For the entrepreneural person, selling is simply providing a much desired or needed solution to another person, while being ever mindful of their best interests. It involves transferring and exchanging value. “She could sell ice to Eskimos” or “he is a born salesman” are clichéd expressions we tend to be familiar with, especially when used to describe salesmen or people with extraordinary oratory and articulation skills. Contrary to such conventional thinking, there is actually no such thing as a born salesman, just well-trained and properly-prepared salespersons. You too can become a leader in this exciting and growing field, counted among the top five percent of income earners anywhere! Be aware though, that this demanding career is not for everyone, especially the weak of heart.
Many entrepreneurs are not interested in becoming career salespeople or the greatest salesman in the world. Those goals are too broad. As business owners, I believe that all of us maintain the desire and need to enhance our inherent ability to sell. Learning sales skills, via formal sales training, must become a high priority for every business owner. The greatest product or service will have little market penetration without a strong, cohesive sales effort. Robert Kiyosaki, author of The Rich Dad’s Guide to Financial Freedom, states that “the number one skill of an entrepreneur is the ability to sell.” Your belief and recognition that continuous learning and ongoing self-improvement are what is necessary to improve your sales technique may indeed be the pillars of your business growth.
My experience among entrepreneurs has demonstrated to me an overall sense of fear or hesitation when it comes to sales. Some business owners dread the subject. Some hope that marketing alone will sell their products, alleviating them of the perceived selling chore. Most would rather do almost anything to avoid a cold call. All too many entrepreneurs feel uncomfortable when picking up the phone to initiate a sales call. The fact remains, that an integral component to success in most business endeavors is the sales function. At least pursuing some self-help, providing an increased knowledge of sales techniques will prove beneficial.
While it is impossible to provide complete sales training for entrepreneurs within the scope of this article, I do believe that we can distill this complex subject to a few points, assisting business owners to begin expanding their comfort zone. As this very topic is certain to invoke at least some fear in the stomachs of most entrepreneurs, perhaps moving forward in baby steps is a good strategy.
Let’s assume that your prospects are other small businesses. Aside from having a well-designed web site selling your products and services twenty four hours per day and a marketing program designed to drive prospects to it, try these basics when contacting your next qualified prospect in person:
1. Remember what a great product or service you offer.
2. Know in your heart that others will benefit from it.
3. Recall the overall sense of satisfaction you experience from the use of it.
4. Using your imagination, experience your prospect using and benefiting from it.
5. Remember to simply be yourself. Do not feel pressured to be or appear to be a superstar salesman.
6. Do some deep breathing exercises to relax.
7. Smile and introduce yourself using his/her name in your greeting. Imagine them right in front of you.
8. In a thirty second window, inform him as to the purpose of your call, explain why meeting with you will benefit him and ask for an appointment. Be very specific. Remember, your goal is to get an appointment.
9. Just prior to the appointment, mentally repeat steps one through six. Greet your prospect by name with a firm handshake, confident eye contact and a warm smile. Sincerely show him what you have to offer, relating your benefits and value to his specific business needs. Answer his questions, if any. Make certain to ask for his order!
Repeating this procedure daily is your key to growing your sales, profits and expanding your sales comfort zone. Mark Twain once said “Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain.” With practice, your sales calls will become easier and you will become far more confident, constantly pushing on the boundaries of your comfort zone. As a result, your business will grow proportionally.