When small business owners and entrepreneurs are asked to define what makes a successful business owner, or a successful company, what kind of a list do you suppose they come up with? How many, do you think, are putting the ability to sell on their lists? Sadly, too few. The hard truth that many small business owners refuse to accept is that they are sales people first. Everything else is a distant second.
- Most business owners traditionally don’t know a thing about sales and this is the number one reason most businesses fail. It’s not a lack of capital or a flawed product or service. It is the inability of the business owner to be able to sell the product or service they are offering.
- Everything in business is sales. It is the only reason you are even in business. If you don’t have the skills to sell, you might as well close up shop and head back to cubicle world. You must develop the skills and bring in people who have the skills to make your company grow and thrive.
- Perhaps the biggest mistakes most small business owners make is thinking that it’s all about their product or service. What it is really all about is solving a potential customer’s problem. That’s it. You exist to solve their problems. Discovering why your customer’s are actually coming to you is the key to your success. You can talk all day long about how wonderful your product or service is but if it isn’t going to solve someone’s problem, you’re not going to sell anything.
- Forget a script or a presentation. Focus on your customer. Get to know them and their business. Try and uncover why they have come to you and not one of your rivals. Find out what is giving them pain. Only then can you shape a strategy designed toward relieving their pain.
- It’s really not about the cost despite what everyone might have you believe. Introduce your pricing to the customer early on so that they know what they are looking at. In the end, however, if your customer realizes that you, and you alone, can solve their problem and relieve their pain, they will, likely, pay whatever you are asking. It’s all about building trust and confidence. People will buy from people they like and trust.
- Developing the skills needed to be successful at sales is the most important thing you can do to assure your company’s future. Know the rules and understand the concepts and then practice, practice, practice. Many a brilliant entrepreneur has failed, not because their product or service wasn’t innovative or remarkable, but because they had no people skills and no understanding of the sales process and the skill to consistently pull it off.
-Written by Kevin Sawyer