Would you go to a doctor or call a plumber who wasn’t fully trained in their profession? Would you trust an engineer to build a bridge if they weren’t qualified?
Then why do you, as an entrepreneur, think you can sell or market without any training?
There is nothing more frustrating to me as a small business coach than to have an entrepreneur say about a suggested marketing tactic, “I’ve tried that and it doesn’t work.” To me, that shows the lack of marketing knowledge. Marketing is an inexact science but it can be tested and trialed. Bad marketing doesn’t work and is the biggest waste of limited resources. That’s why it pays to learn about marketing.
There is no barrier to entry to try to sell or market, consequently it is easy to be bad at sales and marketing. This could be the major threat to your business.
If you don’t know the basics of getting the right message in front of the right target market at the right time with the right price and the right call to action, you’re out of luck and your marketing and sales techniques won’t work.
Whether you are writing a marketing e-mail blast or holding your elevator pitch at a networking event – you need to know some sales and marketing basics.
Know your marketing basics
You have to know who your target market is, what their issues are (their pain points) and quickly and succinctly be able to state how you have helped other entrepreneurs like them. Great sales people are not born but trained; it’s a life long learning experience.
One entrepreneur recently told me how she memorized how she was to sell by her coach. You cannot memorize sales! You can memorize a list of questions to ask – but what if the answers are not the ones you are expecting or prepared for? What then?
Think on your feet
To be truly great at sales, you might want to consider taking an improv course as sales is all about thinking quickly in the moment.
There is a reason why role-plays are used in professional training courses. No matter how painful it might be, it’s better to bomb in a practice situation than in front of your prospect.
Practice, practice, practice
I’ve had coaching client-related situations where they knew they had done something wrong but were not quite sure where it went off the rails. By re-enacting the sales conversation we were able to pinpoint quite quickly where they went wrong.
It can be that they jumped right into sales mode and it was all about them and not the prospect’s pain.
It could be that they got a “don’t call us, we’ll call you, after we review your website, your literature… “ kind of brush off and didn’t know how to respond to that. (That’s a hidden objective and could be a polite way of just saying no to you without being direct about it).
You need to ask more questions if you get that kind of closing. There is always hope that you can save the sale by asking ‘is there something I haven’t covered fully for you?” or “What concerns do you have about…”
Every sales conversation is unique
Sales can be fun once you know how the sales process works and accept that every sales call or conversation is going to be different. Sales and marketing are essential skills every entrepreneur needs to grow their company.
Image credit: by NatalieMaynor, via flickr.com.