No Matter What Business You’re In, You Are In The Business of Selling

You may be the leading expert in your industry. You might possess some proficiency or skillset that your colleagues will never have. You may even have a wall full of awards from industry associations. None of this means a thing if you don’t know how to sell.

I coach a lot of entrepreneurs, many of whom are brilliant at what they do, have excellent people skills, and should be setting the world on fire. Unfortunately, they’re stuck trying to make ends meet when they should be doing seven figures in a year because they haven’t mastered the art of selling. It’s a skill like any other, and once you learn it and become really good at it, your business is going to change forever.

If you really want to up your sales game this year, focus on these five selling strategies.

The secret to selling is not selling at all

How many times have you received a phone call or email out of the blue from someone you don’t know who wants to sell you something? They might have the best product or service in the world, but because you don’t know them you don’t know if you can trust them. As a result, you’re reluctant to buy.

The best salespeople don’t start out trying to sell you anything. They begin by getting to know you, building a relationship with you and establishing trust. They share information with you. They get to know your likes, dislikes, needs and wants. They are keenly aware of the fact that this process can take time, but it’s time well spent because building a relationship is what leads to sales.

Get personal

Even if you don’t know your customers that well, they want to feel like they are your number-one priority. There are many ways to do this. The best salespeople will refer to their customers by name throughout the presentation. “Well Sue, that’s a great question.” They remember important details. “I know when we spoke last week you said…” They talk about family to humanize the interaction. “Your son plays baseball? My seven-year-old just started in our city league.”

Be real

People want to buy from real people. Don’t follow a sales script. Don’t approach each sale as a “one size fits all” scenario. Don’t be cheesy or something you’re not. Be authentic with your customers. Be honest. Most important: Be yourself. Sales school 101 is about knowing where your strengths lie and then leveraging those characteristics to make you a better salesperson.

The give and take method

One technique that will help you close more sales is by concentrating on the perks and benefits that come with your product and service, but then pulling it out of reach. This usually makes your prospect more eager to act. A few statements that do this quite effectively: We have a four-month waiting list, but I can add your name to the list right now. There are only three spots left. I’m not sure if you’re ready for this yet.

Be prepared when they ask about a bad experience

Many salespeople are caught off guard when a potential customer asks about a bad experience someone had. These days, when someone has a bad experience with a company, they leave a scathing review online. There’s no reason to bring up a time a customer wasn’t satisfied or your company made a mistake. However, be prepared when your buyer inquires. Don’t get testy, defensive, or lie about it. It’s best to fess up, but more importantly, talk about how you rectified the situation.

The close is in the follow up

If you manage to close the deal right away, that’s great. However, it’s quite common for a prospect to want to think about it before deciding. This is perfectly acceptable, and you should never pressure the buyer to make a hasty decision. I was shocked to find out how many people don’t follow up with their prospects. The rule is you follow up as many times as you have to until you get a firm yes or no. Never leave a potential sale in limbo because someone else will close the customer.

The takeaway

Chances are, there are a lot of service providers who offer the same product or service as you. Competition is as fierce as its even been and unfortunately, most small businesses don’t make it more than a few years. The secret to getting ahead and staying ahead is in the sales process. When you know how to sell with finesse and confidence, you will turn more leads into paying customers.

Kendrick Shope is an international sales expert, the CEO & creator of the Authentic Selling® process and was named the top sales expert to follow by Twitter in 2015 & 2016. She recently sat down with Steve Harvey and gave him a few pointers on how to be a better salesperson. https://vimeo.com/205418325. To learn more, visit https://kendrickshope.com/

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