5 Top Tips for Selling More
“Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better.” – Jim Rohn
Many of us do not love selling, and may even avoid getting better at it, even though we also know it’s one of the most important – if not THE most important – keys to growing our companies. Very few businesses making under $1M in revenues can afford a senior sales team so for now anyway, you ARE the rainmaker. Whether you can find and close deals really, really matters.
Ever caught yourself engaging in the wishful thinking that because you love or know you are really good at delivering your services/products, the customers and clients will find YOU? That way, there won’t be that much “selling” involved! And in the early days of a business when much of your revenue is from word of mouth, that may be partially true. But let’s look at the BEFORE and AFTER of a growing business where the founder gets her sales process humming.
BEFORE: You do good work. People come back and/or refer you to others. You make decent sales.
Isn’t that how it should be? Well, yes and no. Yes, you will get repeat business from being good at what you do, and a few referrals. But growing a business to $1M and beyond requires moving past what I call “happenstance selling” (as in, I hope it happens) to “intentional selling” which is what drives hyper growth.
AFTER: You do good work. You master top sales techniques. You make consistent and higher dollar sales to people who had never heard of you.
The good news is selling is not some innate quality you have or you don’t have (sorry, you can’t get off that easy!). It’s a skill, and like any other business skill, it can be honed, improved and even elevated to an art form. Many of us think of sales as the bitter pill we have to swallow before moving onto our tasty treat of actually doing the work, but I want to invite you to spend a few minutes thinking about the mindset and skillset it takes to sell. You might even start to LIKE IT and then maybe it can move from bitter pill to shot of wheat grass to chocolate macaroon in your business buffet!
5 Top Tips for Selling More
1) Get clear on your target customer and what language, visuals and discounts will appeal to them
Many companies suffer from what is called “generic marketing” and while you may be able to have initial success with non-specific marketing, it simply won’t ever get you the volume of sales you are seeking. You don’t have to be big or spend big to find and win your market. Think about Tom’s Shoes or Zappos or Honest. All these brands have a huge following without having spent on marketing like the dominant brands in their space. It’s more important to be smart than big, which means only marketing to the people who are most likely to buy your products. Easier said than done, right? The first questions I encourage my Masterclass students to tackle in the Sales & Marketing class are:
A. What is the problem your company is solving?
B. How can you consistently find more people with that problem and solve it for them?
If you can answer these two questions, then you will be able to come up with much more targeted copy and campaigns. If you haven’t already done a Customer Avatar Worksheet, now might be the time!
Sometimes you have to convince people that they have a problem to show them how your product or service fixes it.
With Little Pim, for example, we had to first point out to parents that learning a second language was a huge brain booster for their children. Only then could we could address the “problem” they had – that they didn’t know how or where to get their kids this benefit, or didn’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on expensive classes. And Voilà, Little Pim was there to solve the problem with an affordable way for their kids to learn at home or on the go. If your company needs to show the problem before it can solve it, you’ll need to make sure that is part of your messaging.
2) Own the process and visualize success
When you are getting on a sales call with someone or going to their office, you need to map it out beforehand, just like a general going to battle. They wouldn’t just “wing it”, right? Here is why. Your set of underlying beliefs about whether or not they need your product or services will be doing battle with their underlying set of beliefs, and whoever has the strongest set of beliefs will win. Which is why visualizing success before you enter the meeting can be very powerful in getting you to a place where your beliefs are stronger and you can come across more convincingly. To visualize success, imagine how it will feel when you “shake on it” or where you will go to celebrate, or making the call to your team to say “they said yes!” or exactly how you will run the first onboarding meeting.
Before you go to the meeting, map out on paper or at least in your head how the meeting will go.
Every successful sales meeting should have three Acts:
Act 1 – Set up the framework for the meeting, get the person comfortable and create rapport (establish mutual interests, make a genuine connection), map out what is going to happen in the next 45 minutes (or whatever time is allotted). Make sure you take ownership right away and set up the frame for the meeting (I like to say things like, “here is how I like to do these meetings” or “how about we set a verbal agenda for our time together?”). Always find out how much time the client/customer has so that you can map out the arc of the meeting within the time frame.
Act II – Uncover the problem they are trying to solve and learn about it with intense and ever more curious questioning. Take notes. Listen intently. Ask going deeper questions. Empathize. Do NOT start selling. Your job is to find out what their greatest pain points are tailor your pitch to those issues.
