Not Enough Hours In The Day!
When we have businesses that require that we spend 1:1 time with clients, it’s so easy to find that all of our time is taken with working in the business and nothing is spent working on our business.
If I could only have a penny for every businesswoman who has told me that she just doesn’t have time for sales and marketing, because her day is full of client-facing work….. (more…)
I Feel Pushy!
A very common response to my question ‘what don’t you like about selling?’ is ‘I just feel so pushy’. That’s often added to with something along the lines of that the speaker is a quiet person, or shy, or doesn’t have the ‘gift of the gab’. I’m going to tell you why you just don’t need to feel pushy.
If you know who your ideal client is, you know who your product or service is perfect for and who will be happy to pay the price without quibbling. You’ll also be very aware of why your product or service is perfect for them and so by the time you reach the fourth stage of the 5-Step Blueprint, you’ll be able to tell them, very succinctly why they need your product; what’s in it for them. (You don’t have the 5-Step Sales Blueprint? Click here to rectify that!)
Why People Buy Things
The fourth stage of my 5-Step Blueprint is Offer. This is where you have already got yourself in front of your client/customer and you are talking to them about exactly what your product can do for them. You’re not giving them a verbal rendition of your CV, because frankly, they’re not interested. You’re not telling them about your many, many years of experience/research/knowledge either, because again, they don’t care. Customers are extremely selfish beings. We are all extremely selfish when it comes to buying things. We buy for two reasons:
1) To solve a problem
2) To fulfill a need
If your product or service does one of these two things for them, you’re onto a winner. If you can tell them in a few short sentences exactly how it does this, better still. Customers want to hear what’s in it for them, not about you. They want to know how much easier/cleaner/safer/more beautiful etc their lives will be because of your product.
Be Customer Focused
When we’ve poured our lives into something, spent hours and hours studying and learning something or lots of time creating something, we feel almost maternal about our offering and we want to give our clients the provenance of our product or service. It almost feels rude not to. We want to explain every nuance and detail, because we love it. That’s good; we are supposed to love it. Even so, even though we are passionate about the thing we are offering for sale, we must remember that selling is an ‘other people focused’ game. The client/customer doesn’t feel the same familial attachment to our offering (not yet, anyway). What they want to know is ‘so what?’ They want to know what’s in it for them.
The best way to tell them what’s in it for them is to stop thinking about you and that you want, and start to put yourself into your customer’s shoes. Answer the questions that you know they have, before they ask them; you know, of course, because they are your ideal customer. Explain to them why this product/service is exactly the solution they need to the problem that you know they have.
When you do this, all of a sudden, you’re not worrying about yourself and how you feel, you’re worrying about your client and how they feel. And guess what? They don’t feel pushy, so neither will you.
I love it when I hear of a new reason why someone hates selling.
I’ve given up saying that I’ve heard every reason in the book, because there are often new ones popping up. One explanation for why she knows she is rubbish at selling came from a woman who is a fine artist. She paints in watercolours and her pictures are beautiful. She was a participant in a short workshop that I was delivering on how to sell. I always start these workshops with a quick introduction session. This is where the participants can tell me who they are and what their business is. Participants usually feel that they have to tell me that they are lousy at selling too.
There were 18 participants in this particular workshop and when I came to the woman in question, she explained that she can’t sell and in fact has never been able to sell. When I asked her why she thought this, she told me that she knew she couldn’t sell; after all, she’d been fired from Country Casuals when she was 16 for her lack of sales prowess.
Hanging On To ‘Proof”
This statement illustrates some very interesting things;
- Whatever the reason for losing her job at 16 (and let’s face it, most of us managed to get fired from a job when we were kids), it wasn’t anything to do with selling. If you think about it, a 16 year old employed at Country Casuals isn’t employed for their sales ability, are they? They are employed because they are fit and able. There is always lots of cleaning, tidying and stock-shifting to be done in a fashion outlet. I would imagine that the Country Casuals customer is an older woman, with a good idea of what suits her and a desire to look well-groomed. I don’t suppose for a minute that the views or sales skills of a 16 year old girl would influence the buying decision of that customer.
- If we have an ‘anchor’ to support our beliefs, we can hang on to those beliefs and use them to justify our actions (or lack of them). Our artist didn’t want to sell. She could support her lack of sales of her paintings by reinforcing her belief in her lack of skill. She constantly referred to the ‘proof’ she had from when she was 16.
- There is a widely-held view that being good at sales is an innate talent and is the reserve of the confident, chatty (‘gift of the gab’), outgoing people. This belief is held, in the main, by those who don’t consider themselves to be confident, chatty or outgoing. Our artist friend falls firmly into the quietly spoken and ‘a bit shy’ category.
I Hate Selling!
Interestingly, I have found that businesswomen often hate selling. Women who have new businesses frequently tell me that they hate selling. Even those who are apparently successful with businesses that turn over 6-figure+ sums often hate selling. These same businesswomen are usually very, very good at what they do. Whether their business is in its infancy or is well established, when they talk about their particular area of expertise, they become animated and confident. Businesswomen can wax lyrical about what they do for as long as one is prepared to stand and listen. It’s unusual, I’ve found, to find a woman who has a small business that they don’t feel passionate about.
With all this passion floating around, these women should be brilliant at selling, but there are so many complicated reasons why they are not.
I’m going to look at why businesswomen hate selling and give you good reasons why they don’t need to.
Believe You’re Good Enough?
One of my clients is a woman who makes gorgeous things and sells them (actually, that describes quite a few of my clients). This woman, let’s call her Jane, undertakes commissions and it was a conversation about a particular commission that got me thinking. The commission hadn’t been turning out as our heroine wanted it too and she had repeatedly ‘gone back to the drawing board’. Finally, and in a fit of desperation, she said ‘This isn’t working out the way I want it to, because I’m not good enough. There, I’ve said it!’. (more…)
I am a saleswoman. I sell stuff and I teach others how to sell stuff. I love what I do and I’m good at it. Every now and again, I get clients who ask me what the difference is between sales and marketing. It’s a good question… (more…)