A Guide to Selling Your Products or Services - When You HATE Selling
Being a business owner who hates selling is a bit like being a boat captain who hates water — at some point, it's going to be a major problem!
Although many small business owners claim to hate selling, what they actually hate is the fear that selling evokes in them. Perhaps that afraid that they're not good enough at sales or that people might find them pushy, annoying, or overbearing.
The good news is that it's not difficult to change your thinking around selling, and that is the first step to becoming great at this critical skill.
You may be wondering, "Can't I just outsource my sales to someone else?" Possibly. But, no one is going to be as good at telling your story as you. And, many early-stage entrepreneurs simply can't afford a separate sales team or executive — at least not early on.
In the meantime, here some tips that can help even the most reluctant business owner feel more comfortable in the role of sales manager.
1. Focus on benefits
Ask yourself this: Will the product or service you're selling improve the situation of your prospect in some way? If not, you may have a bigger problem, as a lack of demand is one of the main reason small businesses fail. However, if your product or service does have the potential to improve your prospective customer's life in some way, you would actually be doing him or her a disservice not to share the news. In other words, you aren't selling, you're enabling a path to someone's life becoming better!
- Focus on the benefits your product or service delivers instead of on the act of selling.
2. Don't always think about closing a deal
One reason many entrepreneurs hate selling is that they put too much pressure on every sales call or meeting, which creates tension the other party can sense. To use a dating analogy, how much fun would dating be if you approached every new person you met as a prospect you must marry? Not much fun, right? Not for you, and certainly not for your date!
Sales is no different. You should not approach each meeting as a close-at-all-costs scenario. Instead, be customer-focused in your approach:
- Spend time getting to know the prospect.
- Listen at least twice as much as you talk.
- Ask questions that help you uncover your prospect's true needs.
Not only will this approach give you insight into your target marketing, but it will also endear you to the potential customer. If they aren't the right fit for your product or service, you're much more likely to get a referral to someone who is by taking a no-pressure approach in your communication style.
3. Realign with your cause or calling
If you're hitting a wall, take a step back and remind yourself why you started your business in the first place. What is it about your product or service that you love so much that you chose to make it your business? This story will not only connect you with what you're selling, it will draw your prospect in, too.
- Focus on communicating the "why" behind what you do.
- Strategically share the stories of all the customers who've lives you've helped improve.
4. Acknowledge your efforts, regardless of the outcome
If you find yourself saying "I hate sales," try a mental trick to make it more fun. When I started my first company, I was told "no" so many times on a daily basis that I created a "No Chart" by my desk after a few months. Each time a prospect told me no, I added a star to the chart. Every time I reached 25 stars I rewarded myself with something small, like a fun dessert or coffee, to acknowledge the courage and persistence it took to earn those "rejection stars." I then reminded myself that each one represented a person who hadn't known about my company before we talked but might now refer me to another potential customer down the road.
- Look at rejection and refusal as getting one step closer to your goals.
These four ways of looking at selling differently will help even the most reluctant entrepreneur and business owner be more comfortable with going out there to sell — and close the deal.