How do you feel when it's time to have a sales conversation with a prospective customer?
If I could do one thing for you as a business owner, it would be to teach you how to have a sales conversation without feeling angst. Many small business owners feel unconfident, fearful, or anxious when it's time to ask for the sale. Sometimes business owners feel doubt about the value of what they provide to their customers.
I've been working with small business owners and solo entrepreneurs for decades and I promise you, one of the most frequent things I hear is “I love what I do but I hate to market.”
Here's why you might hate having a sales conversation.
- You have expertise in a certain industry and while you were getting your qualifications no one ever taught you the marketing skills that you also must have. I know this from first-hand experience. I spent 2 solid years back in time learning massage therapy, bodywork, and neuromuscular therapy and in all that 2 years we had one guest speaker for 1 hour talking about marketing. Here's the truth. No one beats a path to your business just because you hang out a sign.
- You don't understand the basics of marketing. You might not know that you need to have what is called marketing collateral in your toolbox, ready at any time. The thought of having to develop marketing pieces overwhelms you because you don't know how to write sales copy, and you really haven't thought about you who want to work with and who you don't want to work with.
- No one has taught you how to qualify your potential customers (prospects). In fact, you might not have even heard the word “prospects” before. Prospects are potential customers. The biggest issue I see in working with my own customers is that they do not qualify their potential customers. Click To Tweet Qualifying a potential customers means asking “are they right for you” and “do they have the budget to pay you?”
- No one has taught you how to set yourself up for success in a sales conversation. Or even that you need to have a sales conversation. What will work for you and what won't work? What makes you feel at ease and excited to talk with someone new?
- No one has taught you how to package and price your offers. So you feel uncertain about asking for the sell, and that makes you feel unconfident.
7 tips for how to have a sales conversation or create a sales page
One resource for you is my How to Have a Sales Conversation That Works. It gives you solid, useful points and an 8 point formula to help you be confident in making sales. Click To Tweet
Having a sales conversation doesn't have to be complicated or hard. Whether you're having a sales conversation face-to-face (or over the phone) or you're “selling” on one of your web pages, here are some tips that will be helpful for you.
- Use talking points (and headlines on your website sales pages) that help you generate revenue. David Ogilvy, a businessman known as ‘Father of Advertising’, believed the headline of a sales page is the single most important component in a marketing system. You can take the headline from your sales page and use it as an opener if you're having a sales conversation in person. Crafting a good headline or opening talking point helps you gain attention and emotional interest from your prospective buyer. Ogilvy believed that on average, five times as many people read a headline (or listen to the opening statement you make) more than they pay attention to the body of a sales page on your website. So give yourself a tool to use by making your headlines compelling and engaging.
- Use what has worked before. The more you talk with potential customers (and the more sales pages you create for your company's website) the more you'll gain confident and experience about what works for your offers. And here's a tip – if you have not yet created anything, go browsing on websites that make offers similar to yours. Notice what catches you eye – the layout of the sales page or presentation, the words that engage you. Give yourself a start by using something similar (but do not copy and paste someone else's layout and sales copy, that's illegal and unethical to do). Once you have created a presentation or a sales page that gets good results for your business, use that as a template for future sales conversations and web sales pages.
- Focus on the benefits of what you offer, not the features. If you sell red flashlights don't make the mistake of saying, “You'll love our flashlights, they are red.” That's a feature. Instead, turn your feature into a benefit. Say, “You'll love our red flashlights because when you are looking around in your closet or car for it, the red color makes it very easy for you to find quickly.” That's a benefit.
- Keep your sales conversations (or copy on your sales page) clear and simple. Make sure that your potential new customer (your prospect) knows what to do next. When you've create copy for a sales page or a sales presentation, review it and ask yourself, “Is this simple, direct, and actionable?” And here's a tip if you are creating sales pages for your website. Keep your prospect engaged all the way to your “buy” button. You can use bullet points, headlines, sub-headlines and video, all of which will help keep someone on your sales page and interested until the end.
- When you are having a sales conversation person-to-person remind yourself to use short, concise sentences. Let your prospect know what you are going to cover, cover it succinctly, summarize, and ask for the sale. As you talk with someone, notice the language and phrases they use. If their terminology or description of what they need is phrased a certain way, reflect that back to them when you talk about the benefits of what you offer. Use their own words and phrases back to them. If you don't feel like you understand what they need stop and ask for clarification. Buyers want their needs to be understood.
- When you are writing sales copy for a website sales page keep in mind that some words convey power more than others. Power words evoke emotion, and that's what you want. People buy on emotion, not logic, no matter how logical they think they are being in the moment. There are many power words that you can use in your sales copy. I recommend the book Words That Sell by Richard Bayan (it's an oldie but goodie, and that's my Amazon affiliate link). Another very useful book is Phrases That Sell by Werz and Germain (also my Amazon affiliate link).
- On your website sales pages use direct action verbs in your call to action (CTA) for buying. Phrases that work are “reserve your seat” or “get your copy” or “buy now.” In the online world sometimes sales pages also offer bonuses or coupons to discount the price to add extra perceived value.
You'll find information in my How to Have a Sales Conversation that Works e-book that helps you understand when to sell, when not to bother making an offer at all, and when it's time to take a break from selling completely.
When you've gathered up the tools you need and are prepared you'll find that your confidence is higher and you won't dread sales or marketing. That alone will give you more success in having sales conversations.
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