The Secret To Selling
I know that selling can make women feel really wobbly. I know, because I talk to lots of lovely businesswomen all the time. They all have fantastic businesses with wonderful products and services and they just love talking about them. It gets a bit sticky when we talk about selling though.
Every small business woman I know (apart from those who belong to The Accountability Club) thinks that there is a sales secret that they don’t know. That if they just knew what that one thing was, that they could magically get their customers to buy from them. They know that their product or service can do wonderful things for their customers. If only they had enough customers for it to do wonderful things for!
Even today, there are small business owners who subscribe to the ‘build it and they will come’ philosophy. (Field of Dreams was released in 1989 you know. I’m so OLD!) Here’s the rub; they won’t. They can’t come if you don’t know that you’re there and that’s where selling comes in.
The secret to selling is that there isn’t a secret.
I’ve written about sales and marketing and the difference between them before, so I’m not going to go into it again here. Suffice it to say that for the purpose of this blog, I’m going to use the term ‘sales’ to mean ‘attracting customers and selling to them’. (You can check out my previous blog post on the difference between sales and marketing here.)
What Is A Sale?
A sale isn’t the beginning of the relationship with your customer
You know those dreadful individuals who join a lovely Facebook group you belong to and then immediately start spamming the group with invitations to buy their product? Well, they are the ones who just don’t realise that the sale isn’t the beginning. They’re a nightmare and they are the type of pushy, spammy sales horrors that we just don’t want to be. I certainly don’t want to be someone that people think ‘Oh crikey – it’s her again’ whenever I post!
A sale isn’t the end of the relationship with them either.
You don’t want to become known as the one who flogs something and then buggers off! We’ve all had that happen, right? Either something goes wrong, or we want another product and the salesperson is nowhere to be found. Bad news and not conducive to repeat business.
A sale IS the relationship.
Sales don’t happen by praying, or wishing, or hoping or crossing your fingers or any other non-proactive route. Sales happen on purpose.
How To Make Sales Happen
- You need to start by stoking the interest of the people who are most likely to buy from you. That’s your Perfect Customer (or Ideal Customer). Again, I’ve written about Perfect Customers before, so check out my previous stuff here – it’s a video actually.
- Then, once you know who your Perfect Customer (PC) is – both online and offline – you can then be where they are. If you are where they are, they are far more likely to see you. If you sit at home/in your office/shop or wherever and just hope, you have a lot less of a chance of them seeing you. This sounds obvious doesn’t it, but you’d be surprised…
- Once you are where your PC is, then you can start a dialogue with them. You can find out what they need (you already know, so you’re going to come across as perfectly in tune with them). Then you can explain to them how your product or service can fill the need they have, or solve their problem. This is the beginning of the relationship.
- When finally, they understand about your fabulous product or service and want to buy from you, this is the relationship blossoming.
- Now they’ve tried your product or service and loved it, because it does indeed solve their problem or fulfill their need, then they will come back to you again and again.
How To Keep A Potential Customer Happy
To keep yourself front-of mind, the canny businesswoman collects email addresses and sends out a
regular newsletter. It doesn’t have to be every week like I do, it can be every couple of weeks, or once a month; but it should happen. If you send out something useful in an email, your PC will read
it and remind themselves of how great your product or service was, even if they didn’t buy from you
at the time. This is still part of you building and maintaining a relationship with your lovely customer.
There’s nothing magical about selling, once you understand how it works.