Many people are terrified of sales, or worse, they feel as if sales is somehow less than honorable, an ignoble profession. Just the thought of “selling” makes them squirm. They literally want to sink through the floor and disappear at the thought of putting themselves “out there” asking people to spend money on the product or service they offer.
Why is this?
Unfortunately, “selling” has received a bad rap because of some of the high-pressure sales tactics of the past, designed to manipulate people into making decisions they didn’t really want to make in the first place.
Sales, at its best, is not about selling, it is about creating an environment in which people want to buy. It is about facilitating a decision-making process that helps people make well-informed decisions they will be happy they made for years to come.
Sales is not about selling. It is about creating an environment in which people want to buy.-Hannah Bratterud
Often, salespeople feel an enormous amount of pressure – pressure to meet a sales goal so they can keep their job and feed their family, pressure to stay in business, pressure from a boss, a spouse, or from themselves. When we transfer this kind of pressure onto others, in this case customers or would-be customers, bad things can happen.
Nobody likes pressure. And, nobody likes to feel as if they are being sold to.
But, we all like to buy things.
Buying is powerful. Buying puts us in the driver’s seat, it puts us in control. When sales is done well, your client stays in control of their own decision, but you, the seller, control the process by which you help them make that decision.
Here is the thing: selling is one of the most natural behaviors for us human beings. We engage in sales-like activities all the time. We excitedly tell people about a new product we discovered, or event we went to. We try to convince our parents to adopt some kind of meaningful change in their lives. We schedule a meeting and prepare an agenda for the discussion. We negotiate with our children at bedtime. We ask someone out on a date, and maybe, eventually, even to marry us.
All of these are elements of the selling process: influencing, problem solving, negotiating and closing.
Your job is not to try to control people. You don’t even have much control over sales outcomes. What you can control, however, are the actions you take, and the process you use for getting results. By focusing on the process rather than the outcomes, you begin to take meaningful action toward growing your revenue and creating real results in your business.
In this article, you will learn tips for how to:
- Identify the market you serve, and your ideal customers
- Review the tools that help you run your sales business effectively
- Create a list of prospects to kick off your outbound sales campaign
The Multiplier Sale© Step 1: PRIORITIZE
If everything is a priority, nothing is a priority.-Unknown
Before you start actually selling something, it is important to identify exactly who you should sell to, and why. If “everyone” is a potential target client, then nobody is a real target. Almost of equal importance is identifying who NOT to sell to, because that will help you disqualify potentially unprofitable business, or business that is otherwise misaligned with your values and goals. The first meaningful action to take in the sales process, is therefore to prioritize your business by clearly identifying “best fit” potential buyers from “not a fit” would-be buyers.
Not everyone is a good fit for your product or service, and not every transaction makes good business sense. Being crystal clear about exactly who is your “sweet spot” type of client will help you create a plan for what types of potential clients you want to target, and how to attract them into your business.
Having a plan is essential to creating results, and so is having the right tools to be able to execute effectively on that plan.
Begin prioritizing your business by identifying ideal prospective clients, sharpening the tools you use in your sales effort, and creating a list of possible target customers.
Establish Priority: Identify Your Ideal Client
So, how do you prioritize your business?
With so many possible options, how do you narrow down your choices? How do you know who to focus on and what types of clients to go after? Why might one prospect be a better fit than another?
Remember, if everything is a priority, nothing is a priority.
How would you describe your “sweet spot” customer or client?
Begin by considering the market you serve best, and what types of companies would represent a “best fit” for your business. Then, consider what types of people within those companies would be the potential decision makers or decision influencers for your type of product or service. (If your business is more of a B2C nature rather than B2B, focus on the right-hand column).
|For companies, consider the following factors:||For individuals, consider the following factors:|
Company size (revenue/employees)
Number of locations
Local, regional, national, global?
Stage in life
Which of these factors are important to consider for your business?
Once you have a clear picture and have narrowed down your focus, write a brief description of your ideal target company, and the ideal target decision maker for the type of product or service you offer.
Know Your Tools
To effectively execute your sales strategy, you need the right tools for the right job. It might be beneficial to think through the tools you are currently using. Which kinds of tools should you add to your toolbox? Are there specific tools you need extra training or support on to utilize effectively?
What tools do you or your company currently have at your disposal?
Below, I have listed a few different types of tools you may be using, or might consider using in your sales business.
Lead Generation Tools
- Social media outlets
- Marketing/email campaign software
- Search and contact lookup tools
- Analytics tools
Customer Relationship Tools
- Customer relationship management (CRM)
- Quoting/pricing tools
- Phone/web/video collaboration
Additional / Enterprise Tools
- Training and digital courses
- Learning management system (LMS)
- Enterprise resource management (ERP)
- Accounting tool
Think about the 3-5 tools you use the most.
- Are you using them effectively?
- Are there other tools you should or could be using or using more effectively?
- Why are you not utilizing them?
Also consider whether you need additional training on any of these tools. If so, what would that look like? At what point should you hire a professional coach or trainer, or enrolling in a digital course to learn how to become more effective at using these tools?
Create a List of Prospects
OK, enough theory. It is time for action!
To get started on your prospecting strategy, start compiling a list of all possible prospects within your sweet spot segment – think broadly: niche, industry, geography, and company size. Aim for 25 to 50 possible sweet spot “targets” on your initial list.
Build your list either in your existing CRM or, to get started, you can use a simple spreadsheet to begin tracking prospecting activity. If you wish, you can download this easy sheet to get you started (save a copy to your own Google Drive before filling it out).
Further Reading – if you would like to dig deeper, consider these books:
- To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others by Daniel H. Pink
- The Science of Selling: Proven Strategies to Make Your Pitch, Influence Decisions, and Close the Deal by David Hoffeld
Subscribe and stay tuned for the next installment in The Multiplier Sale© series: CONNECT with Authenticity and Purpose. The second article in this series focuses on messaging and ways to connect authentically with prospects.