There’s no sure-fire, one-size-fits-all recipe for business development. Anyone who has pitched or sold anything to anyone understands that one. Think about those magazine sales and wrapping paper fundraisers your children’s schools have each year. How many kids eagerly and voluntarily go door to door to sell their stuff? Most kids dread these fundraisers. They usually won’t sell unless accompanied by a parent – who finds themselves in the uncomfortable role of closing the sale.
OK, I’m not talking about selling Girl Scout® cookies. Talk about a no-brainer sale. They have all the luck and minimal risk!
Bottom line: Do you still feel like you are selling wrapping paper door to door as a 10 year old grade schooler?
There was tremendous risk involved when you were 10 years old, taking your first step out the door to sell stuff to raise money for your school. Even if you knew who you were selling to (usually your relatives or neighbors). You really didn’t know what to say. You usually ended up looking down at your feet and shoved your order sheet and pencil at them.
Your family and neighbors ended up buying from you anyway. Because they are family. Closing the sale still didn’t make you feel any better about the process.
And you dreaded next year’s sale. Ugh!
As a now-grownup individual involved in generating revenue for your business, do you still sell to people you know and avoid the risk of selling to the unknown? If you are an entrepreneur, how long have you been in the friends-and-family mode of generating product, service, or platform sales? Isn’t it about time to cut the proverbial umbilical cord and get out there into the real world? For those of you selling for your own or mature businesses, are you intimidated to cultivate those longer term, larger contracts that could take you to a different level?
Do you still dread having to make that next sale? Ugh!
Try these 4 strategies, no matter what you are selling.
You still have to do your homework. Even if you are calling on a company where you have no referral, find out all you can about them, their industry, the trigger events that impact them, and get a sense of how their organization makes decisions. Study. Just like you did in grade school. In a sense, you are getting to know them and the way they think – even if you have yet to meet someone from that company. So you are not exactly calling on a complete stranger.
Lay the groundwork for your campaign. Whether you knew it or not, your parents probably warned the family and neighbors that it was “magazine sale time” again. So folks answered the door and picked up the phone when you called. How can the “adult you” get the word out about YOU? Make yourself a known entity before you come calling on a company. The first thing they will do is Google you. What is your social media presence? Before they give you an audience, prospects will have done their homework on you. Make sure you reward them for their efforts.
Forget the one-and-done mindset. Start the relationship by having a dialogue with your prospects. It may take as many as 10 touchpoints to get that appointment. Each one is an opportunity to showcase your subject-matter expertise and relevance to their business. If you give up after each failed attempt, well, you can finish that sentence for yourself.
The first person you have to sell is yourself. Perhaps your greatest risk is that you still don’t believe in yourself. If that’s the case, your lack of self-belief is like a beacon to prospects and even current customers. Take the time to sell yourself on your product, platform, and subject-matter expertise. Then those dialogues with customers sound like a natural conversation you are comfortable having and they are comfortable participating in.
Unless you are selling something like Girl Scout cookies into a pull marketplace, these 4 strategies can help you minimize the risk involved in your current selling process.
What are you waiting for?