I remember my first sales meeting. I was nervous, probably stammered throughout the conversation, blanked out when they asked questions and.. well…. I just sucked.
Needless to say; I didn’t get the client.
Fast forward two years and things changed a LOT. I was signing new clients every day. The company I was working for at the time was growing at a record pace, and I was the only sales person.
So what changed?
Well, I started looking into what I was doing wrong and changed a few things. I’ve already outlined three reasons why people suck at sales (so start there), but here’s four other things I started changing to get more clients.
1. BE ENTHUSIASTIC WITHOUT BEING HYPE-Y
Most entrepreneurs are either super serious and shy, or they go the complete opposite and are full of hype and excitement. Both options suck.
Think about it.
You’re talking to someone that is super serious and is showing almost no emotion. How much do you think they believe in what they’re talking about? It could be 150% but as far as you’re concerned it’s zero. And they don’t seem like they’re gonna be much fun – do you really want to get into a (business) relationship with someone that doesn’t seem fun?
Then you’ve got the hype people. They’re full of energy, have an answer for everything, and are super excited. But think about it for a second, the only people that really get excited in a sales conversation are the sales people – and no one wants to be sold to.
Enthusiasm is that middle ground.
It’s being confident, but also attentive and listening to the person you’re talking to. It’s hearing what they have to say, understanding it, and not just shouting about how great your stuff is.
I mean, think back to the last time you spoke to someone who didn’t really hear what you had to say, or would just bulldoze over your concerns with a whole lot of hype.
Was that fun? Do you want to do that again?
I didn’t think so.
2. HANDLE OBJECTIONS WITH QUESTIONS
A natural part of the sales process are objections.
What are objections you ask? Here’s a few:
“I don’t know if it’s right for me”
“That’s a bit expensive”
“I’ll need to check with my partners”
Know what I mean?
If you leave it there, you’ve lost the sale. But if you just jump straight in with answers, you also run the risk of seeming like you’re just trying to get a sale (and that’s not good either).
Instead, you can ask questions. That will help you avoid looking like you’re trying to convince them and instead guides them into convincing themselves.
See, one of my mentors once told me something that really stuck with me:
“If you tell them something, as far as they’re concerned you might be lying. But if they tell themselves that same thing, how could it be a lie?”
So rather than telling them the answers, you want to ask them the right questions so they come up with the right answer themselves.
That way, it has to be true.
For example, a question I usually ask when I get stuck with a potential client is what sort of results they’ve had from their own improvement efforts. If they haven’t really had much results, I’ll usually follow by asking them whether those efforts are enough for them to hit their goals. This tends to be enough to make people realise they need to do something different.
If I was proposing a new website and someone had an issue with the price, I’d ask them what they were expecting instead, and then steer that conversation into one about high quality versus cheap prices.
3. HELP THEM GET WHAT THEY REALLY WANT
As a business coach, I know that almost any business could benefit from my services. The thing is, no one actually wants a business coach. What they really want is some sort of an outcome – more money, less working hours, freedom, etc.
If I focus my efforts on selling coaching, I probably wouldn’t have much luck.
But when I talk about outcomes (eg. bigger profits), and what those outcomes will mean to that person (eg. breathing room with bills, less stress), I tend to have them wanting to work with me.
So try do the same thing.
If you’re an accountant, don’t sell your time preparing tax returns. Think about why they want tax returns completed and sell that.
If you build websites, don’t sell a website. Think about why they want a website and sell that.
4. ALWAYS FOLLOW UP (EVEN IF YOU THINK THERE’S NO CHANCE)
The first coaching client I ever had was someone I thought would never go ahead.
We had an okay initial meeting, but he wasn’t super clear on his goals and seemed very dismissive of getting help.
“No chance” I thought.
I followed up.
And followed up.
And eventually…. he said yes.
I couldn’t believe it.
It turns out that the stuff we discussed in the meeting stuck with him, and since I kept following up it kept coming back to mind, until eventually he decided he needed to do something about it and came on board as a client.
Since then, I’ve had a fair few clients that came on board after months of following up.
If you look into sales statistics, you’ll find that 80% of sales require five or more follow ups.
The mind blowing part is that 44% of sales people give up after only one follow up.
Don’t be one of those 44% – put in at least five follow ups (or go with my approach and follow up until they give you an answer).
Going from one of the most embarrassing meetings of my life to signing clients every day wasn’t easy.
It took a lot of time.
But eventually…. I became “good” at sales.
And you will too!