I’m in the process of writing a book on Sales for the Non-Salesy Business Owner. (The working title – not the finished product!) I’d wrestled with whether it was the right thing to do – as why would I, as a Business Coach, recommend that people force themselves to master skills that don’t play to their strengths.
However, as a Business Owner, it’s important that you understand how sales works – in the same way that you need to have a grasp on financials or product development or marketing or customer service. Even if you personally aren’t selling you want to be confident that it is done well within your business.
In my experience one of the biggest barriers people have when it comes to selling – at least in the UK – is that they will sound like a salesperson! That poses an immediate challenge. Being called a salesperson is almost an insult here. So, I would like to pose a counter position to that belief.
Being you is important. Authenticity builds trust and that is key in sales.
If I had a penny for every time someone said, ‘I’m not a natural salesperson’ I could buy a flat white at Costa every day for a year. (I’m dead curious to know who has grabbed their calculator to work that one out! Having worked it out myself I might have exaggerated slightly.)
My response is that sales is a series of steps, overlaid with skills and processes, but at the very forefront of sales is mindset. For the archetypal salesperson mindset is innate. For everyone else mindset is a conscious step. You may not want to be a salesperson but if you find yourself having to be one then mastering a positive mindset, where you see yourself as strong and valuable, is a good start.
I’m sharing an excerpt from my book where I talk about this. Please feel free to let me know what you think. Even better – tell me what happened when you put any one of the principles into practice.
The principles of good selling
Good selling is not a formula. It’s not about trotting out a finely-honed patter. Increasingly, most people can see beyond that approach. Consider when you are in the position of the buyer, as you will be in the course of your daily life. Even if you can’t identify exactly what tactics are being used, you know there are tactics at play. When you feel that’s the case you are likely to put up your guard. Through the course of this book you will see how tactics can be replaced with authentic influencing skills.
So, here are the key principles we are going to base our good selling approach on:
- Selling is about doing good. We won’t leave any prospect or customer with that ‘done over’ feeling.
- Our quest is for mutual benefit. How can the product or service we offer improve the lives of the customers we look to sell to? We need to be able to answer that question convincingly.
- Not everyone will be a target customer for us – that’s important to take in. The sooner we can identify the customers we can help the most the sooner we’ll experience sales success.
- Competition is good. Competition challenges us to stand out for the right reasons.
- Strong communication and planning skills and an interest in helping people all underpin good selling. As a Business Owner you will have these, to some degree, already.
- Sales is a team game. Well-priced proposals, logistics lined up to deliver orders, customer service briefed and ready to answer customer queries and delivery guys spotting new opportunities – they all make a difference.
- Start with the prospect’s buying process – then match with your sales process. You’re much more likely to build trust and rapport and deliver results for both sides.
- Marketing activities and sales activities work best together. The combined effect is way greater than the sum of the parts.
Remember, You + Sales Skills = Still You!
As a start, take one of these principles and aim to put it into practice. Let me know what happens.