There’s a question that I regularly ask new business owners that I meet. It’s a really simple question but it can be incredibly insightful.
The question is … “what’s your opinion of salespeople?”
Their answer usually speaks volumes about their personal approach to sales, about their team’s approach if they have a sales team, but more importantly about their business’ current sales performance as a result.
So what’s your opinion?
Do you think of salespeople as being pushy, aggressive, inconvenient, or worse? Or do you consider them to be skilled professionals who build great relationships and guide customers through a clear buying process, so that they are able to make informed decisions?
If you’re in the first camp rest assured, you’re not alone; in fact you’re in the majority. However, be careful because it’s very likely that your attitude towards salespeople is having a detrimental effect on your own business. I’ve seen bazillions of instances of business owners who are so anti-sales that they will do absolutely anything to ensure that they themselves are never considered pushy. What this usually means is that they often don’t ask for a sale outright, or they continually put off the phone call they know they need to make to follow up last week’s quotes.
Whether you like the idea or not, the simple truth is that if you’re in business you’re in sales!
So what can you do if you don’t like selling and are adamant that you never want to be considered pushy or an inconvenience? Here are a few tips to help you change your approach:
1) Stop selling and start helping people to buy.
Most of us hate to be sold to, but on the whole we really like to buy things. Stop thinking about your phone calls or meetings as sales calls and start thinking about what help each call offers to your potential client. Focus far more on them than you do on you. If you show genuine interest and understanding you’re halfway to closing the sale.
2) Define your sales process.
Think through every step from your first contact with a potential customer – what information do you send them about you (testimonials?); what questions do you ask about them; do you connect with them online before you meet with them; how much research do you undertake about their company or their personal needs? Measure your conversion rate every time you make any changes to this process so that over time you identify exactly the right sales process for your company. Focus on building relationships and demonstrating your company’s expertise and credibility. Show customers who you truly are and what your business is all about and they will want to do business with you.
3) Always ask for the sale!
Think of it this way – if a customer is ready to buy but you don’t give them that option then you’ve done them a disservice. Never assume they’re not ready to buy – that’s their decision, not yours. If you’re thinking “that’s too pushy for me” or “but I know that doesn’t work in my industry” then stop now! I’ve had heated debates with many clients about this and in every case when they asked for the sale more often, their conversion rate increased significantly – and we designed a process they were completely comfortable with so that they never felt pushy.
4) Believe in your own value then get out of your way.
Do you provide a fantastic service or deliver great products? Do you believe you can genuinely help your customers? Is there a need in the market-place that your company fulfills? So start blowing your own trumpet! If you convey all of that belief with real passion and conviction then your prospective customers will WANT to do business with you. That’s when sales suddenly become fun!
So what can you do in the next week to change your sales approach and improve your conversion rate? If you need help to define a sales process or to create some scripts that will help you overcome your fear of selling then give Beef Up a call.