3 Ways You Can Sell More Even if You Hate Sales
In some ways being exceptional at sales, is like succeeding as an entrepreneur—you either have the characteristics, capacity and passion for it, or you don’t. Most of us probably don’t. After all, it can be exceptionally challenging, very risky and full of rejection. But that doesn’t mean we all can’t and should not aim to improve our sales skills so that we can sell more.
Even if you hate to sell, once you are armed with the right knowledge, skills, information and motivation, you can learn how to be better at it. Particularly for those of us who are in business, sharpening ours skills in this area can help us boost revenues, compete better and create a strategic advantage. Here’s how to get started.
- 1. Change your mindset.
The very first and most important step to selling more is to change how we think about sales. Sales in the traditional sense was typically about engaging in a blind push strategy—where you push your products and services to potential customers assuming they have an interest in what you have to sell. While this strategy may still have a place in some industries and markets, it’s generally amateur and very ineffective. Throw it out the window!
In reality sales is an art. It requires human creativity, thoughtfulness and prowess. It’s not about generic pitching, or showing off universal benefits of what you have to offer. The keys to selling more are being prepared, engaging, listening, understanding, analyzing, effective communication and relationship building with existing and potential customers. Once you’ve done that, most of the work is complete and you can close the sale.
- 2. Be smarter about preparation.
How do you become ‘prepared’ so you can sell more? You do that by educating yourself on why your customers buy and how they make their buying decisions. These factors vary by customer type, so what motivates business customers to buy and how they purchase is usually very different from the individual customer. This is where it is helpful to consult theories on consumer decision making and buying behaviour. Physical preparation is also important as image matters. A customers’ perception of your credibility, and the quality of what you are selling is determined to a considerable extent by how you show up and who or what you show up with. It’s why businesses should make formal sales training and the development of an effective sales strategy and appropriate materials a top priority.
Engagement is not simply interaction. It is about approaching potential and existing customers when, where and how it is most convenient for them. This is critical, since customers always like to feel empowered and in control of the process. It’s also asking the right questions and listening carefully so as to best understand the customer’s challenges, needs and concerns as well as the solutions they may be looking for. When you listen keenly to what your customers want you are in a better position to assess which solutions may be best for them and communicate better how your product or service meets their needs exactly—when they want to buy. Once you do that, you will sell more.
- 3. Aim for long-term customer relationships.
Sometimes communicating your solution may require telling stories or sharing testimonials from customers with similar challenges. It’s also important to make them feel valued, important and at the centre of the process. This is where the creativity comes in.
If you want long-term customers, whom you can sell to again and again, then you must take time to build a relationship with them. This requires caring about your customers, having their best interest at heart, constantly communicating with them, and responding quickly to their needs, and so on. Maintaining a database of existing and potential customers is a great starting point. If possible you may even invest in customer relationship management software which can help you become more efficient at managing these relationships—however this should only enhance not replace the human element. After all, business, at its core, is about relationships.