“But I’m not a salesperson!” exclaims almost every small business owner or coach I have worked with. I was trying to think of something clever here, but face it bucko, you’re in sales. If you have something that you would like others to buy, you are a salesperson. Yuck, right?
Well, my goal today is to help you understand what selling is really all about and get you excited to grow your business and stop thinking like a non-salesperson. All I ask is that you trust me and keep reading. Cool?
Why don’t you want to be known as a salesperson?
What images does the word salesperson bring to mind?
It makes sense that no one who selling their services wants to be labelled as any one of these. No wonder they say, “I’m not a salesperson.”
I would hate to be called any one of those things! The list looks like the seven dwarfs of selling. Read it again!
Or, perhaps you don’t want to seem unprofessional, or feel like you don’t have the selling skills? And that may be what is causing you to hold back on setting up those client meetings? I totally get that too.
Most coaches or small business owners get into to their business because of something they believe in. Something they feel passionate about. They are so excited to tell the world, while at the same time are terrified to be labelled as something they’re not. And that is why they get stuck in this place of non-selling.
- They want to tell people about their business…but only if it’s okay with them.
- They want to promote their services…as long as it doesn’t offend anyone.
- They are excited to get people to buy…but only when they are ready
Do any of these sound familiar to you?
What sales is NOT
Sales is NOT about manipulating people into a decision. Sales is NOT about trying to win and close the deal. Sales is NOT about harassing people until they give in and buy from you so you go away.
Sales is NOT icky.
The reason sales gets a bad rap is that there are so many AMATEUR, unprofessional people out there trying to sell in the ways you have described.
Let’s call THOSE people the Seven Sales Dwarfs. (I like that)
Sales is one of the worlds oldest professions, I think right along side with prostitution. (which is also sales)
The reason you feel gross when you think about being a salesperson is because you don’t want others to view you in a negative light. I get that. NO one wants to be thought of as a slimey, douchey, manipulative person, that when you walk in the room, they all scatter.
Most people have a product or service they are trying to get people to buy. What do they do? They think of all the great things their product can do.
- It does xyz
- It smells great
- It is the best at x
- It makes your life easier
- It cures cancer
So what do they do? They go around trying to tell people all the “stuff” their product can do and drive people crazy. That is not selling. But wait! There’s more! If you haven’t read my series on why people make decisions based on emotion, make sure you do.
It doesn’t have to be like that. When you get it right and become a professional who sells, people will give you a whole different level of respect.
What sales IS
I consult with a lot of small business owners, coaches, and salespeople and they all tell me they don’t want that sales label. Business owners even go so far as to say they want to hire a salesperson as fast as possible so they don’t have to sell!
That’s how bad the pain is – they will pay someone else to do it! Wow!
It is a delicate conversation because of the deep-seated feelings we have towards salespeople. But once they start to understand how to sell the right way, we create freedom in their thoughts, simpler action plans, and increased revenue.
Understand one key concept: every day, we all sell things.
- We try and decide on where to go for lunch
- We get our significant other to see our view on an idea
- We get our kids to do their homework
- We help others get excited about projects
And the list can go on and on.
What is selling?
Sales is simply creating a path for someone to make a decision. The better you do at making the path tap into someone’s needs (fears and desires), the easier your job will be.And quite simply, sales is just a process. A process of steps that logically make sense, while at the same time addressing needs. When done correctly, your customers love you.
This year, in my consulting practice, I have teamed up with a world-renowned expert in systems thinking and we have been having a blast! We have combined our methodologies into an amazing program and our clients are getting huge results. Check out Dr. Domenico Lepore’s site, Intelligent Management for more info.
The reason I mention Dr Lepore is that when we first met, he let me know that I was the first person that fully understood that sales is just a process. And NOT some mystical art form. Granted, there are some that are WAY better than others, and the new research shows that the reason for this is their ability to connect with people.
That can also be taught.
So essentially sales is a combination of a systemic process that follows a logical sequence, combined with an understanding of how people make decisions based on emotions. If you learn and apply both sides of the equation, you can accelerate your revenue and create raving, loyal fans.
