Sales is often seen as the DREADED part of running a business. Who wants to be sold to? How annoying are pushy sales people? Both of these I agree with…. I loath it when you feel like all somebody is making friends with you for is to sell something to you for their best interest.
However, being a decent sales person is crucial to running nearly any business. When you get good at it, selling can feel wonderful. I’ve worked in sales for the bulk of my career, so far. Selling advertising space, tech software to now selling consulting services along with some smaller sales jobs: selling hummus, working for a coconut water brand, selling high end seminar tickets and various referral schemes .
The strange this is that I absolutely love it. From building long term relationships with interesting businesses to the buzz of closing a deal to seeing what you’ve delivered to a company really changing how they operate, and making an impact on their bottom line. Maybe I’m a little strange 😉
Here I am sharing with you some Do’s and Don’ts I’ve learnt during my sales career to date, which I hope you may find useful:
- DO have your pricing clearly set out – have a simple pricing structure which you can easily articulate to anybody who asks. You should easily be able to send your costs overover in an email and somebody could easily comprehend how your pricing works.
- DO market research. Understand what others offer and price themselves at in your industry. Is their offering remarkably different? What makes them special? What do you have to offer which is even more impressive? Also carry our market research to understand whether people actually want what you have to offer… or is it something slightly different? For example when I was planning for my first yoga retreat, I interviewed 30 people in my target audience and built my retreat purely around this research into understanding what people want from a retreat, pricing etc.
- DO ask your prospective clients a tonne of questions. Get to know them. Make them feel loved. Understand their challenges… then you are able to make a reccomendation for how what you offer can help them or recommend where they could find what they are looking for elsewhere if you can’t provide it.
- Do establish the simple but most important BANT early on (budget, authority, need and timeliness)
Budget: do they have the amount needed to pay for your offering?
Authority: are they the decision maker? If not, who is? and how can you get in front of them?
Need: is what you offer actually what they are looking for? If not, don’t try and push your offering, instead guide them elsewhere. Who knows, this could be a way of developing trust and they will recommend you to those who DO need your product/service in the long term
Timeliness: when are they looking to purchase? Can you speed this up? Does it fit with your time frames too?
- DO ask your clients for feedback and testimonials – make this a habit not an exception.
- DO ask for referrals – for me personally this has been the most powerful way of gaining new business. It doesn’t need to be pushy, just a simple and honest, ‘Julia, I’m trying to grow my business and would love if you have anyone in your network who you could reccommend me speaking to that may also be looking for yoga classes.
- DO Carry business cards with you – I chat to people at the gym and in cafes (two of my favourite networking spots!) and I’ve built up a great network from these two places
- DO network – attend events and build up your sales pipeline from this
- DON’T go ahead with an idea just because you think it is fantastic. Do your market research first. Test the idea! Does it sell? If yes, then scale it. If no, then refine.
- DON’T be shy about asking your prospective customers questions and for help.
- DON’T bad mouth your competitors…. ever! It puts you in a bad light. Make friends with your competitors. Who knows how you may be able to help each other out in the future. If what you offer is needed enough then it is likely you can both succeed and grow the overall market together.
- DON’T negotiate your pricing. Do you believe you are worth the amount you charge? I hope this answer is ‘absolutley’. and if so, this is what you are worth so showcase the value you can offer, rather than the discount you can offer!
- DON’T let opportunities slip by – make a note of people or businesses interested in your services and also diarize times for checking in on them – are they still interested in what you have to offer.
- DON’T sell yourself short. If somebody is wanting something last minute which will involve you going hugely out of your way and spending more time than usual on it and there is little likelihood for further spend from this client – is it really worth your time?
Please let me know your thoughts and anything else you think I should add to this list. Happy selling!