How to sell: A guide for those who feel uncomfortable about it.

All businesses need to sell their products or services to remain commercial. I’ve noticed several of my clients express unease about selling, so I thought I’d give a quick review of what’s involved, in the hope that it might allay some of their fears. There are some important steps to take for successful selling.

First, you must listen to your target and find out what they require. During a meeting or via social media, it’s possible to uncover lots about the needs of your target, if you ask open questions and listen to the answers carefully.

Second, you must research your target in order to understand them. Neither of these activities are pushy or intrusive. You can quietly put yourself into a position of strength.

Lastly, for those of you selling a service, it is critical to remember that most often, people buy people, not things. Remember to be authentic at all times, and honest. If it’s business to business selling (B2B), show that you’re interested in the target business; that’s where the research in preparation can deliver dividends. If you’re familiar with the target business, you can ask an astute question and simultaneously demonstrate your knowledge. I did a quick straw poll amongst my Facebook followers to discover whether they associate sales with flowers or snakes! Fortunately, the unanimous response was flowers. Selling is not an underhand, fraudulent, or sinister activity. It’s just a chance to get noticed, like a tall sunflower is saying, “pick me ” to all passing pollinators.

The Sales process

It’s possible to overcomplicate the sales process with models and diagrams, but I would avoid applying any theory to your own sales style. Just be yourself and remember that every interaction is a potential sales opportunity. If you have the correct solution for someone’s problem, you might be able to improve their life. So don’t be shy, be inquisitive and listen carefully. Introduce your solution at an appropriate juncture and, if your solution fits their need, they’ll ask, “how much would that be?”. Your main aim is to obtain a commitment to a future conversation. You don’t have to agree a deal on the spot. The most valuable sales can take time to be developed during an ongoing dialogue between buyer and seller. Most of all, I encourage you to enjoy the sales process; think of it as a chance to spread some joy. Think of yourself as a tall flower, not a snake. Don’t be fearful of sales.

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