Sales, how many of you are shrivelling just hearing this word? Many business owners feel that sales is something that they are not good at, that they don’t have the gift of the gab. You know you need to sell to make money in your business, but many of us would rather hide under the desk rather than ask for a sale. Yet it is that very question, that isn’t asked, that sees a prospect walk out your door every single time. You have to actually ask for the sale!
Are sales people asking for the sale?
Let’s be honest here, if you don’t ask, how do you know they don’t want to buy? It is logical, yet when it comes to sales we let our emotions run the show. I know that when I first had to sell I was a little dumbstruck. Nervous as anything, scared to ask if the customer wanted to buy because I was running through every objection and rejection in my head. How do you think that sales conversation went?
If you are like the old me, with the pit of your stomach feeling nervous at the thought of sales, here are some simple techniques to make you feel more comfortable about asking for the sale.
Sales is personal – but not in the way you think. Buying decisions are personal, for the buyer. It is important that during the sales conversation you establish the emotional motivator behind why they are shopping. You are just an intermediary between the customer and the solution they are looking for.
100% Success Rate in Sales
– do you know anyone with this kind of success in sales? It isn’t usual. In fact statistics show that of the 100 leads you get in your business, on average the conversion is 2-10% depending on industry.
“You can’t command a sales conversation if you don’t know who you’re talking to or what you’re all about.” Karen Graves
How do I get over my fear of selling
Here are my tips to help you start selling with confidence
Know your product. Not just the functional aspects, but the benefits that your product brings that relate to an emotional trigger in your buyer. You need to know how to explain the ways in which your product will meet the pain point that brings a customer into your business. If you truly know your product, you will by now know whether what you have is right for this customer. At this juncture you are the one that has to decide whether this transaction should proceed, or whether you can help more by referring them elsewhere. And it is my belief that if you can’t help a buyer with your product you SHOULD help them if you know of a product that can.
Be resilient, and be curious. A common piece of pushback from my clients regarding sales talk I hear is that they don’t want to be pushy. It can be challenging to know how many times you should ask for a sale. If you are following the points in this article you will see that they are methodical. Once you establish the person’s motivation for buying, explain how the benefits can appease this pain point, and understand that you still may get a no – then you won’t be in danger of being pushy. When you get a no, initially accept it as a barrier and ask why. Not in a confronting way, but come from a place of genuinely wanting to understand the customer’s thought process. You have already assessed that your product is the best solution for your customer, so have you conveyed this in a way they fully understand? It may be that they have misunderstood something that can easily be cleared up.
“The questions you ask are more important than the things you could ever say.” Thomas Freese
If you don’t ask why you run the risk of letting someone go that really needs you goods and services. You could actually be doing them a disservice by not satisfying yourself that this customer should not be buying from you. Remember, if they don’t buy from you but they need your product, they are probably going to buy elsewhere. If their explanation shows they are genuinely unwilling or unable, then that is when you know you’ve done all you can.
Publicise your success. Do you have imposter syndrome? This mindset has affected so many entrepreneurs at some point. This is where your reviews are invaluable. You don’t have to honk your own horn. Happy customers giving reviews are powerful social proof that what you have is amazing.
Your product development and packaging will ensure that you can deliver as promised. By sharing what others think of your product, chances are the customers you are having that sales conversation with will already be wanting to buy – they may just need a little assurance that the product is right for them.
Always be looking for ways to improve. Treat negative reviews or feedback as incredible feedback. They are opportunities to grow. Don’t take them personally – because seeing them as objective opportunities makes it easier to sort through the useful and the not-so-useful. They can highlight gaps in your current service, and even give you ideas for business expansion. Asking happy customers for ways you can improve can also be incredibly valuable. Getting to know your clients is great for your own morale, but also reveals much about your target demographic – their interests, needs, and further pain points you could address with business expansion.
