Sales is intimidating to many people. It brings out the worst fears and forces them to play manipulative games. But one of the most famous sales success quotes by Zig Ziglar is ‘Successful selling is essentially a transfer of feelings.’ So when people buy based on emotions and business owners sell their product, program, or service because they are emotional and passionate about it, then how is it that the act of selling has earned such a bad name?
The flawed worldview that sales is a dirty word and the people who are in sales have vested interests needs to change. And a starting point for you to do that is the MAPS framework which can serve as the foundational stone for the tower of your business and sales success.
M for Mindset:
Your individual thoughts and beliefs about sales create your mindset. Stories of arm twisting traditional ways of selling and the wrong ways that you have been sold to have added up to your dislike towards the profession and people. You have housed certain limiting beliefs about the traits of a salesperson like they are talkative, aggressive, never take no for an answer. And since you aren’t willing to do any of it, you think you cannot sell. Adding to this women especially do not relate to the masculine image of a ‘salesman’ as our regressive communication does not make place for inclusion.
So how do we change all this?
As mentioned in the ebook ‘How to revolutionize your sales mindset’, sales is just a vehicle through which you are solving your customer’s problems are fulfilling their needs. Getting paid with money for your product, service, expertise, etc is the most standardized form of making businesses work across the globe because guess what…we aren’t living in the age of the barter system anymore. So adopt a new mindset that sales is an enabler for a mutually beneficial exchange between two parties. It doesn’t make you a con artist.
A is for Authentic selling:
Being in sales does not mean you have to fake to be someone you are not. You always do not have to be talkative, charming with words, never take NO for an answer type of a person. Introverts, ambiverts, extroverts…..all can be great at selling. You just need to identify your strengths and leverage them in a given sales situation.
Knowing your personality traits will help you bring your true and best version to a sales conversation. Aspects like do I like to make new connections or am I good at taking existing relations deeper, I am good with quoting statistics, or am I better at telling stories. Look more analytically towards your strengths because everyone can sell and for business owners, it is a must.
P is for Planning:
Let’s move from the inner work to more strategic work. Your revenue goals will be met if you are able to draw up a SMART plan to achieve them. Your sales goals, if pursued in a planned manner, will not only energize you to do more but also increase your confidence while having prospect conversations. An ideal time span is to set 30–60–90 day goals for the number of client meetings, proposals for prospects, leads generated, events executed all of which should be managed with a sales planner or CRM.
Remember while you set goals for each quarter, review them on a weekly basis and celebrate all your efforts as well. We are an eerie clan where we reward the achievement or result, but what intrinsically motivates and keeps you going are the small celebrations on the efforts as well. If you managed to do all the 20 calls today — celebrate. If you pushed out the proposal well within the deadline — celebrate. If you delivered a medium okay masterclass — celebrate!
Keep your spirits high!
S is for Skills:
Selling is a learnable skill much like cooking, writing, biking, roller skating, etc. It is predominantly the art of are getting your point across to your customer, gaining their trust, influencing their decision, and building a long-term association with your customers. The skills required can be grouped in three phases of a sales cycle — presales, customer interaction, and post-sales.
In pre-sales where activities like building your sales pipeline, doing marketing activities, getting leads, cold calling/emailing, blogging, etc are involved you need to be strategic and analytical to forecast trends and study data, brush up your presentation/demo skills, on-camera skills if you are making videos/masterclasses, writing skills if you are blogging or cold mailing.
For a one-on-one conversation with your potential client, the majority of the skills that come into play are communication skills — verbal as well non-verbal. In the Conversation Catalysts series of Ace the Sales Podcast, you will get all the nine elements of an impactful sales conversation from building rapport to asking quality questions, active listening, objection handling, negotiation, and more.
Lastly, post-sales where your key skills should be relationship management, time management, delivering a wow experience to your customer for which you need to be empathetic as well as have the ability to handle crises or conflicts because no matter how much you avoid it, customer dissatisfaction can arise once in a while and it is during these times that your conflict management skills will make or break your long term customer retention.
Sales is not rocket science. With the right approach and attitude, you can make this beautiful vehicle take you places far and beyond. It just requires deliberate, mindful action. To sum up
- Start with your mindset. Bring a positive shift.
- Know thy self. Play to your strengths.
- Plan for your goals, review your progress, celebrate your efforts.
- Constantly learn new skills and sharpen existing ones.