Originally published on Inc.com.
If you are like many business owners, the idea of changing someone’s life and solving a problem because of your product, service or idea keeps you going.
Day after day, you perfect it, knowing that someday, someone will come along, love you, your product or service, and see the brilliance for themselves. Then things will REALLY take off!
Confident in your process, when it comes to “getting it out there” things just don’t seem easy. In fact, they seem downright difficult. When it comes to sharing your value or the value of your idea or product, you would rather crawl in a hole than spend your days selling.
If the idea of selling gives you thoughts of the slimy, manipulating, do-whatever-it-takes-to-get-the-sale kinds of people, there is good news: you can do a great job of selling your product, service or idea while being 100% completely authentic, transparent and delivering great results for your clients or prospects. Here’s the 5 step plan.
1. Adjust your attitude.
Imagine a plumber knocked on your door and asked you if you wanted to buy plumbing services when your water is flowing just fine, you wouldn’t be a buyer, right?
Of course not. You don’t buy plumbing when you don’t need it, only when you do.
Understand that sales should be about helping someone solve a problem. By offering your product, service or idea, you are actually offering a solution to their problem. If the problem is something they are willing to solve, you possibly have a sale. Most people take up way too much time offering their products or services to the wrong people or people who don’t want it, and come away frustrated, defeated and disillusioned.
2. Leverage your list.
If you have customers, you have a list. Start a customer reactivation campaign. Make a few calls and catch up. You’ll be amazed at how much business you are leaving on the table, and how many people will be delighted to hear from you.
3. Follow a process.
Mistakes are made when you are too eager for the sale. First, you must get rapport with the prospect. Don’t be too quick to speak. Connect first with a warm smile and body language that matches theirs (or your voice if you are on the phone).
Next, you can follow a natural process of discovering the problem, exploring solutions and choosing a solution together, which results in a transaction that makes your customer happy. Be sure your after-sale connection is as good as your pre-sale and you have a winning combination.
4. Offer one thing at a time.
Maybe you have several products or services that know just know can help your customer or prospect. Do not make the fatal mistake of trying to explain everything you do (or exactly how you do it) unless you want to lose their interest quickly.
If you have good rapport and are authentically discussing their needs, you will find a common ground and a good fit for your product or service. Or you don’t. It’s that simple. Just remember, if you sell pencils and they ask for a pen, you need to move on. (Or start a new product line!)
5. Communicate with confidence.
It’s that critical time when you must discuss price and negotiate to the end. Does your voice waver and wander, or do you sail through with confidence? If you’re like many, you do the former but wish for the latter.
If you have successfully followed the process above, you will be having a conversation that naturally will lead to “We take MasterCard, Visa, and American Express. Which would you prefer?” Or “Do you have a Purchase Order Number you’d like my to reference?” Either way, the rest is collecting payment information and whatever else is needed to fulfill the sale.
Have fun and be yourself. You really can’t be anything else anyway.
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