Know your product better than anyone else. This might sound a bit obvious and yet being able to rattle off all the features and benefits is something not everyone has mastered. If you have to manage objections during a sales call, knowing how to highlight particular features and benefits will help you communicate the value the customer will get – beyond that of the price.
“How you sell matters. What your process is matters. But how your customers feel when they engage with you matters more.” Tiffany Bova
Why is it hard to close sales
Before you let your fear grip you, calm yourself. The fear of rejection can prevent you from closing a sale because you will avoid asking for it. This exchange isn’t about you making a sale, it is about making sure that the customer leaves with the product they actually need and want.
You need to really listen to what people are saying. Every cue you need on how to handle closing the sale is in the conversation. When you feel you have the customer understand the benefits of your product you need to ask them to buy – and then let them answer. Be patient and wait for them to speak.
Listening is an art form that too many people don’t do effectively. Active listening involves more than just hearing the words. It is about using your emotional intelligence to read tone, accented words, body language. Let people finish what they want to say, never cut them off., Understand by paraphrasing what a customer has said to you. This gives them the opportunity to clarify things for you before you, Respond so that the sales prospect feels they are being heard and taken seriously, Confirm you can help them overcome.
We get so busy avoiding being pushy that you can find yourself running away. The stereotype sleazy salesman has us all trying so hard to not be that, and we end up being too far the opposite of it. We aren’t selling at all.
Selling doesn’t have to be pushy
Fear of selling comes from the unknown. You are protecting yourself from outcomes you imagine. Make sales something you know well and the fear will fade away and be replaced by confidence. That means practising. Even if you get someone to help you by role playing.
Step away from the story you are telling yourself and from the rejection you anticipate. Your ability to sell will come from the confidence you show your customer. Selling from a place of fear is something that will be felt by those around you. If you don’t believe what you are selling, how do you expect anyone else to. Step into every sales conversation with the thought that the person has already bought from you. A sale isn’t something you need from them, it is something you are offering.
There are four key areas in sales that you need to master.
Qualify your prospects.
This should be done with a well thought out sales process. Thinking about the customer journey helps you identify what your customers will need at any given point on that journey. By the time you get to talk with a prospect they should already be well down the path towards being ready to buy.
Explain value through benefits, not features
The sales conversation is not a checklist where you tick off product features and expect people to be impressed and buy. The decision to purchase ultimately depends on whether the product will solve a problem in a way that meets other buyer needs and motivations. This is why you should take the time to learn Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It identifies the basic human needs in ascending order of importance.
Learning how to handle objections will give you the confidence to manage any sales scenario. Your confidence will come from knowing that you can speak to customers in a way that placates their fears. The best tip I have for you here is to get all the objections out on the table. If someone has an objection, acknowledge the objection and ask if they have any other reasons why buying the product might not be for them. Once all their cards are on the table you can start to address them.
Finally the follow up. This is often a part of the sales process that is let go. Again it is fear of appearing too pushy that stops you from keeping in touch with clients. Remember, selling is about offering a solution. If you are genuinely interested in helping people then the follow up is about keeping in touch with people and helping them to come to a decision about a purchase.
Sometimes the follow up you do will be the key in making a sale because it demonstrates a customers importance to you as a salesperson. Have you ever been in a situation where somebody says they will call you and they just don’t? The thought process changes where you become indignant and think to yourself – I didn’t want to buy from them anyway. You have ruined any possibility of that person becoming your customer in the future.
At the end of the conversation, if you know that your solution is a best fit for the customer, then say so and tell them why. Meet their needs, not your sales target.
So if you are feeling unsure about selling, find a coach who can work with you to craft your sales pitch and get you fired up about selling. Sales is something that you can be trained in. It doesn’t have to be something that you just aren’t good at, you can learn. Having a coach to help you design a sales system that works for you, that you are comfortable with means it won’t feel like selling at all – and that is the ultimate goal.
Sales is something you can actually learn to love if you connect with the way you deliver the offering.
If you want to workshop your sales pitch then book in a FREE 30 minute strategy session with me.