In my years of working as a sales professional and teaching sales at a Fortune 500 company, I've seen people held back by their own self-diagnosed assessments that they 'can't sell' or don't know 'how to sell'.
I now coach people who are promoting their small businesses or in career transition and I've seen trends that can make a big impact to your personal sales process (whether selling your skills, product or service).
Trying to get what you're offering into the right hands is tough. Even seasoned sales professionals with lots of training struggle at times.
So, what do you do when you're NOT a trained sales professional?
And, you're thinking "I'm not a sales person. I don't sell. I can't sell. I never want to sell."
If you own a business – you're in sales.
If you want to pitch a new idea – this is selling.
If you want a new job – you’re selling your skills.
So, how do you make it easy on yourself?
First, don't think of it as sales.
Many people have an idea or negative connotation when it comes to sales and immediately rule out that they can ever be good at it. Sales is a noble profession (and one of the toughest there is)...but sometimes it gets a bad wrap. Particularly if you've personally had a poor experience or think it's so tough you could never do it.
Really, sales is about getting your product, service, idea, in the hands of someone who needs it or would get value out of what you’re offering, and converting that interest into financial transaction (or job offer, or a 'yes' to pursue a project).
Since your product/service and ideas are fantastic, you're thinking "Why wouldn't anyone want what I'm offering?"
Well...they need to know how wonderful it is and you have to find a way to let them know.
Here’s how to cut through some of the fear around selling what you're offering:
1. Connect with a purpose larger than yourself
Simon Sinek made ‘Why’ top of mind when he spoke about the importance for companies to understand their ‘Why’ and how it brings focus and dedication to what they do.
I strongly encourage you to take some time to tap into your ‘WHY’.
Why do you do what you do? Why do you love it?
Why did you start your business to begin with?
Why do you want to do that job? or that project?
Connect with a WHY that is so compelling that it fuels you and creates such a strong emotional connection that you'll want to move forward to make it happen.
Every time I coach someone, or teach a concept and see someone get ‘it’ this reaffirms my ‘why’. I love seeing the development and growth of my clients and I am incredibly proud of them for their progress in each of their own areas.
This is why I do what I do. I love seeing people growing to their full potential beyond even what they believe they're capable of.
This fuels me every time I speak with a potential client, go to a networking event or speak about what I do.
Your WHY, purpose or reason for believing in something carries you through the more onerous tasks you may need to take on. It gives you passion, energy and enthusiasm that will help you sell anything you need to.
Find something that fuels your inner fire and you’ll find it helps to extinguish the fear.
2. How can you help your customer’s customer?
Put some thought into how you can impact your customer’s customer. By connecting your product/service to their business in that way, the impact you make becomes clearer in your customer's mind and you start to speak their language.
By connecting the dots for people in a truly impactful and valuable way, you help them realize they can accomplish their goals, by partnering with you.
This also forces you to really consider how you help others accomplish their goals. It helps you to create powerful messaging, making it much easier to speak about your product/service/idea.
3. Communicate the value of your product/service
Don’t focus on what it can do, focus on the value it brings to the person you are engaging with.
You can even use this if you are in an interview or going for that next job.
Here's an example: If you're looking for a new job and your presentation skills are strong and you'd like to highlight this, simply saying you have excellent presentation skills is not enough.
Communicating the value of your presentation skills by saying that you’ll be able to effectively communicate new ideas and launch new programs, advancing the company’s objectives; demonstrates how your employer can benefit from your skills.
Do some research and try to understand the scope of the role you're interviewing for and try to understand the real value your strengths will bring to your new manager or company.
Here's another example: If you're an entrepreneur and selling your new software program, simply saying that it can automate an onerous billing task is one thing, but saying that it will free up more time for their accounting department to focus on more strategic objectives, really drives home the value of your product.
Focussing on the value, from your customer’s perspective, allows the person you are speaking with to start understanding the possibilities and become future-thinking.
If you understand pain points or current challenges, you can tie into these and share how your idea, product or service can solve it.
This way of relating your product or services creates the opportunity to make a real impact in the lives of your customers/managers and gives you the confidence to connect with people on a very real level.
4. Make a plan, work it, don’t think
Get out of your own way.
Attaching too much emotional capital to new things quickly turns to fear, doubt, and negative ‘what-if’ scenarios.
Decide what you want to accomplish, think about who you want to connect with and then work your plan.
Separating your tasks and tying everything you do to a longer-term plan or vision will keep you focussed on accomplishing the tasks you need to get to your goals.
Revisit your longer terms goals/vision often – consider even daily.
5. Remember your successes.
Remember the first time you spoke to someone new about your business, or made your first sale, published first blog post, or shared an idea that someone loved?
Remember the testimonials or positive comments you received when they heard or tried your product/service? Remember how your contributions made an impact?
Remind yourself of these frequently and of how far you've come.
The earth kept rotating when you sent your prospect that email or you pushed ‘publish’ on your blog.
Leveraging the momentum of these wins – even small ones - can keep the sales momentum going, and give you the confidence to go on.
Find ways to remind yourself of your successes regularly.
If the above steps aren't part of your process for getting your ideas, product or services in the hands of others, then examine your methods and try incorporating one or more of the above.
You got this!
NOW is YOUR time.
PS. If you would like support in any of these areas I invite you to connect with me for a 1:1 consultation. I would love to hear from you!