If your business isn’t growing, you don’t have a business.
Bringing in new clients is an essential business activity if you are going to stay in business, but one that most business people loath.
They don’t like feeling like a “salesperson.”
I have good news: your prospect doesn’t like to be “sold” to either!
You can sign up new clients without selling them on you or your business. All you have to do is change the way you think about selling.
New Thinking = New Results
Here are 7 ways to change how you think about the sales process.
1. Stop the sales pitch. Start a conversation.
When you meet someone, never start out with a mini-presentation about yourself, your company, and what you have to offer.
Instead, start by getting to know this person as a person. Ask her what she does and really listen to her answer. Respond to her with curiosity and “can you tell me more about that?” Remember that people love to talk about themselves, especially to an interested audience.
2. Be of service.
While your companion talks, listen for clues that would indicate she may be experiencing a problem that you could help her with. Listen for problems that you solve directly in your business AND for opportunities to offer a referral.
Offer a resource, a bit of advice, or a referral, as appropriate. Put the benefit to your companion ahead of your own best interests.
Nobody likes to be sold to, but we all want help solving our problems. If people know that they can trust you to offer them sound advice – even when it doesn’t line your own pockets – they are likely to sign up with you when you offer them one of your solutions.
3. Have a follow-up system.
Maintain an open and helpful attitude even when your new connection says no to working with you right now by recognizing that not everyone you meet will be ready to move forward even when you offer the very best solution. Have follow-up systems in place so to maintain contact with everyone you meet.
And remember, even if this person never hires you, she may refer others to you. Treat everyone you meet as a valuable resource.
4. Stop wasting time pursuing people who aren’t a good match.
In a traditional approach to selling, you ask for the sale at the end of your presentation. This is the first opportunity the “prospect” has to say no to what you offer. You must present to a large number of people – and waste your time and theirs – in order to find one person who is a good fit for what you offer.
When you adopt the conversational approach to selling, you’ll discover that prospects that are not a good fit will end the conversation at the beginning, rather than the end. This leaves you more time to talk to people who are more likely to need your services.
4. Eliminate the idea of rejection.
Prospects don’t trigger rejection, you do! Rejection is a defensive reaction to something that you say or do and always stems from your hidden agenda of hoping to make a sale.
You can eliminate rejection forever simply by changing your focus. Instead of focusing on you and whether or not you “make” the sale, focus on the person in front of you. What is his biggest problem? How can you be of service? Keep your focus on helping your prospect to identify and solve their issues. When you project a helping attitude, your prospect is more likely to remain open to your suggestions.
Most traditional sales programs spend a lot of time focusing on “overcoming” objections, but these tactics only create more resistance in the mind of your prospect.
They also keep you from exploring or learning the truth behind what your prospects are saying.
You know that “I don’t have the money” isn’t the real reason someone says no to your offer. Rather, it’s easier than explaining why they really aren’t interested. Don’t try to counter this argument. Instead, shift to uncovering the truth behind it by replying, “If you had the money, would you be interested?” No matter what response you receive, use gentle, dignified language that invites people to tell you the truth about their situation without feeling you’ll use it to press for a sale.
7. Remain unattached to the outcome.
Whether or not someone chooses to work with you is not a criticism of you, your product/service, or your business. Recognize that just as there are ideal clients for you, there are ideal providers for your prospect. Give up trying to persuade. Let prospects feel they can choose you without feeling sold; give them room to say no and you just might find that they say yes.
Let go of the pressure to “make a sale” and focus on participating in a two-way conversation. You’ll feel better about contacting potential clients, you’ll enjoy the resulting conversations more, and you see better results.