Did you start your business to become a salesperson?
Not many people like selling or being thought of as a “salesperson”. They have often started a business or been moved into a technical support role because they are good at what they do and can solve problems for their customers, but they never set up their business to be a salesperson. A lot of people I work with fear or dislike selling. And since people fear or dislike it, they try and avoid it.
I frequently get told, “I’m not in sales so I don’t need to know how to sell.” Well, that’s not true – everyone is in sales.
Author Daniel Pink has an excellent quote;
“We are all born to sell, whether it is a product, solution, service or just an idea. It can be something as simple as making a new friend or applying for a new job, every day we sell ourselves.”
When you say “salesperson”, a lot of people instantly think of your hardline salespeople. Someone knocking on your door and trying to sell you a vacuum cleaner. Or that phone call you get just as you are sitting down for dinner, with a very insistent person on the other end persuading you to change power companies.
You don’t have to be a salesperson like that to make sales. In fact, you can make sales without “selling” at all. If you’re passionate about your product or business, it’s not difficult to gain new customers or clients. You just need to be yourself, remember that there’s nothing wrong with failure, and follow a simple process.
Let’s have a look at each of these in more detail.
1. Be Yourself
People like you, right? You have friends and family who enjoy hanging out with you and hearing your thoughts and opinions.
So, you’re having a few drinks with some friends on a Friday night. You’re relaxed and just being yourself. The topic turns to where to go to dinner and you start recommending the new Italian restaurant down the road.
You don’t suddenly change and start acting like the vacuum cleaner salesman who turned up at your door, putting the hard sell on to why you should all go to this Italian restaurant, do you?
If you did, would they go try the restaurant? Probably not. In fact, you might find yourself eating Italian alone!
Instead, as part of the casual conversation you’d recommend the restaurant and because you’re being yourself, open and honest, your friends would probably check it out.
Think back to Daniel Pink’s quote – that’s a sale. And it was pretty easy wasn’t it? All you need to do is be yourself.
You’re passionate about your business and the products or services you’re selling. You know that these products or services can really help someone who has a particular problem. So, instead of selling to them, have a conversation. People are turned off by “salespeople” because they don’t come across as genuine. Once prospects realise that you’re just being yourself, they’ll open up and it will be so much easier to make the sale.
Your passion will come across, you’ll act more confident and, once you get a few wins under your belt, your self-belief will grow.
It really is that simple!
2. Failure Is Okay
You won’t find a successful entrepreneur, business owner or salesperson who hasn’t failed.
Take Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post, for example.
The Huffington Post is now one of the most popular blogging and news platforms on the web but when Arianna started her career she was rejected by 36 publishers. Before that, at high school, she struggled writing during her due to her poor command of the English language. However, she kept going and didn’t let these failures hold her back. Her mother had a saying, “failure is not the opposite of success but a stepping stone to success.”
You don’t have to close every sale and if you don’t close a sale you haven’t failed. Instead, that sale you didn’t close, is a stepping stone to close the next one or the one after that.
You do this by changing your perspective. Treat every sale as a learning opportunity. Understand why you didn’t close the deal and put those learnings into practice for the next sale.
This ability to bounce back from failure is called resilience and is something we’ll look at in more detail in the future.
3. Have a Sales Process
Businesses are full of processes. That’s how we maintain efficiency and make sure we’re achieving consistent results, regardless of who is carrying out a task in the business.
It’s the same for sales. You need a sales process.
Your sales process doesn’t just help you achieve results, it also gives you confidence. One of the reasons people find sales scary is because they are worried about the unknown. What if the potential client says, “no”? What if they ask for a discount? What if they think my product is too expensive? An effective sales process will mean you already know the answers to all the key questions a potential prospect might ask.
Here’s a simple sales process you can utilise in your business:
- Prospecting – sourcing potential customers, such as referrals
- Qualifying – working out whether these potential customers have the characteristics that qualify them as a good prospect for your business
- Needs Discovery – finding out what the prospect’s needs, that your business can fulfill, are
- Proposal or Presentation – demonstrating how your products or services can meet their needs
- Handling Objections – how you answer their objections to using your products or services
- Closing – completing the sale
- Follow-up for Repeat Business – encouraging them to purchase again and asking for referrals
Check out our post on Why Every Business Needs a Sales Process for more information.
In summary, when it comes to making sales, you don’t need to sell. Just be yourself and have a conversation with your prospects.
If they don’t want to buy, that’s ok! What have you learned that you can apply to your next sale?
Finally, have a process. That way you know what to do when you get asked a particular question or when to move on to the next step of the sales process.
At Attain, we help people make sales without selling and provide a range of coaching, training and consulting solutions to suit you and your organisation’s needs – get in touch.
Sales Coach – Attain NZ