Selling from your HeartWritten by Flo Schell, EdM, Certified Sales Coach
Are you a Solopreneur, a Small Business Owner, a Helping Professional, or a Creative who is tired of trying to figure out how to sell yourself and your services without feeling uncomfortable or pushy?
If so, you are not alone! Many of us have experienced manipulative and abrasive salespeople who have turned us off...made us cringe...and even stopped us entirely from pursuing a purchase we really wanted.
If we ourselves have had poor experiences with salespeople, how can we be expected to enjoy becoming one?
Well, let's look at alternative. In order to bring our talents, our services, and our gifts to world...we need to figure this out.
What I know for sure is that we cannot grow our businesses without becoming comfortable with "selling"...so let's bite bullet and master this "selling thing".
"But we didn't sign on to be salespeople", you say. "We signed on to help people or to make a great product available or to express our creativity!"
"We're ok with connecting with people, forming new relationships, and helping people to get what they need...but in a professional and non-threatening way."
And so it is with "Selling from your Heart."
"Selling from your Heart" is about forming connections with potential Clients, finding commonalities, enjoying conversations, figuring out what's missing, helping to clarify what's needed, and partnerning to find solutions.
Is that something you're comfortable with?
I thought so!
So let's create a plan that will help you to embrace your professional selling self and, in so doing, enhance very reputation of "selling".
Know Yourself. Who are you? What makes you special? What characteristics do you have that would attract someone to partner with you? What products or services do you have to offer them that is unique?
Get Clear On Who You Want to Attract. Who would you really like to work with? What qualities do these individuals have? What would it be like to have a relationship with these types of people? Create a "My Favorite Client" profile. Keep it in full sight.
Look for Your "Favorite Clients" Everywhere. It's like a treasure hunt. Where do they hang out? What do they read? What radio stations do they listen to? Where might you run into them?
Create an Image for these Individuals to See. How will you portray yourself to these potential Clients? What will you send them that will make you curious about you? Should you place a photo on your brochure? Should you pose a question in your copy that will make them say...Hmmm! What will make them reach out?
Selling Against Goliath: How To Take On The “Big Guys” And Win. Written by Dave Stein
Are you a salesperson representing a smaller company that competes against “big guys”? If so, you probably find yourself feeling like underdog in age-old tale of David and Goliath. And—the story’s biblical outcome notwithstanding—you’ve probably noticed that in today’s hyper-competitive business world it’s usually Goliath who trounces David. Sigh. Am I fighting a losing battle? you wonder. Is there any way I can ever defeat a company with more manpower, more resources and, well . . . more status in eyes of prospect? As a matter of fact, you can bring down that Goliath of a competitor, says Dave Stein, consultant, trainer and author of book How Winners Sell: 21 Proven Strategies To Outsell Your Competition and Win The Big Sale (Bard Press, 2002, ISBN: 1-885167-55-5, $24.95). “When smaller team loses a sale, (or larger one, for that matter,) it's for one of two reasons,” he explains. “Either they didn't properly qualify opportunity, or competition outsold them. There is no third alternative. When you understand these two eventualities, you can take steps to improve your selling capabilities.” Stein offers some insights on how to take on your Goliath—and win sale: Qualification: Is this really a sound prospect?
Qualification is process by which we determine if it is worth our time and effort to continue to pursue a sales opportunity. It’s a process, not an event. That means you don't qualify your sales prospect once, when initial contact is made and then, with a smile on your face and your head in sand, blindly do whatever you believe (or your prospect tells you) it takes to win their business. You qualify vigilantly and consistently. Why? Because things change. Because buyers have been known to mislead sellers. Because sometimes a buyer doesn’t even know who in his own company is going to make real decision favoring one supplier over another. When you are qualifying your prospect, you are asking them, and yourself, questions like: When are they going to buy? Why are they going to buy? What are they going to buy? Does our product or service fit their requirements? Who is making final decision? What is decision process? Who is competition? And certainly, how will they pay for what it is that I am selling? There are many, many more. Qualification criteria for smaller companies who compete against big guys must contain questions about prospect's buying preferences. For example, you need to ask yourself, "What evidence do I have that prospect will do business with a company of our size?" Also you'll need to know what guidelines they must follow in terms of suppliers' company size, revenues or financial viability.
Does size matter? (Knowing when to move on)
It's hard to ask these questions, but it is irresponsible not to. You must be certain that if you meet or exceed all prospect's requirements, size does not matter. You may have greatest product, innovative services, committed people, stellar customer satisfaction levels, top product quality or anything else that you consider of value—but if size matters, little else will measure up. And if size does matter—and if you can’t convince prospect fairly quickly that it shouldn't—hit road and move on to another opportunity. You'll need to be careful here. Sometimes size issue is less obvious. For example, your prospect may have a requirement that you implement their Supply Chain Management System in twenty-five plants within a year's time. That's a legitimate business requirement that is directly related to size. And if you are a smaller supplier, without pre-established partners with service firms who are capable of delivering service levels required, for example, your chances of winning are remote. What all this means is that there are certain opportunities for which you should not compete, because you cannot win. Sorry, but that's a fact.
Once they’re qualified, what do you do? Answer: competitive selling.
You're going to need to influence your prospect's decision criteria, so that perceived value of your competitor's size, and other size-related capabilities are neutralized, if not diluted. Here is a simple, well-used example. Let's say you sell for a smaller company that provides programming services and you’re up against a major global firm. Based upon preferences and needs of buyers, you may decide to use "small-fish-in-a-big-pond" approach. It goes like this: "Ms. Prospect: there are few people who would not be impressed by MKPG's size, reach and resources. I'm sure they proudly reference some very prominent clients. However, you might consider that a project such as yours, although highly critical for you, might very well not have importance and therefore not generate ongoing attention within their firm that their premier clients’ projects would. It's only natural…" From that point, a discussion of how you would manage their project and business relationship in future—stressing executive attention and importance of their success to your success—would propel you forward. If you are effective with this approach, you will have moved size as well as power of their client list down in importance and executive attention and interest in their success up.