What is your first impression of sales people? Good, bad…ugly? Unfortunately without harnessing sales in your business – you will be out of business. Here is my view of why you, crucially, need to understand ‘sales’ as a small business.
It’s a fact that many of us have a negative impression of the word “sales” and “sales people”. We believe sales people are “pushy” – they talk at people and rarely listen, and horror of horrors…sell people things they don’t need!
Turning ‘sales’ into a positive
As a business owner we certainly don’t want to be associated with a negative image. We do not want to be seen as “sales people”. Have you convinced yourself, with the old adage of ‘people buy from people’, and that building strong relationships is the key to successful selling?
Well, you are absolutely right – there is lots of evidence that building trusting relationships and getting people to “like” you is important in selling. This is a positive aspect to build into your awareness, however…
Converting relationship building into profit
Sometimes this correlation of building trust and relationships presents us with challenges. Which of these scenarios ring true for you:
- You develop wonderful relationships, but take too long to develop, and you need to obtain sales from elsewhere.
- You have a strong relationship, you know the buyer needs what you have, but they don’t choose you.
- You like each other, the buyer wants to buy, but because of the relationship expects a discount – which means we don’t cover our costs.
So, how will understanding selling help you?
Pricing and reasons for buying
Whilst liking and trusting you has some value for the customer – it will not compensate for a perceived price or quality gap. The added value must come from really understanding their compelling reasons for buying and for spending their money. Sometimes there is also the issue that they would be spending MORE money to do business with you, rather than your competitor. After all, most of us aren’t always going to provide the lowest cost solution.
Selling is a structured process
Let me just say this: great selling isn’t ‘pushy’. It’s a structured conversation that leads you to uncover their compelling reasons for buying, by asking great questions – which allow you to tailor your proposal exactly to their needs.
The key to include in your structure as well is in ‘asking for the business’ or closing. This is often the part of the sales process, even the most experienced sales person omits. Why? Well, usually because they haven’t done a great job earlier in the sales process, therefore they feel uncomfortable. The ‘close’ doesn’t feel natural because the buyer isn’t giving off signals that they are ready to buy.
Here’s the thing (and its not a secret): if you have a meeting with someone interested in buying your product or service, at some point they are expecting a conversation about buying from you. It’s obvious looking at it now hey?
The prospect in front of you is actually expecting you to take that next step that moves the sale on. If you’ve done a great job in the selling conversation, this will be entirely natural and stress free.
What could you do differently in your sales conversation?
Sometimes it helps to sit and map out how you approach lead generating and working through a prospect’s enquiry with you. What are the steps involved in your structure? Perhaps you don’t think you have a structure…but you have the bones of a great one, and are just missing a few steps.
Ask me some questions below and I’d be happy to help! If you are interested in finding out more about becoming a great sales person for your business, then make sure you check out my ‘Demystifying Sales’ workshop – register your interest with Barbara for the next available date.