Unless you are a seasoned small business owner or just a super talented sales person, selling anything is always difficult.
From the rejection to mastering the art of rebuttals, it takes being burned a few times to realize you can sell without selling your soul.
I won’t lie, one time (LONG, LONG ago) I offered to pay for someone’s babysitter in order to make a sale! Now, looking back, all I can say to myself is “are you fuckin serious?!” In order for this particular client to do a boudoir session she needed a babysitter because her husband was deployed and she didn’t have anyone to watch her kids. Well, because I wanted the sale so badly, I offered to pay for the child care in order to get her to book a session. I knew she’d be paying me but, in the end I worked for free because the profit (after my COGs) I made went to paying for her childcare!
So, new or seasoned, here are a few tips to avoid having a similar experience!
- Know your end goal – When you are meeting with your client you need to know what your end goal is. Simply put, what do you hope to achieve before this meeting ends? Do you want to make sure you make $$ in this sale, or upsell X amount, or maybe you want to get them to sign a contract with you for X amount of time. Having a set goal in mind will help with 2 things: prepping for the meeting, and asking for what you want. Oftentimes, we get so caught up in explaining how awesome our company or product is that we forget to do what we came there for.
- Stay positive – They say (by “they” I mean some optimist or another) there is power in positive thinking; that if you put out positive vibes and thoughts, good things will happen. I’m not saying you should go out and get all hippie happy, but the thought of keeping a positive vibe does change they way you carry yourself, the way you communicate and how you handle things! Being able to accept a rejection and not let it bring you down are key to successfully selling your product and/or service.
- Be friendly and personable, but not overwhelming – Like I said above, good energy is key, but you can go overboard with it. Clients are usually pretty good at telling the difference between sincerity and dishonesty. Chances are you aren’t being dishonest, but being overly friendly and chipper can come off as phony or even desperate. Try to remain on topic, share anecdotes only when they are relevant, and don’t get too personal. Regardless of how well you may think things are going, staying professional is always a good strategy.
- Ask targeted questions – Just like knowing your end goal, being prepared is key to selling! Every client is different, so do your research and try to gain some insight before going into your meeting. Have targeted questions that get directly to either your client’s pain points, or your selling points. Here’s an example of a targeted questio. Let’s say you sell an invoicing software for lawyers and during your meeting you ask, “How do late payments affect your company?” Obviously, having someone pay late is no bueno. Your response should incorporate a key selling feature of your invoicing software, the fact that you can send payment reminders to customers. Knowing what questions to ask can keep you in control of the meeting, steering it towards a positive outcome!
- Shut the hell up – It’s our own hole we dig ourselves into; that constant chatter we tend to do when the client pauses to think about something. In reality, they are either doing the math, mentally shifting money around, or just thinking about what was just said. When we hear silence, our reaction is to talk more. However, once we start talking just to talk, we end up saying something that wasn’t planned or maybe something we shouldn’t have been said. Instead of trying to fill every second of silence with words, simply shut the hell up! Making a purchase is usually a decision most people don’t take lightly. Give them a chance to digest things and think. Besides, most of the time the client has already made up their mind, and you should be able to pick up on the subtle hints they drop.