If you are a new entrepreneur or even one with many years of experience, sales are often the least enjoyable part of your business. While this is true, it is a necessary evil. During the initial years of your business, if not the entire life cycle, you are the company's best spokesperson. Even if you wind up hiring an entire sales team or a sales guru, you still represent your business in other ways and, as a result, will always serve as a salesperson on some level.
For example, if you are attending an event, you must communicate what makes your product unique from others. If you have a meeting scheduled with investors, the same is necessary. Are you networking? Speaking with possible marketing platforms? Creating new text for your website? Hosting a webinar or workshop? If so, it all falls on you.
Knowing a prospect's pain point or problem and then convincing them that your product or service is the solution is crucial to achieving success. While utilizing sales automation has its place, you still have to build and perfect your own selling skills. Keep reading for some tips to help you along the way.
Offer Value to Your Customers
Even the very best sales process cannot hide a weak or subpar product or service. If you happen to get customers in the door, they will eventually recognize that your solution does not solve their problem. When this happens, the anger that incurs can be a bigger issue than not having an interested customer to begin with. This hurts your reputation, which may result in limited or no business growth.
You must have a great idea. It does not have to be completely developed or something that is perfectly refined. However, it must offer value to your customers from the start.
Practice Stating the Problem and the Solution You Offer
Can you concisely describe the problem that your product or service can solve? For example, with Uber, the issue was that trying to get a taxi could be frustrating and difficult. You have to find a way to describe the problem so that customers will see that your solution is one that makes sense.
When you find a way to communicate the value of what you offer in concise and simple terms, you will find selling is much easier. However, if you cannot do this, your potential customer will not understand the value offered either.
Set Expectations for Each Encounter and Meeting
If you are going into a person's office for a sales appointment, you need to clarify the goals. If this is your first appointment, and the goal is to make a sizable sale, the first meeting will likely not produce these results.
Instead, your goal for the first meeting should be if there should be a second one. While this may sound unnecessary, once you start having conversations about sales, you will see how establishing clear expectations for every meeting – and holding the prospects to these set expectations – will help you control the conversation and move your prospect further into the conversion funnel.
Learn About the Decision-Making Process
A huge challenge in the sales industry is getting in front of the individual or individuals who will decide about if they want to buy. If you are in B2B sales, this may mean getting the entire executive team to buy into what you are offering. For B2C sales, this could mean convincing a married couple to agree on the purchase.
If you do not talk to your prospects about what the decision-making process they use looks like, you may pitch to someone who cannot decide to buy. While it may be necessary to make it through a few "gatekeepers" to reach the decision-makers, there are few things more frustrating in business than giving your all to your sales pitch to find out you spent your time speaking to the wrong people or person.
Maintain a Sense of Self-Respect
When you feel like your financial stability is on the line, you may reach a point of desperation to make more sales. If this happens, your prospects may begin to take advantage of this – and you. If someone promises you an entire hour but reduces the meeting time to just 30 minutes when you arrive, request to reschedule for the full hour. If you feel like you are jumping through hoops, be sure to challenge this. You can also respectfully call your prospects out if they are not following through on the commitments they have made.
If you want to improve your ability to sell, you have to take steps to learn how this is done. The information found above gives you a good overview, but you need to customize the process you use based on your skills and abilities and your customers' needs.