Act III – Ask the client/customer if you can tell them about the solution you have that you think will solve their problem.
3) Become a Closer
Selling and closing are not the same skills. Many people can get in the door or get on the call, but this does not mean they will walk out or hang up having gotten the business. Study how to close deals by working with a coach, taking a sales class or practicing with members of your team or fellow entrepreneurs. Closing is one of my super powers and it took me YEARS to get really good at it. Start now and you will be able to see big improvements with just a few key changes.
Some of the most important things to keep in mind when closing are:
- Make sure you pre-qualify your customers/clients. Come up with a set of questions or online assessment they can take so you can be sure they can afford your services and are ready to buy. This will increase your close rate because you’ll be selling to more of the right people.
- Set up the parameters for your close from the beginning of the meeting by saying things like “If we are able to ____ in this meeting, am I correct in understanding that we would be able to get this to a greenlight today?”
- Set up the next steps before you leave the meeting. It might be setting the date for when you are meeting again or who needs to sign off or what the next deliverable is.
- Get comfortable with talking about what you charge and make sure you don’t fumble or stumble on that part. Being able to talk about your fees and what the value is that you offer is key to your ability to close. That is why you have have to go in with a powerful mindset and confidence (see number two above).
4) Study Great Sales People
My nine year old son, Adrian, decided he wanted to learn how to do magic tricks, something no one in our family is good at or would even attempt. So he has spent hours on Youtube watching some of the greatest magicians teach him their sleight of hand and now he makes my 8 of spades show up every single time! It’s pretty impressive. You can take a page out of Adrian’s book and study the greats.
I happen to love sales almost as much as I love excel spreadsheets, delegating, and lemon drop martinis. The hundreds of hours (and thousands of dollars) I have invested in sales training are about to be available for the first time. I’ve created a new SALES INTENSIVE so you can up your sales IQ without taking time off work or going to a seminar that takes up days of your precious time. You can join the Sales Intensive from anywhere in the world, and this LIVE training will be recorded in case you miss parts. While the Sales Intensive is especially valuable for anyone selling services, it’s also tremendously helpful for those selling products (as I did at Little Pim) because you still have to sell gatekeepers (retailers, strategic partners, etc.).
The Sales Intensive is for you if you:
- DON’T LOVE sales right now (you find yourself putting off making sales calls or don’t feel confident about closing or would rather do 20 burpees right now than make more sales calls).
- Are looking to OUTSOURCE some or all of your sales (but how can you do that if you aren’t even sure if you have your own sales system down pat?).
- Want to be a masterful seller and CLOSER (think Kyra Sedgwick in The Closer).
The Sales Intensive is exclusive to those who sign up for the next Masterclass cohort. To learn more book a free Accelerate Session here.
5) Rinse and Repeat
When you make a big sale you feel fantastic! “I can sell anything!” You think, hanging up the phone having taken down their credit card information or received the long awaited greenlight. Right after you high five your Cockerpoo is the perfect time to pick up the phone and make your hardest, most procrastinated call. You need to ride that wave of confidence to make ANOTHER sale. Because the best time to make more sales is right the high of the previous sale. Don’t miss that window! Look in the mirror and say “Yes, you are awesome!” and then go make three more calls and do it again.
If you want to continue to improve your sales skills and techniques, start devoting just 30 minutes a week to reading blogs or books and discussing the process with a fellow entrepreneur or someone who is better at sales than you are. When I was improving my sales skills I also worked with a coach who watched a few of my sales sessions recorded on video and helped me root out verbal ticks that weaken your sales like “kind of” or upswing at the end of a sentence.
I hope we have moved you from shot of echniacea to shot of wheat grass to maybe even a corn muffin. Even if you aren’t quite at chocolate macaroon yet, there is still time to get there! I actually love selling and consider closing to be one of my super powers! I hope this blog helped you embrace your inner Closer.
Come find me in my Facebook Group “Female Founders Going Big” where we will be sharing high performing sales tactics, techniques and programs!
P.S. If you know your revenue could be higher if you had the right team, strategy or systems in place, it’s time to consider my online business program for women scaling up. You can schedule a FREE 45-minute Accelerate Session with me by clicking here. Spots are very limited, so please act now if interested.