Would you call yourself a sales person?
I have a little secret to share with you. We are all sales people. Whether you are a doctor, teacher, engineer, lawyer, or waitress, we are selling something every day of our lives. At interviews, we are selling our skills for the job; on dates, we are selling our personalities; when we have strong opinions, we try to sell them to people during debates. If you are a business owner, then your ability to sell all of the above, plus your product/service, becomes critical to your success.
Since selling plays such a vital role in our everyday lives, it’s worthwhile to spend some time developing our selling ability. Once we are able to master that, then it’s much easier to achieve our goals during each interaction (getting that job, getting a second date or sparking a relationship etc).
Speaking with a lot of women in business and fashion, I’m constantly being asked for tips on becoming better at networking and marketing – aka, how to be a better salesperson.
Here are some tried and true tips that you can easily implement on your road towards being a master of sales based on things I’ve picked up over the years and tips I’ve been taught.
Here are 5 tips to owning your selling game!
- Plan ahead & be organized – Why? Because it makes your life, business, and universe more manageable. Need to get a new client, or grow your business? Then you need a plan! Even if the plan ultimately doesn’t play out – the planning itself would have provided you with the mind set necessary to deal with what comes your way. No professional sports team would ever go out onto the court or field without a solid game plan and preparation if they want to win – so why would you?
- Let go of the fear – People have an inherent fear or speaking with strangers or networking. Most people will play a movie in their heads and determine their future even before they do anything. Do you find yourself assuming that someone at an event will brush you off, and as a result, you don’t approach them? If that’s ever happened to you, then you’ve just sabotaged yourself; you can’t make a sale if you don’t initiate. Unless you have a crystal ball, you can’t possibly know of all the different scenarios that can play out if you actually approach someone. Yes, one of those scenarios will always be rejection, but there is also a long list of positive outcomes where that person helps launch your career, becomes a lifelong friend, or becomes your romantic partner etc. Ask yourself if you’re willing to miss out on all those positive scenarios because of a small chance that you may get rejected. There is often very little downside risk to approaching someone, and a lot of upside potential.
- Know Your Audience & Context – Be mindful of the context of the conversation and if possible, do some research on the person you’re speaking with beforehand. It will determine how you phrase things, what you are saying, how you conduct your body language and what to wear. Try to be memorable. If you stand out, then what you are saying will not be forgotten! Ways to stand out: if you are able to research beforehand, then you have the advantage of knowing something about the person you’re speaking with and finding some common threads to establish a connection; wear something eye-catching that can spark a conversation; be generous with your complements; prepare some interesting stories/experiences you will talk about before the event. Think about someone who made an impression on you and try to figure out what made them stick out – and apply that to your own approach!
- Listening vs. Talking – Some of the best sales people I know are ones who do more listening than talking. When you listen, you are gathering information that can potentially help you in your goal (sell a product that solves a problem for the person; sell a service that can help the person; establish your experience and credibility if you’ve overcome an obstacle the person has brought up etc). You’d be surprised how much people are willing to disclose to you if you express a genuine interest in learning more. The more you know about someone or the situation, the easier it will be for you to build rapport and earn trust. Note: avoid turning the conversation into an interview. Always be willing to share some personal experiences or viewpoints relevant to what’s being discussed.
- Seal the Deal!– So you’ve effectively sold yourself/product/service to a new customer. Now what? A sale is not over until there’s a transaction! Just because someone says “I’m in!” or “Yes, I’d totally buy that” does not mean that they will follow through. So that means it’s your job to seal the deal even after you make the initial sale. Here is a quick check list for how to seal the deal: 1) Get the person’s contact information (email, number) 2) Send a follow up note referencing something you spoke about so they remember who you are 3) If they respond, end the next interaction by asking for the sale! (“So do you want to pay with credit or debit?” “Let’s schedule the first session then”)
We often categorize skills based on context and often forget that skills useful in our work lives are directly applicable to our personal non-work lives as well. Next time you’re talking with a friend or eves-drop on a conversation in a coffee shop, see if you can determine if someone is “selling” something – chances are, once you become more aware of it, you’ll start to see sales everywhere you go.
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