Soft selling skills for entrepreneurs
You love what you do but you hate having to go out and sell yourself?
You never signed up to be a sales person when you hung out your shingle to be an entrepreneur did you?
Do you think of the used car sleazy sales guy when the topic of sales comes up? Does that describe you?
But guess what – without sales, you have no business!
Sales is about being of service to others
You are helping others reach their goals and that’s where the matchmaking comes in. You ask powerful questions that uncover their pain or challenges and with stories of previous clients you show how you can heal their pain or help them overcome their challenges.
In order for you to thrive as a successful entrepreneur, you have to excel at some sales basics. And you know what – selling is not that scary once you know how. And trust me, I was one of those scared shy introverts with no desire to be good at sales.
I started my career as a programmer and as a shy geek. It took me years out of my comfort zone and years of practice to actually love selling. And if you don’t sell yourself, who will? If you are not your own best cheerleader, promoting your services – then who?
Become good at promoting yourself, as in what you can do for someone else. A key part of sales is showing how you are different from other entrepreneurs, what results your clients have achieved and how you collaborate with clients. The word sales doesn’t even come up!
Think of yourself as a matchmaker
To sell, all you need to do is ask the right qualifying questions and guide your potential clients to the conclusion that they need and want you. Prepare a list of qualifying questions that will determine if that person you’re talking to is a viable prospect for your services or not. Yes, clients select you and you select your clients.
When a prospect says “no” to your offer, remember that it means “Next Opportunity” and that they are not saying no to you personally. Every new business owner has to learn to bounce back quickly from rejection and see it as “I won’t waste anymore of my time on this prospect, it’s their loss!”
Four steps to effective face-to-face meetings
- Make the other person comfortable and at ease with you
Your potential client is afraid of being sold to, so start chitchatting and asking how they got into their business. Get them to talk about themselves in an easy non-confrontational way, for example notice what is in their office, notice their body language.
- Treat the meeting as if you were with your newest best friend
Having a conversation with a friend is easy, there’s no tension, no anxiety, no agenda, and no sales. So don’t sell, just be curious and caring. Figure out how you will help your potential client. But first, you need to know what their pain is.
- Ask your qualifying questions
Ask them to see if there is interest and a need or want for your services. Ask what their budget is and know what budget you have in mind for solving their issue.
- Finish with a question like “How does that sound?”
Another question you can ask is “Would you like to work together to help you achieve your goals?” – then give them the opportunity to answer. Get comfortable with silence.
If they ask another question, there is an objection hidden that you need to clarify and handle. Then ask again ‘Does that answer your concern?” and stay quiet.
Sometimes you will find that your prospect has a need for your service but not an immediate want. Put this prospect into your follow-up file. Don’t try to push to sell, because you are not a sleazy and pushy sales person!
And if you know someone who can better help them, give a referral to another entrepreneur. Face it, you cannot sell to everyone – the more face-to-face meetings you have, the more opportunities you have to help.
Have fun and make money and if you’re not having fun, then who cares about the money. So learn how to sell so it is fun. You’ll never regret it.
Image credit: Alan Levine, via flickr.com.