How to make Selling a Priority
Selling is a marathon, not a sprint. Selling is a process – an often long and arduous one. The bigger the deal, the longer it takes and the more hoops you have to jump through. On the plus side, you’ll have more time to build a solid foundation for an enduring relationship. If you want to be the last one standing at the end, don’t push too hard in the beginning.
You’re always selling. Whether you’re pitching a new concept to investors, a potential partner to join you, or your board on a risky strategy, you’re more or less always selling something. And if you’re not aware of that, you’re not going to do the right thing to ensure your best chance of success. Truth is, even sales people spend more time selling their own company than their customers.
Don’t try too hard to relate personally. This is probably the biggest mistake small business people make. Sure, you want to build a relationship, but if you try to get too personal too quick, you risk appearing too eager, invading their personal space, or turning the other person off. Instead, pay attention and react to their cues, tone, and body language.
Don’t show off how smart you are. I’ve been guilty of this myself, but not intentionally. Oftentimes, in a transparent attempt to relate and maybe indicate we know what others are talking about, we come off like know-it-alls who love to fill the air with the sound of our own voice. The truth is the customer doesn’t care one bit about what you know. He just wants to know if you’ve got a solution to his problem. So listen.
Give a little, get a little. Selling is a game of give and take. If you do it right, you give a little, get a little, and repeat the process over and over. For example, after providing a general outline of your product, you might ask them to tell you about their product or company so you can determine if there’s a fit. If, on the other hand, you spill your guts all at once and they say “not interested,” you’ve provided a ton of information, gotten nothing in return, and possibly missed an opportunity to offer a customized solution.