6 Sales Tips for Experts Who Hate Selling

Sales are an integral part of any business, and it’s all well and good for large companies who employ sales people for that very purpose, but when you’re a solo businessperson, the thought of selling might be the least appealing thing about running your business. You’re not alone. The majority of business owners hate the idea. However, in business, “nothing happens until a sale is made”.

How to overcome sales negativity

You may never be a natural salesperson and you may never grow to like it but it is a vital, useful and learnable skill. We’re not expecting you to be able make cold calls or close huge deals but we are suggesting you become competent at selling.

  1. No cold-calling necessary! The good news is that sales is not about cold-calling and being pushy. Customers like to know what they’re buying, and who better to tell them that then other members of your audience who’ve have bought from you and then leave a positive testimonial on your site or on social media. Information today spreads easily online and customers no longer need to worry about being harassed by sellers because it is all about them now. This is the key thing you need to understand about sales today – you’re not tricking anyone, they’re making an informed choice based on the information they get from you and – more importantly – other customers. Sales and marketing is no longer what you say about yourself but what other people say about you.
  2. Learn all you can about the needs of your target audience. You’re basing your product on the problems that your audience needs solving – what you’re offering is essentially a response to what they need right then. It is therefore vital that you know what they need and focus on that when you’re developing products and especially when you’re selling. If you have not done so already, clearly define your ideal customer and be clear about what you are offering.
  3. Make the sales as personal as you can. Properly executed sales are no longer cold and impersonal. Instead, they focus on what the buyer can gain from your product rather than how much you can manipulate them into paying you. This is where customer service comes in – you need to be able to answer any queries a prospective buyer might have about your offer. A great way to be personal and build trust is to create video content: your prospects will be able to put a face to the name; they will be able to pick up on your personality and whether you are trustworthy and authentic. Video is a great way to sell – perhaps the ultimate way.
  4. Know what you’re offering. It goes without saying that you need to be prepared, as we’ve stated earlier, to respond to customers’ questions about the solution to their problem. Not only it is the proper way to pique a customer’s interest and keep them informed about who you are and what you can do for them, but it is also a great way to boost your confidence, which is vital for a sales mindset. It can certainly help you overcome your fear of rejection – knowledge is power. Conduct research (e.g. Facebook ads/surveys/polls) to discover what products your audience will buy. Be market-led, not product/service-led.
  5. Tell your customers a story. Customers don’t connect with things – they connect with you as a person and the stories you tell. Getting to know your audience is a big part of constructing a good story, and knowing your audience and how your product serves them are the ingredients of creating a great sales story. For example, a popular story format used by internet marketers to sell a product is the “nightmare-to-dream” outline:
    The story starts with struggle and failure (e.g. the currency trader is struggling to make ends meet, her dreams are in tatters, she feels like a loser). The pain is deliberately amplified;
    An effective solution (your product or service) is discovered, e.g. you have a revolutionary trading strategy that made you six-figures last year and you can teach it to others;
    The story’s hero begins to experience success and happiness. By using your product, the hero begins to experience success and happiness. All is saved.
         The nightmare-to-dream plot is simple but it’s a proven, powerful sales technique.
  6. Just lead the horse to water. It’s true, you can lead a horse to water but  you can’t make it drink. Your job is to lead your prospect to a solution to their problem and then let the sales material you’ve created close the deal for you. The key is not to pressure the prospect. Follow up with an email a couple of days later and offer to answer any questions they may have. (An effective salesperson we knew always offered to skype the prospect for an informal chat about what they were looking for; what they were trying to achieve. The call builds trust – there’s a friendly, human voice at the other end. This method helped him close quite a few deals).
         Quick sales do happen, but you should aim for high quality customer relationships rather than for a big number of one-off sales. “Closing the deal” has its allure but the anxiety it comes with is rarely worth it. A quality business transaction takes time and effort, and the results are about more than money – it is also about fostering long-term relationships and ecstatic clients who will sing your praises to others.

Takeaway points

  1. Don’t be afraid of sales – getting into the mindset will take some time but it needs to be done. You may never be a sales expert and you don’t need to be. Just be competent. Think of it as simply having a conversation with a prospect to see if your product is a good fit. If not, no harm done. Don’t add unnecessary pressure.
  2. Invest in nurturing long-term relationships with clients, which won’t happen if you start cold-calling. Instead, tell them a story based on what you know about them and your product.
  3. Focus on the big picture rather than trying to make a quick buck. It’s about going above the call of duty, over-delivering and being helpful without being pushy.

Action steps

  1. Create products that genuinely help your audience. If you know the product is of value, if you know it will help your prospect, the entire sales process becomes non-sleazy and you that gives you a huge boost in confidence and your belief in the product builds trust.
  2. If you are a nervous speaker, practice. Practice talking to a camera; practice public speaking; practice articulating your thoughts before starting to speak. The more comfortable you are communicating, the better your sales performance.
  3. Make a list of the top objections a prospect might have to buying your product. Prepare your answers so that you are not caught off-guard.

Photo credit: Christopher Brown via Flickr.com / CC BY 2.0

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