107: How to organize and focus sales conversations
Listen to the podcast:
How to organize and focus sales conversations
Read the episode transcript:
That’s right, it’s time to talk about sales! For many solos, this is one of the more dreaded parts of business: selling. But before I get into this episode’s nuggets of wisdom, I want to remind you of a few things. Make sure you’re giving what I’m about to say to you your full attention.
You are fabulous. You are creative. You have grown over the years into an experienced, knowledgable expert in your area. You created your own business, and that’s amazing. You take care of your clients and the people around you in a smart, intuitive and professional manner. You help your clients solve their biggest problems and achieve the goals that are most important to them. You are kind, friendly, fun and a pleasure to work with. You deliver way more value than your fees command. You stick by your clients over the long term and give them confidence to reach new heights. You help your clients in ways they didn’t expect and they’re filled with deep appreciation for who you are and what you’ve helped them make possible in their lives.
Let that sink in. Everything I just said to you is true. Everything I just said has the potential to be true. If any of what I just reminded you of did not sit right, take a closer look at why. Reframe it so it does resonate with you, or, reframe your “story” about it if it doesn’t.
The Simplify & Multiply show is not all how-to’s. It’s how to become you. It’s how to be the best version of yourself. It’s how you can cultivate and allow your true self to blossom. You have the ideal platform to do it, too: YOUR BUSINESS! What better way to showcase your passions, talents and skills than through your work? It’s a place you can be free to express your passion, position your focus and make a stand for who you serve and why you serve them. I can’t think of a more elegant way to express all of that than through a business. Aren’t we lucky? Aren’t we blessed that we chose to take a bold step into entrepreneurialism to do what we are called to do? I believe so, and I hope you believe it too.
I found that my biggest obstacle to prospecting and having sales conversations to grow my business was getting my head right about it first. I spent so much time resisting doing it, worrying that I’d be “bothering somebody,” that it left me paralyzed and not making any sales. My business started to really suffer as a result until I committed myself to changing what I was doing—or wasn’t doing as it were. I worked super hard to overcome my resistance and fear around doing that outreach. But once I did—once I got past my own self-imposed barriers, I not only had the sales conversations but I actually started enjoying them. Now I’m at the point where I love talking to prospects and finding out how I can help them. Every day I get to meet new people and learn more about what marketing challenges they have and how to help them. Sometimes just offering a simple idea provides them relief and they become a friend. Because I shifted my approach to selling, I started having great outcomes and continue to get the job done.
So if you’re becoming the best version of you, why is sales still a struggle? What is it about selling that challenges you? Sales is a big topic, and I plan to chip away at it throughout forthcoming episodes of the Simplify & Multiply show. I promise you, if you keep listening, before long, you’re going to love selling so much, that you’ll hire a team to do all the client work and you’ll be the one out there doing the selling! Well, you might not love selling that much. After all, you love your work, right? Okay. So to start chipping away, I want to focus on the organization and focus part of sales conversations, not necessarily the actual conversations you’ll be having. At least not yet.
Here are ten actionables that will help you organize and focus your sales conversations.
These actionables are to help you organize and focus your sales conversations and they all focus on before you get on the phone or meet with a prospect. Good preparation is 99% of the sales process.
Create space on your calendar. Block off space every weekday to have sales conversations. Grant yourself permission to love your business enough that you take the actions that actually build business, build revenue and keep your pipeline filled.
Respect sales conversations. Don’t look at selling as a distasteful practice. Respect the process of connecting with another person to see how you can help them, even if it’s just brightening their day or telling them about a cool resource that has nothing to do with your business.
Reframe selling to serving. This is a big one that helps people who feel that they are being “pushy” or “salesy” or “Hey, buddy, wannabuyawatch?” in their selling approach. When you look at what you’re doing as serving as opposed to selling, your entire attitude will shift and it will become easier. If you were at the grocery store and someone was having trouble reaching a product on a high shelf that you could easily reach, you’d get it for them, wouldn’t you? Sales can be like that. Be of service and you’ll be more comfortable with your sales conversations.
Get clear on your awesomeness. Listen to the beginning of this episode again to hear my reminders of how awesome you are. Write out your own “I’m awesome” list to remind yourself how powerful and smart you are. Remind yourself how much value you bring to your clients. Remind yourself how many people out there really, really need your help, but just don’t know about you yet. Until it becomes second nature, make this a writing exercise you do for five minutes before each sales conversation session.
Focus on the end result. Why are we having sales conversations? Because we want to grow our business and earn more revenue. It’s that simple. If you don’t have sales conversations, you won’t get clients or engagements. If you don’t get clients or engagements, you won’t have revenue coming into your business. If you don’t have revenue coming into your business, you will be out of business quickly. That’s reality. Focus on the outcome—each conversation could result in a new client you can serve and earn fees from. Each conversation could also build a relationship that will lead to future referrals.
No may mean not now. Many people fear sales because they fear rejection. The dreaded “NO.” And yeah, you’ll get some no’s, you may even get some people hanging up on you. That’s the world we live in. Hopefully you don’t experience that that often, though. But reframe NO to more than likely mean, NOT NOW. I have had many people who have said “NO” to me in early conversations to only come back months or even years later with a “YES.” Timing is a large component of successful sales, that’s why knowing the length of your typical sales cycle will help you manage your own expectations on securing new business.
Prospect thoughtfully. Don’t just randomly call up a lead. Spend time prospecting carefully so you know enough about who you are calling to sound like you’ve put some time in. Nothing irks me more than a person calling me to sell me janitorial services. I work from home people! Or someone will call me to sell me something sort of related to what I do, yet they know nothing about my business and that I am not their target market. Don’t be that person. Do your homework, prospect thoughtfully and when you get to that sales conversation, you’re 99% ahead of the rest of your competitors because you’ve done your research on that person. Everything is online, so go make use of it to your benefit. Don’t waste their time trying to ask them a thousand questions because you haven’t done your research. Be smart about it, and you’ll impress the heck out of them.
Use your CRM tool. This is a big hairy no brainer. If you’re reaching out to 10, 20 or even 50 people a day, you have to stay on track with your outreach activity. The best way to do that is with a Customer Relationship Management, or CRM, tool. I talked about this in the episode before this, episode 106, so make sure you give that a listen if you haven’t already. Your CRM tool will save you hours and hours of work, and also save you face because you’ll have records of every conversation and every detail about that prospect.
Stay dedicated. It’s pretty easy to backslide on your daily prospecting and sales conversations when you start to get busy with work. I got caught in this trap more times than I’d like to admit because in the early years of my business, I did everything. I got busy with work and the money started coming in because I was busy, and I totally slacked off on my rainmaking. When the work slowed back down, I had to scramble to get more work. For the solopreneur, this is a delicate balance you must work hard to maintain. By setting aside sales outreach time in every weekday, you will avoid this pitfall and keep your pipeline to capacity.
Reward yourself. Sales is hard. Sales takes time. Sales requires the right mental outlook. Sales demands time and patience. When you commit to making prospecting and sales part of every day, you are outperforming most of the other business owners out there competing for the same clients and engagements that you are. Reward yourself for caring for your business enough to do the hard things that you don’t want to do to keep your business growing. Your business deserves it and so do you!
Implement some or all of these actionables on a daily basis and watch how fast selling becomes your friend. Isn’t it interesting how much of this is about getting your head right about it before you ever have the conversation? I’ll be doing a lot of shows on selling and having the actual conversations and help you become a selling ninja!