Sales is an important part of every small business; it’s also a common challenge for many small business owners. If sales is something you struggle with in your small business, it can be helpful to spend some time getting a better understanding of the sales process and fine-tuning your sales skills. With some practice, you can become a better salesperson, one who is not only more comfortable with the process but also more effective.
When many think of a salesperson they flash back to the cast of characters jockeying to get ahead in the film Glengarry Glen Ross. And in order to be a good salesperson they believe that you need to mimic the behavior of Alec Baldwin’s character in the film. He pitches sales as every man for himself – a grueling and competitive endeavor only for the most ruthless.
The truth is that this is not good sales practice. To be a good salesperson you need to listen to your customers and communicate effectively with them.
Selling skills help you to realize your vision as a business owner. And while many books focus on overly complicated techniques, good sales strategy is about gently taking control of your communication with those around you.
Regardless of what you’re selling, it’s easier than most people think. Robert Herjavec, entrepreneur and Shark on ABC’s Shark Tank, highlights the following five tips to keep in mind:
1. The first thing you’re selling is yourself.
Forget about the product or service. If whomever you’re selling to doesn’t like you, they’re not going to listen to you. Make sure you know the product and present yourself well. Be the salesperson you’d buy something from.
2. Listen more than you talk.
Bad salespeople can’t get over how amazing their product is—they go on and on about it! But good salespeople listen to what their clients are saying. They pay attention to the clients’ needs from the start and present accordingly.
3. Know who to sell to.
If you’re selling a widget that costs $50K, don’t try to sell it to the guy whose widget budget is $2k. A common mistake salespeople make is trying to sell to anyone and everyone. Make sure whatever you’re selling fulfills your potential client’s needs and is realistic for them. You’re much more likely to get that sale!
4. Understand what motivates the other side.
Why should people care about what you’re selling? How is your product or service providing value to them? Pay attention to what’s driving your potential client to take your meeting in the first place and address that in your pitch.
5. Keep it simple.
Don’t overcomplicate your pitch just because you want to sound more knowledgeable. The mark of true knowledge in anything is how well you can explain to the average person. Keep your pitch simple and under 30 seconds — practice your elevator pitch!
The key to selling successfully is to think about the person you’re selling to. Make your approach about their needs and think about how they’ll feel after the pitch/meeting. There is no such thing as a ‘natural-born salesperson’.