As a small business owner you know more than anyone what you offer.
A common stumbling block for new as well as experienced entrepreneurs is their attitude toward sales. I often hear comments like these:
Can’t I hire someone else to do it for me?
All I really want to do is work with my clients and deliver the best quality product. That’s my passion and why I got into this business in the first place! I feel very uncomfortable selling myself. I get to the close in the sales process and I freeze up and say something like..so if you’re interested give me a call! This approach usually does not result in a sale.
So, what to do?
Yes, you can hire someone to sell for you but often small business owners cannot afford the salary or the consultant’s fee. It is better for you to learn how to do sales successfully before you consider hiring someone else. Why?
As a small business owner and most likely the professional service provider, you know more than anyone what you offer, what the benefits of your service are and how to easily tailor what you offer to the needs of your prospective customers. Once you have this down, and you have a growing business, it makes good sense to hire a sales person or consultant for your small business.
Here are a few tips to help you take the scariness out of selling yourself and your product.
1. Listen. Your potential customers called you because they want something and think that you can help them! Find out what they want by asking open ended questions and then listen with respect and validation to their answers. It will give you insight and information into what their needs and concerns are and they will be appreciative of your attentiveness. Example questions: Tell me more about your project. What seems to be missing? How have you been dealing with this issue so far?
2. Share. Selling is really sharing information, helpful suggestions, and resources that address a particular problem. You can share how you can specifically address their issue or problem and easily offer the benefits of working with you.
3. Qualify. Make sure that this customer falls within your target market. If you are talking to someone who can’t afford your product/service or casually shopping, you could be wasting your time. However, by listening you might be able to offer a resource that helps them. They may not buy from you but they will remember how you helped them and refer you to a friend or colleague.
4. Offer solutions. Don’t fall into the trap of giving a prospect the laundry list of what you offer. Match your service or product to the customer’s needs. Don’t talk about the features of your service before the customer has bought into its benefits. When a customer expresses strong interest but is not yet ready to buy, try asking this question: What would have to happen for you to make a decision? The answer will allow you to offer an even more specific solution that could cinch the deal.
Try it. Soon you will be easily and effortlessly selling/sharing with confidence.
Susan Urquhart-Brown is owner of Career Steps Coaching and author of The Accidental Entrepreneur: The 50 Things I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me About Starting a Business. To learn more, visit her website, follow her on Twitter and “Like” her on Facebook.