Whether you love or loathe the idea of selling, there’s no one better suited to persuade customers of the benefits your business can offer than you. After all, you are its biggest advocate, most passionate employee, and subject matter expert—and it’s on you to sell more of your product.
Despite what you may believe about your ability to convince customers to buy, you can learn to be a great salesperson. You owe it to yourself, your staff, and your businesses potential to try.
4 Ways to Sell More
Keep the benefits your business offers top of mind.
Adages like “He could sell ice to an Eskimo” give a negative connotation that selling is about swindling customers to buy what they don’t need.
However, authentic selling when you’re a business owner is driven by the same motivation had to open its doors. You believe that your business could solve a problem or fill a need for your target audience-—and that it can deliver a better experience than what customers will have with your competitors.
Instead of trying to “sell” a customer on your products and services, try these thought-starters to identify the unique benefits you are passionate your business offers:
- What inspired you to open your business?
- What does your business offer that competitors don’t?
- How will customers benefit from what you sell?
- What you understand about your customers?
Write your personal business brag list and hang it in a place you’ll notice daily (like the wall behind your computer screen). The more you keep the benefits that you’re your products and services worth buying top of mind, the more natural you’ll feel sharing them with customers.
Practice asking insightful questions.
Selling is about understanding what problem your customer needs to solve, and offering an appropriate solution. To get to those insights, you have to ask open-ended questions of customers.
To make the customer “Q & A” process conversational, practice the 5 W’s in your daily interactions: Who, what, when, where, and why. Ask open-ended questions of your employees, friends, family, vendors, and new acquaintances.
The more your practice asking probing questions, the less intrusive you’ll feel doing the same with customers. The tactic can help pave the way for customer interactions that build relationships over time. (Even if they insist they’re “just browsing,” you may find out some detail that helps you learn more about your target customer).
As a side benefit that extends far beyond selling, you’ll learn to be better at the skill truly exceptional conversationalists and leaders have that few of us possess: Listening.
Reflect on what works.
Realistically, you won’t be able to persuade every customer to buy—but make time at least once a week to take stock of what approaches and interactions resulted in success. Experiment with different strategies and ways of engaging the customer in meaningful conversation.
As you reflect each week, write down the new information you learned about your target market. You’ll get a sense for the best way to engage customers moving forward that you can share with your team. You may even uncover insight that’s relevant to your broader marketing strategies, pricing, and promotional offers.
Use the gifts you have.
Being your own boss is no small feat. No matter your industry, revenue, or how long you’ve been in business, entrepreneurship takes guts, determination, and confidence. Coincidentally, when Steve W.Martin, a sales strategy expert and author studied the behaviors of highly successful sales people, he found that they possessed similar personality traits, including a strong sense of duty and responsibility, curiosity, and a low level of discouragement. You may not realize it, but you inherently have all the skills you need to sell your business—and convince the rest of the world of your passion for it.