5 Top Tips for Selling More
“Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better.” – Jim Rohn
Many entrepreneurs say they do not love selling, and therefor, they don’t seek out ways to improve their sales skills, even though they know this is one of the most important – if not the most important – keys to growing their company! Do you ever catch yourself thinking you wish you could just hire a sales team and never sell ever again? I can tell you that very few businesses making under $1M in revenues can afford a sales team, so for now anyway, you may be the rainmaker. Your skills at finding, nurturing and closing 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 having a solid sales system in place, where you are identifying new leads, following up and tracking your close rate.
AFTER: You still do good work. You also master top sales techniques. You start making consistent and higher dollar sales to people who had never heard of you, but want to work with the best.
The good news is selling is not some innate quality you have or you don’t have. It’s a skill, and like any other business skill, it can be honed, improved and even become something you enjoy. 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 that will not only improve your close rate, it will make you a better teacher to your sales people and team.
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 sales suffer due to their “generic marketing.” You know, the web site with the stock photos and the same language as every other company in that space. While you may be able to have initial success this way, 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 fix this. Think about Zappos or Honest or Red Bull. All these brands have a huge following without having spent a fraction of the marketing spent by 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:
Not all sales are created equal. Sometimes you have to convince your customers that they have a problem to show them how your product or service fixes it.
With Little Pim, for example, my language teaching program for kids, 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 so that you can drive more customers to seek your solution.
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 get your head in the game, to quote High School Musical. 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. 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. You can also review emails and testimonials from happy clients and customers just before in order to get a quick reminder of why they should work with you.
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 take notes. Listen intently. Ask going deeper questions. Empathize. Do NOT start selling. Your job is to find out what their greatest pain points and tailor your pitch to those issues. This is the hardest and most important part of the meeting, and one where getting some training makes a huge difference.
Act III – Only after you fully understand the problem that needs to be solved are you ready to suggest you have a solution. Ask the client/customer if you can tell them about the solution you have and be sure to have plenty of examples at the ready of other clients you solved this for.
3) Become a Killer 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 to go in with a powerful mindset and confidence (see number two above).
4) Study Great Sales People
My 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 slight 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 program called the Sales Cure 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. While the Sales Cure 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 Cure 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 at “ACT II” and become a Killer Closer.
5) Rinse and Repeat
When you make a big sale you feel fantastic, right? You think, “I can sell anything!” Right after you high five your Cocker-poo 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 about selling 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.
Come find me in my Facebook Group “Female Founders Going Big” where we will be sharing sales tactics, techniques and programs with other entrepreneurs looking to scale up and stay sane!
P.S. If you think this might be your to scale faster with the right coaching and community, 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.