Julie Steelman has generated more than $100 million in sales during her 30-year sales career. She is author of a new book, “The Effortless Yes: Get the Sales You Want and Make All You’ll Ever Need,” featuring a seven-step approach that helps sales-averse entrepreneurs create profits by learning a new way to sell.
Entrepreneurs — particularly women — have an aversion to selling. They hate selling, fear selling, or find it distasteful or disingenuous. As a result, their revenues stay flat or decline over time. Fear of selling is one of the main reasons small businesses fail. However, there are some simple, effective ways to transform the selling process into an activity that’s both enjoyable and profitable. Here are nine strategies that can help:
Aim to help and to serve. Sell with your heart. This means having confidence in your immense talent for helping others. Educate your customer on how you can help them solve a problem, get more of what they want and feel better about themselves. Really think about how you can best serve their needs.
Inspire and motivate them. You can motivate your customers to buy from you simply by communicating the faith you have in the tremendous value you offer. Do this by retelling your own “aha” moment, and by sharing stories about how you and others were transformed as a result of using your products or services. Believe in what you offer and your buyers will, too.
Have a conversation. You have conversations all the time, so why clam up in front of a potential buyer? Think about selling as just another conversation. Chat about your products and services like you would to a friend. Express your enthusiasm and passion. More sales are made with enthusiasm than with fancy tricks and techniques.
Give them a smart pitch. A smart pitch is one that gives the customer a clear, concise explanation of what you do best and how it will benefit them. Be honest about why you care about helping them. Ask creative questions that draw them into dialogue. Use language that appeals to your ideal customer.
Avoid the classic sales mistakes. Three classic mistakes salespeople make are: trying to charm the customer into buying; paying more attention to product details that your customer’s emotions; and delivering the entire sales story in one big run-on monologue. Instead, stay in the moment, listen to them, help them enjoy the sales process and always focus on how you can take care of their needs.
Sell from your sweet spot. The intersection of your expertise, talent and knowledge is where your sweet spot lies. It’s the thing you love most about yourself and your business, and what you’re known for. Shape a unique message that communicates your sweet spot — one that shows them the emotional boost they’ll get from using your products or services.
Never make a cold call again. Research the top five to 10 customers you want to do business with, and jot down something you can really relate to about each one. Now, make a note of what you believe their top challenges are and how your offerings could help them, and craft an opening line based on that information. When you finally call them, explain why your companies have great synergy and discuss what you can do for them.
Use social media as a selling tool. If you truly want to serve others and provide value, then do it in the social media world, too. Many entrepreneurs think posting blogs, videos and podcasts is enough. But the truth is, those are one-way communications. Instead, host interactive events, chats and conversations that engage your audience and serve their needs. Provide valuable expertise. Project an online personality that’s as genuine, caring and trustworthy as you are in person.
Overcome their objections. Customers only object when they’re considering buying from you, so if you can help them resolve their objection, you’re golden. Do they have confusion or misunderstanding about the value? Are they resistant to change? Do they need someone else’s input, such as a spouse? Or do they simply need a bit more time to decide? Show interest in what’s bothering them, and then help them get beyond it.
Photo: Courtesy of Julie Steelman