Are you an introverted entrepreneur? ....Do you love creation and innovation, but are not great with people? And are you answering "Yes" right now. Then maybe, by extension you are not fond of selling. But don't worry you are not alone.
As I interact more and more with entrepreneurs, it is quite apparent that not all entrepreneurs are created equal. Not all of us are natural sales men. In fact, some entrepreneurs out right hate to sell and don't know how to do it. I've been told that the mere thought of sales typically feels unnatural and uncomfortable to them.
Sales is not an easy activity. It took me years to get somewhat accustomed to talking to strangers. Trust me I know! Sales takes perseverance and the ability to take a rejection or "NO" gracefully.
The irony of it all is that you can have the greatest product or service but if you cannot sell it then you have NO business.
Here are my top tips for entrepreneurs who hate to sell:
1. Learn about sales
Understanding sales is an important part of all businesses. If you don't understand how to sell then you will continue to struggle making money. As an entrepreneur you need to focus on these areas to make sales:
* Get over your fear of calling people. Prepare a script of the things you need to talk about with a potential client...like your product or service, pricing and benefits to the client.
* Choose to do networking events, carry clients to lunch or coffee. One-on-one or one-on-two is always better than group settings. But networking events do provide an opportunity to meet potential clients and gain referral business.
* Utilize all selling methods in additional to personal selling. Sell through emails, sell through social media and sell through traditional advertising. Doing this will compliment you stepping up and reaching out to clients directly.
2. Learn to hear "No" but don't let it defeat you.
Become comfortable with people telling you they are not interested. Not everyone will like what you sell or even like you and that's okay. Turn these negatives into a positive. Firstly use them as an opportunity to find out exactly what the client doesn't like about your product or service. They may find its too expensive or that it doesn't fit their need directly. This is really an opportunity for good old fashion market research. As an entrepreneur, don’t expect an immediate “yes,”.
Much of the stress and anxiety related to sales is rooted in the idea that you must close the deal quickly.This simply isn’t true. In most industries, it takes time to develop a relationship with a prospect.Approach clients with an open mind, focusing more giving advice and adding value and you will be pleasantly surprised by how many "yes" opportunities will develop.
3. Start selling to people you know
One of the best ways to overcome the fear of selling is by letting friends, family and colleagues sell your products. This provides great referrals and builds word of mouth. You can begin warming up your selling chomps by practising on the people you already know. You’ll feel less uncomfortable, and your friends are likely to be more forgiving of you as you learn how to present your product/service effectively.
4. Be approachable and relatable.
People still buy based on familiarity and connection. Customers prefer to buy from companies they trust or from referrals from friends. Just read the evolution of customer familiarity here. This requires a lot of practice and exploring the different approaches to see what works best for you.
5. Focus on success
As an entrepreneur, always keep your eyes on the prize! Do not get discouraged. There will be good days and bad ones. Sit down and determine exactly what you must accomplish over the next three, six and twelve months. You need to map these activities out in a business plan. Break down the plan to what you want to achieve weekly and by default what customers you want to reach every single day....what products you want to sell....what specials you want to offer...how you are going to engage with clients.
Selling is such an important part of business. It's like riding a bike. The more you do it, the better you get at it. I would also suggest for any new entrepreneur or anyone who does not like sales to put the effort into getting training for yourself. This can goes a long way to building your skills and confidence in the process.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Debbie-Ann Jollie is a marketing communications executive with more than 10 years experience creating marketing strategies and promotional campaigns for a diverse array of corporate clients and first time entrepreneurs.