How to Sell
Our research shows that small business owners like you don’t feel happy selling. Mainly people don't like cold calling and systems with a certain nervousness about pricing, presentation and closing. At root is the fear of failure and rejection.
That's clearly what frightens people in cold calling, closing, asking for referrals, presentations but it's probably what causes the dislike of systems. Why engage with something that's going to prove you're not winning? - better to keep it vague. However the opposite is true. Systems are your friend – they take the personal out of prospecting.
However better conversations and more introductions are the key to successful selling – but within a firm systems framework. That’s what O’Hara taught us and that’s what we’ve put into the revised Telling it face to face module.
Succesful Sales people recognise that they work through a logical process one step at a time.
Any business needs a certain number of sales worth a certain amount of money to make it's monthly target. To be sure of closing that number of sales you need a larger number of people and companies who are ready to buy - because not all selling activity ends with a sale.
You are likely to need 2 -4 times as many sales pending to make sure you will close the ones you need.
So you need a still larger number of enquiries to keep your prospect bank topped up - perhaps 5 or 6 per prospect. And you will need to generate enough marketing effort to get these.
This will be a lot.
On average customers need to be contacted 7- 8 times in one way or another before they will buy.
The problem we have as small companies is getting the balance right between selling and producing. You can't work for a client when you're out selling and you can't sell when you're busy fulfilling orders.
So what can we do? Since you probably don't have time to do more than do your work and close your live prospects, you need to automate the prospecting process by relying on the power of the internet to deliver the stream of enquiries you need.
Companies who do this do well. One lawyer we talked to put it like this. "At the beginning of the year I work out how much money I want to make and I have a discussion with my (outsourced) marketing manager. We take into account what the conversion rates of all the lawyers who work for me actually are. They range from 16% to 74%. So the best is converting most enquiries into work while the "worst" (who is actually a better lawyer) is closing 1 in 6. Then we work out how many enquiries she has to generate to feed the machine and that's what she's targeted against."
Of course once you get in front of the customer you have to build a match between what you can do and what they need. You have to listen a lot to get at what they need. It may be considerably more than they said when they started. It may involve you bringing in other areas of expertise – but if you can create a unique solution and you have built rapport with the customer then asking for the business becomes easy. The principle is the same whether you are selling Spinach on a market stall in which case the whole process can happen in seconds or whether you are selling a complex Market Research Solution which can take months – or even years.
Most small business owners have never worked in a real sales environment. So it’s difficult to estimate how much promotional work to do and they don't systematically measure what they do. If you know what your own ratios are it's much easier to hold sales people that you may need to employ as the business expands to account.
So the telling it face to face part of 1Man Brand (aka the Gospel according to O’Hara focuses on this and helps you put some system into your sales activity.
The other parts help you focus on telling your story on-line by developing it, writing it and promoting it.
That will provide the backdrop against which you can sell your services more effectively than at present.
You can now mix and match the individual modules - buying ( or renting) the full product or just the sales modules.