Article #29, December 30, 2004
Good Relationships = Sales!
Do you ever feel like you don’t have what it takes to be a great salesperson? We can all sell; it’s just a matter of finding your style. You don’t have to be a liar or a cheat; in fact you will receive more sales by being honest.
As women, many of us are taught by our mothers and by society not to be passionate, and not to ask outright for what we want. We are taught to acquiesce to others’ needs and to be giving and nurturing. On the surface, much of this does not seem to reconcile with being good at sales.
Our old view of a successful salesperson is just that, old. Today’s successful salesperson is passionate about her product, cares a great deal about her customers’ needs and nurtures relationships. She is a great listener and asks appropriate questions.
As I have mentioned many times, the most important building block to successful sales is to talk to the right prospects – have a good target market. You will limit your success trying to sell to the wrong prospects or trying to sell to everyone. Also, you need to set sales goals for yourself. More on that later.
The key to successful sales is confidence. Prospects can smell desperation and lack of assurance a mile away. Sales confidence can be gained with some work.
1. Make sure you are talking to the right prospects.
2. Know your product inside and out.
3. Know why your customers have purchased from you.
4. Know what your prospects do without your product.
5. Know why your past prospects did not buy from you.
6. Understand your prospects’ objections to buying.
7. Know your competition.
8. Have a strong belief in your product’s benefits – you are doing your customers a favor by making this product available!
Spend a few hours writing. Write down all of the above. You may need to question your current and past customers and prospects to get accurate information, but this part is extremely important. Write down what you plan to say – a script. You may need several – one for face-to-face, one for phone conversations, one for the answering machine, etc.
All that said, it’s also important that you don’t wait until everything is perfect. Find a mediocre prospect and go for it. (Never sell your best prospects first – if you make mistakes it won’t matter as much.) Keep track of what works and what doesn’t.
Once you’ve had some sales success, set your sales goals. Your goals will be most helpful if they’re based on analysis – how much did you sell last week, month, year? Don’t worry that they won’t be 100% accurate – just do your best. You can change them later, but you need goals of some kind.
The best thing you can do is to get out there and go for it! The customers will not come knocking on your door (if they do, I want a piece of that action!). You may need to go find them and ask them to buy.
As you are developing your sales skills, meet others in your same industry who service a different customer than your target. Meet prospects, whether they are ready to buy now or not – just get to know them; don’t hard-sell them. Have lunch with other business owners in different industries who service your same target. Join your local chamber and get involved.
By building these relationships, you will learn a great deal about what works and what doesn’t, and will eventually get referrals. While it’s great to get immediate sales, the longer term referral business will build your business. The time you spend building all these types of relationships now will save you precious time and money in the future.
Keep in touch with the people you meet. This may be challenging to do with so many people. One way I keep in touch with all the terrific people I’ve met is through this newsletter. I also keep attending the same networking events regularly. I wish I could call and email everyone, but that’s just not possible. Find what works for you.
It does get easier – I promise. In the first 2 years or so, you will need to spend around 85% of your time on marketing, but it diminishes as you gain more customers. Keep building those relationships!
If I can help you with this, please let me know.