I love both these expressions! If you are in business, if your business is to be successful, you can’t keep it a secret. A business which is kept secret is a business doomed for failure. A prospective client recently called business promotion as ‘peacocking’. Maybe this makes you uncomfortable? Well – I’ll be blunt – too bad! Does the beautiful peacock flaunting its colourful feathers get the attention of the hen? Yes! Equally, you want to get the attention of your prospects. Hiding, being shy or conservative (or whatever you want to call it) is keeping your business a secret. It’s hard to sell a business or product or service which is a well-kept secret. Be assured your competitors are quite happy to ‘peacock’.
Here is a bit more on why some of us seem to hold back when it comes to selling (and consequently growing our business).
In my opinion, one of the top reasons why people fear the idea of selling is really psychological. It is a sentiment that is associated with the sales stigma. The sales stigma unfortunately involves the feeling of butterflies tingling in our stomach, sweating of our palms and the explosion of all sorts of negative thoughts in our minds. You say ‘sales’ and the thought of that untrustworthy, pushy comes to mind. They even have this big word “dirty” for sales. Conceivably, the idea that sales are a bad thing originates from the misconception that sales people are always the aggressive, deceitful, and commission-focused reptiles. Most sales people are lovely and helpful people. Selling is actually about education. We are educating our prospects as to why they need or want our product or service, how we can help them and the features of our products or services. We are providing our prospects with a solution! The sooner you come to accept that you are in the business of providing solutions, rather than selling, you will be better off. As I speak, I often ask a room full of business owners “who here is a salesperson?” and sadly few put up their hands. If you are in business, you are a salesperson!
Fear of Rejection
Perhaps, just like in almost all human-related situations, the fear of rejection is the top concern to all terrors connected with sales. None of us likes to be rejected. We want to be accepted and liked. Rejection can happen to everyone, especially on those dealing with sales. Firstly remember this, if someone says ‘no’ it is not personal. They are not rejecting you, but rather your product or service. Small business owners take it very personally, especially in the early years which does give them inner grief and turmoil. It’s not personal. The best thing to do is to face all of these possible rejections quick and with confidence. The more rejections you will face, the more you will get used to them and overcome them with self-assurance. Work on your objection handling processes and take objective note of why you missed the sale. Be honest, were you ‘on your game’ that day, or distracted, or not well prepared. Learning from a negative outcome is very powerful.
May I say this, if you are absolutely scared of sales and refuse to do it, may I suggest you either do not go into business or be prepared to immediately employ a good salesperson. In business, if you cannot sell, it’s incredibly hard to get income.
Fear of Annoying People
Another familiar reason why people are afraid of selling is the fear of peeving people. It is a common situation that some people will get wound up especially with pushy sales people. However, with businesses, it is our obligation to involve ourselves even with awkward conversations to every prospective client out there. The thing is to never back down in selling your products and convincing people to buy them from you. At the end of the day, if they were the right customer, they will even thank us for pushing them to try our products and services that works best with them. By selling, it means that you have to give factual and relevant information about the products and services and giving out wrong information can be damaging to the customer’s side as well as to the credibility of the seller.
The same principle applies with follow up. After a quote customers EXPECT you to follow up. They want you to. By not following up you are actually sometimes annoying them by forcing them to take the time to find the quote, chase you up and essentially do your job for you. As a sales person it’s YOUR job to follow up and make it as easy as possible for the client or customer to buy. Save me time by calling me, not making me have to remember (and make the time) to chase you!
What if I don’t make any money?
The apprehension of not making money is also a big issue why people dread the idea of selling. You may have heard or personally know sales people who did not earn and eventually went broke with their businesses, but it does not work that way with every single one. In sales, it’s a numbers game. The more leads you have, the better your conversion rate, the more meetings you have and hands you shake, the more clients and sales will you effect. Don’t focus on your projected income for the month but rather focus on the sale in front of you. Like I said, it’s a numbers game, so work the numbers and the bottom line will work out fine.
Image & Credibility
Another major reason that makes people fear sales is keeping their image and credibility. This is particularly because most people on the receiving end despise sales. Gone are the days when they always intend to win a sale, at whatever cost and most possibly act against the best interest of the customers. However, in these modern days, these money-driven kinds of sales people are already in danger of extinction . Gone are the days when the control balance between seller and buyer heavily favoured the one doing the hawking and is always one-sided because buyers have limited options. With the internet and access to knowledge, buyers are in the best position possible. There is no need to fear what others might think of you if you engage yourself in selling because it is a noble thing to do. Successful sales professionals are even considered one of the highest paid of all professionals.
Deal with and extinguish any self-doubt. In some of my client coaching and mentoring we address any feelings of inadequacy. Some clients wonder if they are good at what they do, deserve to sell their services or for that matter deserve the fee they are charging. I work with some clients I believe are undervaluing themselves in the marketplace and help them realise their full potential.
The best way to avoid looking stupid or inadequate is to properly educate yourself on everything about the product, gain great sales training, know how to handle objections and maintain your ethics. If the client isn’t right for your business or product (or rather the product isn’t right for them), then be honest, tell them that, refer them to a better option. Be ethical, be an expert and you will build a strong and first-rate reputation within your industry. Cast your selling fears away, spread the word, share the secret and have an amazing business.
When you need a business consultant rather than a coach, call me on 0411 622 666.