As an entrepreneur, you likely have a wide variety of tasks to deal with on a daily basis. You’re forced to handle every element of managing your small business, ranging from recruiting and hiring new employees to meeting with new clients and everything in between. Each day presents new challenges.
For many small business owners, the most aggravating of those challenges is making sales. Selling to people is a big hassle – it’s hard to impose on people and ask for their money without coming off as rude. There’s a fine line between being an effective businessperson and a shameless beggar. If you view sales as the least enjoyable part of your daily grind as an entrepreneur, you’re absolutely not alone.
The American Express OPEN Forum recently highlighted the importance of tackling one’s difficulties with making sales. It might not be any fun, but selling is obviously a vital part of making sure your business remains profitable. Brian Moran, publisher of At Home with Century 21 Magazine, writes that it’s important to improve in this area, even if you’re one of those people who dreads making sales pitches.
“Unfortunately for these entrepreneurs, selling is a necessary evil,” Moran writes. “Unless your product is so revolutionary that people are willing to line up at your door for it, you need to learn how to sell – otherwise, your days as a business owner are numbered. How can someone who either hates selling or doesn’t know how to sell learn the fine art of getting customers to say yes?”
There’s no easy way to overcome sales-phobia. Here are a few tips that might help, though.
Learn to face your fears
If you want to get over your fear of making sales, you need to become better at facing your fears in general. This is an acquired skill, but you can work gradually toward your goal by taking baby steps. Entrepreneur Magazine recommends doing one thing per day that you fear. No one’s asking you to jump out of a plane just for the thrill of it, but try doing something small. Simply by eating a food you don’t like, for example, you can train yourself to confront the fearsome elements in your life.
The best salespeople work tirelessly to make deals – perhaps to a fault. Sometimes, to close a sale, you’ll have to be so persistent that it draws criticism. You don’t want to badger people and invade their personal privacy, but that extra email or phone call might go a long way. It might annoy the recipient a little bit in the short term, but if you believe in your product, you know it’s worth it.
Get involved in others’ sales
If you’re not confident in your sales abilities, you might want to consider tagging along with an associate, shadowing them on their sales calls. By playing the “wingman” role, you can observe a few things and soak up some knowledge on how best to improve your own skills. Don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions if you’re unsure about something. The best way to become a better salesperson is to learn from the best.
Deliver exceptional customer service
The process of making a sale isn’t always complete once money and product have changed hands. Making the transaction itself is vital, but it’s equally important to provide good customer service after the fact. By ably handling any questions or concerns your customers might have, you can prove that you’re the real deal – a businessperson dedicated to providing the ultimate customer experience. This will help you improve the lifetime value of your customers.
Making sales is never easy, but it’s a hugely important part of your business. How have you improved your skills?