Do you dread selling what your business offers?
I'm betting you know entrepreneurs who love what they do but hate selling. This happens for two reasons.
- Lack of clarity about what they are selling
- Needing to improve their sales skills before making offers
As the CEO of your business it's your job to improve your sales skills, practicing and getting comfortable with making your offers.
How I learned to improve my sales skills
When I was in high school I spent part of my senior year as an exchange student in Colombia. I bought an open-weave straw purse there to take home and give to my mother. To me it represented a little piece of my life in Colombia, and it was something I could bring her that was exotic, something from far away. I could hardly wait to give it to her when I got home.
If you want to improve your sales skills, though, give someone something they aren't prepared for and don't see the usefulness of. While my mother was polite to me about the gift, I could tell she didn't like it at all. It went straight to the top shelf of her closet and I never saw it again until, decades later, I cleaned out her home after she had passed away.
My mother had objections to my “sale.”
- “It’s open weave, everyone could see what's in my purse.”
- “The weave is so big my things will fall out.”
- “It's straw, if I got it wet it would not hold up.”
- “It doesn't match any shoes that I have.”
Mom didn't ever use the straw purse from Colombia because she didn't see its usefulness. She saw its problems.
While it's good to believe in what you are offering, you can't make the mistake of thinking that it's a good match for everyone.
- Know the interests and needs of your potential customers.
- Don't offer what you have to someone who doesn't fit the profile of your best customer.
- Make sure that the benefits your product or service offers are benefits that your prospect needs right now.
Sometimes we forget that what we offer has to be all about the person who buys from us, not all about us. It has to make them excited, not us. They have to see the usefulness of what we offer before they will invest. It’s a sure thing that if your offers are not selling, your market isn’t seeing the usefulness of what you offer.
Another way to say this is that someone must see the benefit and strongly believe that this benefit will be solve their problem or make a change that they really want. Before a prospect buys from you she is thinking to herself, “What will this do for me? How will this be useful for me? Can I see that it’s worth the money I’m going to pay?”
Improve your sales skills by knowing your benefits and your ideal customer
Selling usefulness and benefits is the best and most solid way to get customers and help people. If you use pressure tactics or play on the emotions of someone to get them to buy it can work – you can get the sale. But that sale can cost you later on, and here’s why. When a person buys on impulse and doesn’t see the usefulness for herself right then, she’ll put what she bought on the shelf. She won’t implement or use what she bought.
Think about how many times you’ve bought something and never used it….online courses, coaching sessions, clothing, or shoes. You buy on impulse, but because you don’t have a pressing need right then, it’s not useful to you in the moment and you set it aside. Pretty soon, you’ve forgotten you even have it sitting there. We’ve all done that!
If your customer doesn't benefit within a short time after the sell, she will never buy from you again. Customers need a “quick win” – something they see as a help right away. So if you pressure someone to buy now “because you will need it later” it's probably not going to be a long-term, repeat customer for you.
As a business owner pitching your product or service, you must talk about the benefits, the very specific benefits of your product or your service. Show how it can be immediately useful to the person. Don’t make the mistake of talking about the features rather than the benefits. Talk about what it will mean to that person, how it will transform them, or make life easier or better, or save time or money.Sales Tip: If you’re feeling yourself wanting your prospect to have what you offer more than she seems to want it for herself it’s a sure sign you’re not doing a good job of being objective and selling usefulness and benefits. Click To Tweet
Sell without becoming emotionally attached to the outcome
It’s our job to do the very best we can when we talk to a prospect about what it is we offer. We must listen well and craft what we say in such a way that they will take us up on our offer. This is our responsibility as the CEO of our business, and if we shirk this we should feel guilty. We need to give this our very best. But after that offer is done, it’s up to a prospect to buy. Do you best, and don't be emotionally attached to the outcome. This gives us a solid ground as a business owner. It’s not sustainable to have a business where you feel high and happy when someone buys, but doubtful and low when no one buys. We need a steady and even keel for our business and a belief that our product or service is worthy, whether every prospect buys or not.
When we’ve done the best job we can and are unattached to the result, it is much easier for us to take a look at what isn’t working in our offers, change things and keep at it until we are selling well –
we have become expert at pointing out the usefulness and benefits of our offers. It does us no good (and our potential customers no good, either) if we are on an emotional rollercoaster. It doesn’t help our business, our clients, or our bank
account. Our work is to be useful, do the very best job possible to craft and present what we offer, and then step away.
The reason we get attached to the outcome of making our offers is this – deep inside we are afraid that what we offer isn’t good enough. So we look for approval in our sales. But that’s not what buying and selling is about. It’s about making sure that you can point out the usefulness of your product or service for your prospects in such a way that they understand the benefits to them.
When I got home from Colombia, I needed to be better at talking about the usefulness of that straw bag for my mom. And I needed to know, in the first place, what she liked and didn't like about purses. Practice making your offers in such a way that your prospect immediately sees the benefits, and don't waste your time with prospects who are not a good customer for you. That’s what will make your business grow bigger.
Related Article: How to Have a Sales Conversation Even If You Feel Unsure of Yourself
Related Resource: How to Have a Sales Conversation That Works
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