If I told you I could help you learn to love selling almost anything, you might think I was exaggerating. Perhaps it seems like a promise too far. After all, selling seems to strike fear into the heart of many an otherwise confident business owner.
However, I know that if they change their approach, most business owners can learn to love selling.
What’s the problem with selling?
My work has shown me that there are many different reasons for business owners disliking sales. Some feel completely overwhelmed by the thought of selling, often because they lack the basic processes within their business that could help them get to grips with sales more easily.
Others are afraid of coming across as ‘salesy’. This might be because they have their own preconceived ideas of salespeople and so retreat from selling themselves, hoping the other things they do will be enough to convince potential prospects.
And then there are the business owners who just don’t know where to start with sales. They spend huge amounts of time (and money) on marketing but can’t quite get those marketing leads to convert into sales. (I wrote a blog about this topic if you would like to read more, 5 Ways to Convert Marketing Leads into Sales).
It’s time to stop letting your perceptions of salespeople get in the way and time to start loving sales instead. Afterall, selling and negotiation are around us everywhere from new houses, home furnishings and even when we go to the dentist as anyone who’s been asked ‘have you considered tooth whitening?’ will attest to!
Successful selling is not about being salesy or pushy and it’s certainly not a dark art. It’s about processes and structures, the way you treat your clients and the relationships you build with them. I’m certain that with the right support and knowledge, you can learn to love selling too.
Do I really need to conquer selling to be successful?
In short, yes! And I’m not saying that because I’m a sales-focused business coach, but instead because I know that successful business-owners take control of their destiny. Learning to love selling will help you:
- Identify and work with your ideal clients. Knowing these means you will optimise your time focusing on working with clients that suit you and your business. That means saying ‘goodbye!’ to those clients that were more trouble than they were worth.
- Make more money. By improving your selling skills, you’ll sell at the price that your goods or services are worth to the people that value them the most (back to my last point, your ideal client).
- Understand where your prospect is in the buying cycle thanks to the qualification process you put in place. This will also mean it’s easier for you to convert your marketing leads into sales as you will identify when prospects are ready to buy from you.
- Avoid demanding out of scope requests. Business owners often forget that a crucial element of selling is setting boundaries. Perfect your approach to sales and you’ll set boundaries which reduce the chances of being asked to do ‘just one more thing’ or being asked for free advice and support.
- Improve client satisfaction. The selling process is intrinsically linked to client service. By understanding what your clients are expecting (for example, what means of communication they prefer), you’ll help manage expectations and build a better relationship – both essential elements in improving client satisfaction.
- Enjoy your working life. Increased visibility of income and forecasting, fewer out of scope demands, nicer, happier clients all mean one thing – a far more enjoyable working life. Who wouldn’t want that?
But I really hate selling, are you sure I can’t avoid it?
Of course you can avoid selling. But there’s no silver bullet. Without actively owning your approach to sales, you put yourself in a position where your clients call the shots, not you. From what I’ve seen, it’s an exhausting, unpredictable and unprofitable way to run a small business.
Three easy ways to learn to love selling
Ready to take control of your sales? Here’s how you can learn to love selling and develop a sales-confident approach to running your business.
1. Focus on relationships
I say this a lot, I know, but it’s so important to remember that sales is intrinsically linked to client service and relationships. Focus on getting these right and you’re on your way to taking control of your sales. Here are some of the best reasons for nurturing the relationships you have with current and potential clients:
- A pre-existing relationship puts you at an advantage if those clients need the services or products you offer in the future. Just think, if you had the choice of buying from someone you knew, or someone you’d never met, who would you opt for? (Hopefully you’re thinking the person you know!)
- Open communication leads to even stronger relationships which allow you to judge what your clients want and how they might react to certain situations
- A good relationship improves the chances of you turning a one-off project into an ongoing client relationship
- Happy existing clients should lead to increased referrals
- Good relationships create better client satisfaction. And even better, client satisfaction builds stronger relationships. It’s the best kind of virtuous circle.
- It transforms ‘selling’ into a series of simple conversations – it’s certainly not salesy, daunting or complex.
2. Establish who your ideal clients are and who they are not
Taking the time to establish who your ideal clients are makes the job of selling far easier. After all, if you’ve identified the profile of clients who are more likely to buy from you and who you’re more likely to enjoy working with, you can use this information in the way you market your business. With this understanding, everything – from the exhibitions you go to, to the subjects you blog about – is easier to plan. Because after all, you now know exactly who you are aiming your business at, this is where you should be spending your time.
3. Understand what people want
Taking away the guesswork involved in trying to please potential clients will make selling far easier. Luckily, you don’t need to develop physic powers, there are several ways you get improve your understanding of what potential clients need.
These can include:
- Conducting market research into your ideal audience
- Categorising clients and analysing the trends you see
- Using qualification measures
- Establishing your clients’ needs in terms and communication style as an example via your onboarding process
- Obtaining client feedback in person, over Zoom or through surveys.
By understanding what it is your clients want, you can adapt your offering to suit them. And this makes it even easier to appeal to them and convince them to buy from you.
Think you might learn to love selling?
Ultimately, the secret to integrating sales into your business is to turn it into something you do everyday. Chatting to your clients, asking simple questions and focusing on what your clients actually want can easily become part and parcel of your everyday working life. It’s easier, far less overwhelming and not salesy in the slightest.
Think you’d like more help? Book a discovery call to find out how I can help you learn to love selling.