Do you fear, hate or avoid selling?
In the past three years, I have worked with a number of businesses and clients from all sizes of company and all industries. Whilst the companies and people differ, one thing is constant for nearly every single person I have met since starting my consultancy: most people fear, hate or avoid selling.
And if you're reading this, I'm guessing it may resonate with you too.
So why is it that one of THE most important things we need to do to not only grow our business but survive is something that we actively avoid.
We know the cliche that 'everything in life is selling' and that 'selling is the lifeblood of your business' but there is a fundamental issue that's holding you back and it's not going away. The issue comes down to confidence - there are 4 things you need to master in order to make any progress when you sell.
If you don't know what to say, how to say it, who to speak with or when to speak with them, then you will find selling an uncomfortable, uphill battle.
If selling is so important, why do we find it so difficult?
Good question. This is simply answered and when you think about it, quite obvious and logical. Firstly, let's check a Google image search of what a salesman (or woman) looks like:
Do you see anything aspirational there? Anything that makes you feel good about selling? No. I didn't think so...
Let me ask you a question: have you ever had a great experience with a salesperson? Or do you always feel like they are pushing you and their agenda?
You can see where this is going... The problem for most people is that they have two ways to approach selling:
- Model the poor behaviour you have seen
- Go it alone and find what works
The problem here is that modelling the behaviour you see and trying to be a 'Salesperson' means you think you have to be pushy, persuasive and 'salesy' - which makes you feel incongruous and uncomfortable. You adopt 'Selling Mode':
If you go it alone, it can be easy to lose your way as you need a system or process to follow - just what are you supposed to say and do to sell? And how long can you last without selling or dealing with rejection before you try to model the poor behaviour you have seen...?
Whether you model behaviour and feel 'salesy' or go it alone and chance it, you will likely yield poorer results than you would like which feeds into your identity that you're not a salesperson. The issue with selling confidence comes down to mindset. It's time to reset how we feel about selling to free us to get better at it.
How can you feel more confident when you sell?
There are a few simple things you can change almost immediately to feel not only more comfortable about selling, but to actually change your performance and effectiveness:
a. Understand the basics
The first thing to understand is that selling is just a conversation with money at the end. It's about good communication and finding a connection point - not techniques and trickery. When you realise that selling is all about giving people the information and opportunity they need to make the best decision for themselves, you allow yourself to be freed of the pressure to 'close' and focus on communication.
b. Focus on value over price
If selling is a conversation with money at the end, it makes sense that money is causing you to be nervous and making things more complicated than they need to be. To help with this and to create a more engaging connection with your buyer, it's important to focus on demonstrating the value you provide by focussing on the destination, not the journey. When you focus on what you deliver and what that means for your buyer, rather than what it costs, it reminds all parties why you are having the conversation in the first place.
c. Understand that your clients can sense your lack of confidence
Emotional contagion is a real thing and it's costing you business. If you lack confidence when you sell, then your clients will feel it.. Don't believe me? Have you ever been around sad people and felt sadder? Been around happy people and been lifted? Been around stressed people and felt more stressed? We have mirror neurons that sense and mirror the energy around us, it seems like an 'out there' concept, but it’s very, very real. If you aren't confident when speaking with potential clients, they will sense it and they won't have confidence in you and your offering.
d. DO NOT PUSH YOUR CLIENTS
Yes, you need to ask questions and take control of the conversation, but you need to fundamentally understand that you can't push the sale, you can only give people the information and opportunity they need to buy. When you feel the need to push, divert that energy into finding more prospects, not pushing those you are already speaking with. I call this 'Don’t chase them. Replace them.'
e. Always lead with value
Too many salespeople enter the conversation thinking about what they can take, not what they can give. Leading with value and looking to help and serve others may seem selfless, but it can lead to generating more business, goodwill and attention by return. What tips, resources or advice could you offer your potential clients that would cost you nothing, but be of real value?
The issue of confidence is one that dictates many people’s sales performance. We have been mis-sold a vision of what selling 'should be' and that negative stereotype only serves to hold you back.
Learning how to sell more confidently can have a profound impact on your business and your life - not just how much money you make.
It all starts with focussing on communication, seeking to serve and never applying pressure or seeking to persuade others, knowing that you can put that energy into finding an endless number of new prospects.
THAT is how you start to truly overcome the issue of confidence in selling.