Guest post by Kyla Reed
How to Sell Almost Anything and Get Away With It.
In my last post, I addressed how to determine where your time goes and how to balance it across the different aspects of running a business.
With administrative tasks always in the overhang, sales can seem unimportant or even daunting. When this happens, it’s important to take a step back and re-evaluate.
WHY are you in business?
- Did you see a specific need in the market that you could fill? (Go, you!)
- Did you really want to see others succeed in business with your help? (Awesome!)
- Did you leave a previous job to pursue your passion? (That’s what I did.)
The truth is, on some level, you probably went into business because you love doing what you do. You’re passionate about it. You enjoy it. It doesn’t (always) make you want to pull your hair out.
Understandably, learning to sell your services requires a bit of finesse, strategy, and time. Half the trick to sales is telling your client what you’re passionate about and how they can benefit from it. While this can seem a little unnatural and uncomfortable at first, sales ultimately make your business…well…a business. Without sales, you just have a hobby.
So how do you increase sales?
Ahh, the question.
Selling is all about convincing people to see things the way you do and convincing them that what you have to offer is valuable and an asset to their business.
Selling shouldn’t be monotonous. Every client is a little different and every interaction requires your best judgement. While there isn’t one tried and true method for sales, there are certain steps that everyone should consider taking to land a really great sale.
The following are a few rules I live by in order to make quality sales leads that close and keep coming back for more:
Remember: you are the face of your brand. A little personality can go a long way, especially when you’re trying to sell your brand to a client. You are a living, breathing representation of your brand and its values, just like your client is a living breathing representation of their brand and its values. Ultimately, you’re forming a relationship centered around an exchange of goods and services. Sure, a potential client provides a sale, but you’re not doing business with a sale. You’re doing business with a person. I think whoever said “It’s not personal, it’s business” got it wrong. Business starts with being personal.
Following up and following through only makes the relationship flourish. No one wants to feel like they’re just a name on a list, so send that personally tailored email, pick up the phone, send a Christmas card (I’m not kidding, clients love it), and show a little appreciation. After all, you’re doing each other a favor by doing business with each other.
What does your client need/want? Before you give them a quote, before you write out a proposal, really take time to let the client educate you on what they need. Take notes! No seriously, take notes. After the client has communicated their needs, it’s so important to let them know that you actually heard them. Take a few minutes and re-tell them what they just told you. This allows you to get clarity on points you may have missed and paints you as someone who genuinely cares about fixing the problem.
Tell them about your business and how you can help. Let them know who you are, why you do what you do, what you’re passionate about, and how your business is different from others. Essentially, tell them why they should choose you. What can you bring to the table that other companies can’t? What are the unique ways that you can solve their problem?
But you can take it one step further. Paint yourself as a thought leader and educate prospects with quality content on topics they’d be interested in. This directly affects sales and gives value to the services you provide before a prospect even buys it. Proving value is half the battle of sales. So if you can show a client how you are a thought leader in your space, they are much more willing to trust and become brand fans. Want to learn more about this method? Check out this neat post.
Let your clients know exactly what you can offer them. Promising unrealistic deliverables is a surefire way to lose a client. Well-designed, well-thought out proposals and scopes of work are key in this stage. As you move forward with the sale, make sure that your client knows exactly what they’re paying for and how much they are paying for it. Keep the price fair, but know the value of your own work. Don’t underprice yourself…but don’t overprice yourself either.
Okay, okay. Upselling can be a little daunting. Take it from someone with years of sales experience: the key to upselling is showing your client how they can benefit from what you’re selling. A major part of upselling is building trust through honesty. Sounds simple enough, right? Your client is far more likely to consider and ultimately buy what you’re selling if they feel you value their best interests. Only push things you know your client needs or wants…it could end up in a great sale. Be friendly and honest, but learn to take no for an answer.
Learning to sell like a pro takes time and practice. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t land that big sale right away. Each person sells a little differently, but in the end, you have to find the method that works best for you and your business. Learn from prospects you didn’t land and the clients that you did. At the risk of this sounding like the most cliche pep talk ever: You CAN do it!
Kyla is a writer and blogger who comes from a B2C background in the fashion industry. She is a Content Writer and Blog Manager at DO | Creative Content Marketing based in Atlanta, Georgia and is experienced in sales, direct marketing, and management.