You are never too experienced to learn how to sell better.
People often think that selling is BAD. When in fact, the best salespeople are those who do a really good job of serving others. They don’t even have to try to sell because it’s so natural to them that people just want to buy.
We all love to buy yet no one likes to be sold. If you are in the business of selling, learning how to be a really good salesperson is critical and fundamental to your success.
Selling is a skill.
You are never too old to learn how to sell. I actually have an entire section in my book, Pilot to Profit where I talk about selling and I give you a simple formula. Formulas are meant for people who want to understand frameworks. That doesn’t mean you have to follow every single step in the formula. When you are learning how to do something for the very first time, sometimes it’s really helpful to follow a proven success system until you build the skill and you’re able to adapt and modify the formula to suit your own needs. Learn the steps to selling so that you understand the process that is involved in selling.
Don’t marry the customer.
This is especially important for all of you ladies out there. Women tend to be more affiliative, more sensitive and more nurturing. We like to build relationships with people. When you’re selling, your customer is looking to buy a solution to a problem, not a new BFF. Be really careful that you spend the right amount of time establishing rapport, but that you skilfully shift into one of the most important steps in selling, which is point number three.
Selling isn’t telling. Selling is uncovering needs. It’s figuring out the problems that your potential customer has and being able to present solutions that overcome those problems and help your customer. The only way that you can sell effectively is by asking questions to understand what their needs are, what the problems are, and what the desired state is that your customer is looking for.
When people are buying to fix a problem, it’s because they want things to be different. You need to understand the problem and the desired outcome that they’re looking for.
When you are uncovering needs, remember: you have two ears and one mouth. Shut up and listen. Okay? The truth is, when you’re in a sales conversation, if you really don’t want to be a pushy salesperson, if you really want to offer value, if you really want to come from a place of service, then it’s your job to listen and pay attention to what your customer is saying and to be curious about how you can find the best solution for them.
The first sale is to yourself.
If you are meek and mild-mannered and aren’t confident in what you’re saying and selling, you’re not going to convince someone to buy. You have to believe in yourself. You have to be the first customer. If you don’t know, unequivocally, that what you are presenting to the customer is going to solve their problems, then you have a problem. The problem is you. Nobody wants to buy from someone who acts like they’re not confident in what they are offering.
People are buying belief and you need to start transferring that belief. Have you ever gone to a restaurant and asked the waiter or waitress “what is your favorite item on the menu? I’m thinking about having the filet mignon.” And they reply, “Mmmmm.” You don’t buy the filet mignon because they’re like, “Mmmmm.” But if they say, “Oh! You have got to have the steak. The steak is the best steak in the city. And get the side of mushrooms, because the way the chef does the mushrooms is absolutely outstanding. You will not regret it. I promise.” What do you do? You buy the darn steak with a side of mushrooms because they were confident in what they were selling.
An extremely common question among my clients is this: “I want to do this thing, _____. I want to charge $5,000.00. What do you think?” The very first question I ask is, “what is the value to the customer?”
For example, I have a 2018 book club launching for the first time. The fee is $1,000.00 for the year and you get 1 book per month. Now you may be thinking, 12 books for $1000 Lisa, are you crazy? It’s a book. Right? What is the value? The VALUE is that you’re going to be part of a community. You’re going to learn what I learned through the book. You’ll become smarter. You’ll become consistent, accountable and dedicated to reading. Now it doesn’t sound so bad, right? If I’m selling a strategy session to someone, I need to be able to explain the value of my help and how that investment will help move the needle in their business.
Here’s a challenge: Go back and talk to your old customers and ask them what the benefits were of doing business with you.
Provide options and let the customer choose.
You walk into McDonald’s and they’ve got this great, big board. You get to pick from all kinds of different options and customize your order just the way you like it. McDonald’s gives you lots of options. They don’t take it personally when you choose water over a soft drink.
I do an exercise with my private clients where I ask, “Would you rather buy option A, B or C for $500? Option A is a private coaching session with me. Option B is a private coaching session with me focused on how to generate leads, close more business and increase your bottom line. Option C is a private coaching session with me focused on marketing and how to establish the best marketing plan for you to increase your visibility.”
Every single time I do this in front of a group of people, time and time again 100% of the people never pick option A. They always pick either the sales call or the marketing call. People want to be able to select the option that is best for them. You always want to give people anywhere from 2 to 3 options. After you give them those options, all you have to say is, “Which of these options works best for you?” And just like magic, people pick the which one works best for them. (Provided you have uncovered the right needs, and you’ve put together options that help them meet those needs).
Important note: If they want to combine option A with option B and rejig it a little bit, don’t get upset with that! If you want to upgrade your fries to sweet potato fries the waiter will likely say, “sure, it will be $2.00 extra” which will be fine…why? Because that is what you WANT. Learn how to accept the changes that your customer wants and let them know what the fee is to do that.Options are the best way for you to build your #business. Click To Tweet
Always be prospecting.
Our little fragile hearts don’t like to take no. Trust me, because my Profit Pods program is coming to an end and not everyone is continuing. My poor, little heart is shattered because they’re not all going to continue. If you’re betting everything on that ONE sale, then when you don’t get that single sale it’s going to really hurt. When you are constantly marketing, prospecting, and having multiple conversations with potential clients, rejection is not as big of a deal. On to the next one.
When you’ve got a pipeline filled with 10 different opportunities, one “no” is not that bad. You’ve got to learn to be detached from rejection and learn that when somebody says no you need to accept it, and maybe even ask him or her what you could have done differently. Who knows, maybe they’ll tell you and you’ll learn one little nugget that helps your approach next time so that you become a great salesperson. Be committed to learning. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t take it personally when people say no.
Sometimes, it’s because you did a rotten job selling. Other times, it’s because somebody else did a better job, or maybe something else has happened in that person’s life and they need to delay the buying decision.No does not mean never. #Sales Click To Tweet
Don’t burn bridges with people that you’ve had sales conversations with that didn’t say yes. You never know when they’re going to come back. In fact, stay in touch with those people. Check in every so often and find out how things are going. Don’t take rejection so personally because chances are, it’s not about you.
There is value in staying in touch with your existing customers and your past customers.
Reach out from time to time to say hello. Have a conversation with them to see how things are going and to how their business is doing. It is always easier to sell something to someone who has done business with you than it is to convert a brand new customer. We’re constantly looking for new people and we’re leaving this pile of opportunity off to the side. We’re not nurturing and cultivating it and doing a good job of keeping those relationships alive so that when people DO need to buy, you’re on their radar.
People love to give feedback so don’t be afraid to ask for it. And remember – two ears, one mouth.
Don’t make excuses.
Thank them and tell them you appreciate the feedback. It doesn’t mean you have to act on it, you’re simply asking questions to learn.
Leave me a comment and let me know what exactly makes you feel the most uncomfortable when it comes to selling.
Founder and CEO of the Lisa Larter Group, master strategist, author, speaker, podcast host, social media expert, consultant, and business coach. Lisa inspires entrepreneurs and business owners to see the possibilities for their organizations when it comes to strategy. She uncomplicates modern marketing and creates (and implements) strategies for businesses that are guaranteed to increase visibility, inbound leads, and revenue.