gap in their life with something they value (works for both B2C and B2B). Once you can get that idea in your head, these are thing things to focus on and some questions to ask yourself to help you achieve success:
- Why was the product developed in the first place: A good product or service was designed to fill a need for your customers. Does your product/service still fill that need?
- Understand your customer: What makes them tic? What are the things that influence purchase decisions? What path to purchase do they prefer to take? Where do they get their information?
- Use language that makes sense to your customers: When you are talking to people what terms do they use when describing your product/service? Are you using language that is too salesy? Too much industry jargon?
- Focus on filling the need: How can you be of service to your customer?
Tips and Tricks
You know what you have to do, but sometimes it takes time to get over that lump of fear in your stomach. So here are a few tips and tricks to help you set out on the right path.
- Shift your perspective: Don’t think of sales as convincing someone to buy. Think of it as pointing them in the right direction to help them make a purchase. It’s a conversation. You don’t have to trick people into buying your stuff. Closing a deal is a natural evolution of the conversation – whether it happens right away or over time.
- Celebrate even the smallest wins: It doesn’t matter if you celebrate having a great initial conversation or simply snagging a meeting… Celebrate the small stuff that way when you land your big client it is a major celebration.
- Set goals and start small: You know your overall goal isn’t to sell, but what about the small goals along the way? Set measurable and attainable goals for yourself that represent milestones on your sales timeline. If you only focus on the 5 or 10-year goals you won’t have any way to track your progress along the way to make sure you are on track to reach those goals. Plus, your month numbers are going to seem way less scary than your 10-year numbers.
- Focus on what you can control: You can’t control the outcome, you can only focus on what you bring to the table. Perfect your presentation, focus on your brand development so you make the best impression possible, make sure you have a winning product, etc. If you focus on making your brand and product/service the best it can be, that is an achievement worth buying into.
- Don’t give up: You’re likely not going to make a million dollars as soon as you launch your business. Most success takes time to build – even the ones that seem like they happened overnight. It takes a lot of work to build a successful business – even just a successful sales strategy. You don’t have to make thousands of cold calls (in fact you shouldn’t), but you do have to work at it so it becomes less scary each time you set out to make a sale.
Your sales strategy is an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to your overall business strategy. Sales and marketing should work hand in hand to help you grow and, over time, you will enjoy the success that you had hoped for in the beginning.
If you are wondering how to get started in building a successful sales strategy because you just don’t know where to start, book a free 20-minute consultation with SongBird Partner Trevor Shorte. Trevor is SongBird’s in-house sales and strategy expert and he can give you some quick advice to help you start going in the right direction.