It’s that simple.
Let me explain.
How to sell anything to anyone
Before you go out and try and tell people what you do or what you offer, you must take the time to understand what you are offering – in a different way.
The reason I mention Dr Lepore is that I love his analogy about the roles of marketing and sales. You see, in a systemic approach to your business, you understand that these functions don’t operate in isolation. Marketing, sales, operations, finance, new product development, customer service -all have interdependencies with each other.
The role of new product development and marketing is to ensure that your product or service meets the needs of your target market. Dr Lepore calls this lining up the ducks. If done correctly, sales is easy. The role of sales is to just shoot the ducks.
Does that make sense?
The fear you have as a small business owner is that you don’t want to miss out on opportunities, so you try and make your product or service appeal to a wide range of people right? Wrong.
Here is the question that I ask my clients that proves this. “Who is your product/service for?”
They almost always tell me something like, “Well really anyone can use this because…blah blah blah…and so I do…”This is what builds bad salespeople. Trying to be all things to all people.
Here is what you need to do to sell.
- Identify your target market. Have you taken the time to segment your customers properly? Do you have a very specific group of people (niche) that you serve? or are you trying to sell all things to all people? The more you try and sell to a broader range of prospects, the less you address their key concerns, and the more likely it will be that you have to sell. The rule of thumb is that you should identify a segment that is 10x the capacity you have to deliver. Then go for it!
- List their undesirable effects (UDEs) or symptoms they deal with. Once you have done a good job segmenting your market, take the time to list the pains they feel. The problems in their lives that your product potentially addresses. Most people sell features and benefits. What common problems does your segment face that is consistent with all of them? What is the TODAY pain they have?
- Outline how your product or service addresses those UDEs. When you see the symptoms your customers have, the pain they feel, then you should map out the cause and effect nature of those problems that lead them logically to your solution. Notice that at this point, we haven’t discussed selling at all yet? The more time you spend on the preparation of how your product addresses the core conflicts of your market, the easier it will be for you to shoot the ducks.
- Create an unrefusable offer. If you have done a good job identifying your market, listing their UDEs, and mapping out your solution, now it’s time to craft your offer. One that is within the acceptable price range of your market, can’t be easily copied by your competition, and meets their needs specifically. At this stage, it gets exciting. Your confidence builds and you can’t wait to get in front of people, because you KNOW you can help them!
- Make a list and get in front of your market! Now comes the fun part. Identify your key clients that you want to work with and go sell. You can also use this as the building blocks of your marketing campaigns, funnels, systems, etc. Start with the symptoms (UDEs) first and then discuss the natural cause and effect of these symptoms, what happens when they don’t address these symptoms, and ultimately, how you can solve these problems in a way that “people just like them” have seen results.
That is basically it, in a simplistic form. Sales starts from a well-thought out product that addresses a specific group of people and their needs.
The better you prepare, the easier it will be, and the more you understand your customer, the more you will position yuorself as an expert. They will feel that you “get” them.
After that, it is all about follow up, service delivery, tracking, and growth.
Do you want more help with this? Next Steps:
If this makes sense to you, here is what I suggest.
- Download my FREE Sales Process Ebook. This is the exact system I use when I work with clients. It is the overview of the steps to follow.
- Read these other articles I previously posted and build your depth of knowledge:
- Why we make decisions based on emotions (4 part neuroscience series)
- 6 best sales tips to grow your business
- SPIN Selling Explained [VIDEO] Also, the more detailed 3000+ word post on SPIN Selling
- Close more sales: Connect and get excited [VIDEO]
- Sales call planning: What to do before you pick up that phone
- Work with me directly on your business to grow your sales and build your systems. Learn the psychology of your customers, and more importantly gain confidence in what you are doing! My passion is to make sales training accessible for everyone, so I work with YOUR budget to help you make the right changes and grow.
- Identify your markets
- Work through your value proposition
- Build your process
- Get customers
- Scale your business this year