No business can survive without sales. If revenue is not coming in, your company will be out of business. Small business owners are more vulnerable to closing up shop due to lack of sales.
Of course, there are myriad of reasons why a business fails, but lack of sales is one of the more prevalent ones. The underling reason maybe bad marketing, wrong product, or poor customer service. Yet, when I meet with some of my clients that want to start their own business, fear of sales or lack of sales experience pop up often.
They will tell me: “I don’t like selling.” “I don’t have sales experience.” “I never sold anything before.” Jokingly, I would tell them: “Yes. You have sold before. From the time you were born, you were selling your mom and dad that you are so cute that they have to feed, bathe and clothe you.”
My view on sales is “sales is about forming relationships.” I also have to believe that through my products or services I can serve others. If a business owner does not believe that his or her products and services are not valuable or does not benefit his/her clients; then, they should close up shop right away. Why delay the inevitable.
There is no magical potion to sales. Sales is a game of numbers. The more qualified prospects you put in your sales funnel, the more likelihood you will close deals. But learning how to form relationships with your clients, delivering solutions to solve their problems and being present can result in magical moments in your sales results.
Here are some approaches I used when selling solutions to my clients:
1) Start with the Low Hanging Fruit: There are days when I don’t feel up to making the calls or going out prospecting for new clients. To get myself mentality prepared , I think of folks that are in my inner circle that could use my products and services. I focus on the ones that are pleasant to speak with, or it’s fun to be in their presence.
I don’t go with a hidden agenda. When I contact them, I ask how things are going and inquire if there is anything they are struggling with that I may be of assistance to them. If there is, they let me know. Then I offer to meet with them to see where there is a fit.
By starting with the folks that I have a great relationship builds my confidence to call on the ones that are newer to me. It makes me not fear getting a “no.” By the way, getting “no” isn’t such a bad thing. It gets you closer to a “yes.”
Having a hard time starting your sales day? Start with your low hanging fruit. Reach out to people that you know, people that you have sold to in the past, people that like and trust you.
2) Sell Only What You Believe In: When I worked in the corporate world, I had to believe in the products the companies were offering in order for me to go out and represent them. Being connected in that way made me passionate about selling those products or services.
The result of this passion was that I had more sales. There were times when a client wasn’t sure about the product, but due to my knowledge of the product and the passion I had about it, they bought from me. This is the same now that I am a business owner.
If you don’t believe in what you are selling, you will not come across as being authentic to your prospects. If you don’t believe it, why should they.
3) Sell Only What Your Clients Need: The consulting process I utilize, helps me to learn what issues my clients are experiencing in their businesses. By asking key questions, they open up to me; allowing me to learn where my products and services may be solve their business needs.
There are times when my products and service aren’t a good match for what problems they are facing. At this point of the consulting process, I let them know that it’s not a fit. I would rather lose the sale than deliver something I know will not work for them.
If you are out selling to your clients, don’t sell them an orange when they need an apple. It will make you feel better. Your honesty will pay off in the long run. Walk away from the sale. Before you do, ask them for a referral. Those that appreciate your honesty will be more than willing to open their list of contacts to you.
4) Be Present: As I mentioned previously, sales is a numbers game. If you are not on the phone making calls, networking through social media, attending networking events or visiting existing clients; you are missing out on opportunities to sell.
When I was writing my book, it took me out of the loop for a while. It was amazing how low my opportunity funnel declined. Once I kicked myself in the butt and pushed myself to Be Present online through my blogs; go to events and making the phone calls; my funnel increased, tremendously.
“I’ve found that luck is quite predictable. If you want more luck, take more chances, be more active, show up more often.” ~ Brian Tracy
If you are struggling with connecting with others due to an out-of-balance schedule, doing something small can still keep your sales funnel healthy. Make two are three calls a day to existing clients or new prospects may be all you need. Going to one event every other week might also prove to be of value.
5) Make It Fun: Life is too short to work from a place of fear, boredom, or misery. When I feel a spell of doubt about selling, I implement a reward system. I set a goal for how many calls I would make for the day. Or I may set a goal of how many qualified contacts I will make at an event. Then I would reward myself with something. It maybe as simple as treating myself to an ice cream cone or watching a playful movie.
Selling to me, is the “wine and dine” period in the sales cycle. If I’m wooing a client, I have to present the best me. This means I have to walk into any meeting on get on a call with a positive, upbeat attitude. This attitude is often infectious to the client, also.
No one wants to work with a dud. Find a way to make selling fun. Take the fear out of it. As a business owner, you have got to love selling or else find someone who does. If you don’t, your business will not be around for long.
Whether you follow these tips or not, remember that no business that rely on revenue can exist without sales. Find a way to fall in love with the sales process and take your business to newer heights.
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Marlene M. Bryan is a Distinguished Toastmaster, DTM. She is a certified speaker and leader by Toastmasters International. She is currently the District 47 Public Relations Officer, and leader of the Public Relations Team. Sheprovides her services to over 3800 members throughout the district. Marlene is the owner of Marlene M. Bryan, Corp. She is a speaker, an author, and a coach. Pick up the latest copy of her book Live a Diamond Life, A Life of Purpose: Diamond Cutters at firstname.lastname@example.org.