Please hold up your hand if you love being sold something! Now, please hold up your hand if you like to sell something. Sales: is the profession nobody likes, and it’s the profession nobody (or very very few) enjoy doing. Yet, the sad fact is, if nobody sells and nothing gets sold, all business grinds to a halt.
Like it or not, the very life of your business depends entirely on sales. Not just the cash that goes into the register (sales), but I mean the entire process of finding customers, educating them to what you can do for them, what value you provide to them, and then convincing them to return again, and again, and again. I’m talking about ‘selling your services.’
I just felt your heart stop. (giggle)
Why the fear? Mostly because most folks are uncomfortable ‘selling’ something, it takes them out of their comfort zone because they think ‘sales’ involves shady practices, conning people, forcing people to purchase what they normally wouldn’t buy. Well, your fears are totally unfounded. Forcing or conning people and shady sales tactics cause more problems than the sale is worth, and frankly you simply cannot sell somebody something they don’t want or need. You can’t. And if you should actually try, you’ll be flooded with returns and refunds, which negates ever even trying again.
I touched on uncomfortable. It can feel uncomfortable walking up to a stranger’s door, ringing the door bell, and when the homeowner opens the door, you slip into your sales pitch……
I just felt your heart stop again. <grin>
I remember the very first time I faced a customer. I remember how my heart was pounding, how my mind was racing, wondering how I was going to answer the customer’s questions because I was so new and inexperienced. I had absolutely no confidence in myself or my abilities. I was green, and I was in over my head. But, I survived it. And so will you.
First off, you must learn, accept, understand and believe that people have a genuine need for what you are selling.
We dry cleaners sell a lot of things. We sell:
– We sell a service that restores used to clothes to a like new appearance
– We remove spots and stains
– We sell a neat and well pressed appearance
– We sell a stylish appearance
– We sell good looks
– We sell a desirable (to both genders) appearance
– We sell a time saving service
– We sell more time with the kids
– We sell leisure
– We sell what you can’t get at home (you can’t get the same crease or crispness at home)
– We sell convenience (when offering pick up and delivery from home or office)
Now, who doesn’t want some or all of that list?
Rejection, it’s a part of the process, get used to it. I admit it, rejection happens, it happens, a lot. But really, you have to get over it. Remember when you were dating? Well, that was likely your first foray into sales. You were, in effect, selling yourself to a prospective date. You asked somebody out and you risked being rejected. If you were rejected, sure, it stung a bit, but you got over it. Same when you are making a sales call, rejection may happen, and for many reasons, but it is hardly ever permanent. People may reject you because they are busy doing something else, want to be doing something else, or want you to come back at a scheduled time, or just don’t perceive themselves of having a need of what you are offering at this particular moment. It’s how you overcome rejection that can make all the difference.
It’s really a numbers game. My old associate Craig was a great salesman. He taught me that for every 100 calls you make, 10 will be interested, and 3 will buy. That means 90 folks likely rejected the pitch outright, but 10 expressed an interest. Seven of those ten did not result in a sale (more rejection, couldn’t afford it, decided they really didn’t need what was offered, or whatever). But 3, bought. There, that’s the work that has to be done, 100-10-to get 3 sales. Fight it all you want, but that’s the numbers. Go ahead, try to beat them, I double dog dare you! (and call me when you do).
So, where do you find prospective customers? Well, I remember a fellow who I met when he walked in and asked if he could wash my windows in my shop. He was very reasonably priced, and he showed up consistently, and he did a good job. I asked him, how do you find your customers? He said he had criteria for determining who he would pitch for his window washing services: they had to have windows, and they had to be within driving distance, so pretty much anybody qualified as a prospective customer. Do you pre-qualify or qualify your prospective customer?
And how about your sales pitch? Do you have just one sales pitch in your sales deck? I hope you have more than one because different people need different approaches. You wouldn’t go around asking every prospective dates ‘Wanna go bowling?’ perhaps some dates would like to go to a movie, out for dinner, catch a hockey game. More pitches, more offerings and more approaches improve your odds (in dating and sales).
Monitor your efforts, and your results. Keeping track of what you are doing, what works, what doesn’t, who is interested, who isn’t, all adds up to saving you a ton of time, effort, and actually makes you better. I kept track of 500 cold calls where I used six different sales pitches, and kept track of what sales pitch I gave to what type of potential customer. Within the first 250 sales calls, I could tell two of my six pitches were absolute duds and dropped them. I then noticed one sale pitch was performing better than the remaining four. I began to focus on that sales pitch to find out why it performed better, which lead to refining that particular sales technique to be as good as it could be.
Over time, I developed a process in which I could develop sales techniques that could sell in print, in person, on screen, and in email. I continue to use this process to ‘sell something’ every day. I’d love to put it to work for you, too.