Selling is the most basic and fundamental skill required for successful entrepreneurship. However, I’ve heard from many aspiring entrepreneurs who are scared to death of selling.
What they don’t realize is that they’ve been selling all their life. In fact, all of us have been selling all our lives in some form or another, whether it be a reason as to why your parents should buy you a bike or an explanation as to why an interviewer should hire you.
Selling is not an art but a skill that anyone can master. Here’s how:
1. Provide a solution to a problem. Whether you’re selling a product or a service, one of the most important factors is putting yourself in your customers’ shoes and anticipating their pain points. Unless you know what really pains them, you’ll never get their attention. Sometimes they don’t even know what their own frustrations are. That’s where you step in. Then, customize your solution to address just the exact issue.
2. Convince them they’re getting a good deal. While you know what your product or service is worth because of the carefully selected ingredients that have gone into making it, your customers are looking at it from the outside. They do not know the inside story. Educate them about where your ingredients (products or people) come from and the difference they will make in their lives. They will then understand that the money they are investing in your product ensures them the best quality it can buy.
3. Show customers that you’re offering value. On a similar note, while your customer may be looking for the best deal, they are not necessarily looking for the cheapest deal. Customers are really searching for products or services that provide value. Here’s a classic example from Dan Ariely’s book Predictably Irrational:
100 students are given these options to subscribe to The Economist.
- Online-only subscription: $59
- Print-only subscription: $125
- Print and web subscription: $125
Can you guess what most students opted for? A staggering 84 students selected the last option because they saw it as a better value.
4. Say no to generic email marketing campaigns. If you must sell through email marketing, don’t make the mistake of sending a generic email with what you have to offer. Instead, sell the concept of your product or service customized to your target audience by means of a company update. Draft a mailer that does not amount to selling, but rather updates your customer about a new and recent development in the company. People are attuned to switching off when they see any email marketing campaigns, but they’re often interested in learning about new developments in the areas that can help them. So present it more like news or information.
There are many more professional tactics that can help you to make a sale. But if you can focus and get the points detailed above right, you can completely turn around the current results of your sales efforts.
BusinessCollective, launched in partnership with Citi, is a virtual mentorship program powered by North America’s most ambitious young thought leaders, entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners.