The most important subject you can study is sales. However, many of the smartest small business owners and startups avoid learning it, and some of the best colleges shun teaching it. Selling is a critical skill because, like it or not, everyone has to sell to succeed.
“Here’s the truth: a mediocre performer who knows how to sell will ALWAYS beat an exceptional performer who doesn’t. And an exceptional performer who also knows how to sell ALWAYS beats out everyone else.” ~ Geoffrey James, Editor of Inc
You could have the greatest business model ever, but if you can’t get anyone to buy what you offer, that’s a problem. It could be that there isn’t a viable market for what you offer or it could be your sales skills are lacking. Learning the art of selling is an essential phase of small business success.
Selling, motivating, moving, persuading and influencing others is not innate. Great salespeople have certain qualities and beliefs.
People who know how to sell have these attributes. Here’s a few you can develop.
They are curious. The best salespeople are able to naturally engage with the customers they talk to. Engaged customers are much more likely to make purchases, and come back to make further purchases. You should understand how to make personal and natural conversation that doesn’t seem forced or scripted. You should ask questions of your customers more than you talk about yourself.
They are able to focus on the details. The stereotype of a salesperson is that he or she is loud, puts on a show and makes big promises that they may or may not be able to deliver on. However, these types of salespeople are extremely easy to see through. Instead, to be good at selling you should be meticulous. You must focus on the reasons why the potential customer in question would need what you offer, and pay attention only to the customer’s needs and what the customer asks for.
They have a generous spirit. The best salespeople are generous in their approach. They look to solve problems rather than sell products. Learn not to focus on the transaction. Instead focus on solving your customer’s’ problems. People who are generous in their approach to sales seem much more genuine, which is always appreciated by customers.
“No matter how much you want to close a deal, it sometimes pays to be extra patient. The key to selling, is to be a giver — not a taker.” ~ Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia
A great presentation. This means investigating the prospects needs. Formulating questions to confirm findings. Be prepared for hedges and objections and nasty rebuttals. Successful salespeople have a formal process that nearly eliminates costly mistakes and bad habits.
Avoid the ‘Gotcha’ Sales Questions. When you’re attempting to make a sale with your customers, there are certain things you just don’t say, and certain questions that you just don’t ask. For example, any questions that ask put some sort of pressure on the customer have the potential to immediately kill a sale. These are questions like, “If I could help you solve this problem, would you be ready to go ahead with that order today?”
Sow Seeds of Thought. Farmers know that not all seeds they plant will germinate. For that reason they overseed on purpose. Planting seeds of thought and letting them settle in will produce a bumper crop of ideas to execute.
Do Not Be In a Rush to Close. Fast service is not always good. Cheap service is rarely fast. Quality is rarely cheap. People hate to be sold but love to buy.
It’s not about you. Your offer, your content, your processes and your presence need to be about the needs of your audience. Sad to report, but the shopper does not care about you, until you convince them that you care about them. They care about the value you represent and the problem that you can solve. Pull them into you, do not push yourself onto them.
They know how to maximize sales. Most businesses live and die selling cold prospects on their core offer. This is why they struggle. Would it shock you to find out that McDonald’s makes almost no money on the hamburger? The hamburger is the core offer, but it’s the fry and Coke that built the Golden Arches.
“One in nine Americans works in sales. But so do the other eight.” – Daniel Pink, To Sell is Human
If you want to increase your chances of success in business, learn the sales process and practice it so it becomes part of your very makeup. You will need this skill to recruit and retain the best employees, work with investors and turn ideas and offers into monetary gain.
Copyright Viral Solutions 2017
Thomas von Ahn
Chief Elephant Slayer for Viral Solutions LLC
“Achievement seems to be connected with action. Successful
men and women keep moving. They make mistakes but they
don’t quit.” — Conrad Hilton