For many, the idea of “sales” is frightening. Endless loops of “What if they say no?” or “What if I’m no good at sales?” play in your head, and cause you to procrastinate for as long as you possibly can. I can relate.
For over 2 decades I was a sales rep. First selling products for companies as a base plus commission employee, then I moved into the world of independent contractor. I was “commission only” and responsible for every penny of expenses. I was a Solopreneur and didn’t know it! (But the lessons I learned from that is a story for another time.)
As a sales rep, when you receive a “no”, it’s easy to doubt yourself. “Did I present it well?”, “Did I say the wrong thing?”, “Did I miss a buying signal?” the list of questions is enormous, and they all center around some form of “What did I do wrong?”
It can take quite some time to master your mindset and let a “no” be a “no”, and not a rejection of you personally.
But….This shift in mindset is critical to your success.
Let me explain that a bit. You see the mindset of “They don’t like me” or “I’m not good enough” is what you need to shift.
Yes, I am saying that it IS important to review your sales calls and look for ways to improve your presentation. A successful sales reps’ goal is to answer objections with clarity and confidence. This requires a deep, objective, look into your process.
The key is to be “objective”. Don’t beat yourself up over every little thing. You are evaluating your process, not your persona!
Don’t allow a “no” to create doubt.
To reduce it to a simplistic idea – for an employed sales rep the “mindset” that needs shifting is around self-doubt.
It goes much deeper for a Solopreneur
Solopreneurs get their identity from their business. When a Solopreneur hears “no”, they not only ask themselves “Did I do something wrong”, they also ask “Is there something wrong with my product or service?”. This double dose of doubt can be crippling.
Your product or service is your “baby”, it’s the result of your vision, your hard work, and your skill set. You created it – and you decided its ‘price’. When someone doesn’t buy, it’s very easy to doubt its value – and in turn, doubt yours. Not only do you ask “What did I do wrong”, you also ask “Is my product or it’s price all wrong?” This second hit to your self-esteem is hard to ignore.
Rather than face these doubts and fears, you hide. You procrastinate. You find ways to fill your time so you’re too busy to “sell”. Yet, without sales you have no business.
Where do you go from here?
- First, get really excited about your product. Understand its benefits inside and out. What problems does it solve? How? Why is your solution unique? Describe it to yourself in the most appealing way you can – create the sizzle to go along with the steak.
- When someone says no – ask them what influenced their decision. Listen with an open mind, and don’t be afraid to ask deeper questions. Keep a list of everything they say.
- Compare the traits of those who didn’t buy vs. those who did. Use that to determine your marketing strategy. Are you targeting the right audience?
- Another really powerful tool is to ask why people DID buy. Find what they have in common and use it to narrow down your customer avatar. Then market to that demographic. Be sure to incorporate some of these “buying” points into every presentation.
- Work on your self-esteem. If you aren’t confident in yourself it will appear, to the prospect, that you lack confidence in the product or service you are presenting.
- Before you make a sales call remind yourself of the reasons you created this product, the problems it solves, and how it can help those who buy it.
- Remind yourself that a “no” is not a rejection of you or your product – it’s an indication that this is not the right fit, or the right time for the buyer.
- Remember a time when you had a choice between 2 or 3 good companies and your choice was not a decision between a “good” and “bad” product, but a comparison of “good” products that would meet your need.
If you receive several “no’s” you may need just a little “tweaking” to turn things around.
Whatever you do, don’t give up. Look to history… to Stephen King and JK Rowling whose manuscripts were rejected dozens of times, to Neil Diamond who was told to give up singing because he would never make it and Michael Jordan who didn’t make the high school basketball team. They kept at it, they kept “selling” their manuscript, voice, skills to anyone who would listen to them. They not only perfected their “products”, they perfected their presentation skills. Don’t give up!
You’ve created your product or service for a reason. It fills a great need. People ARE looking for your solution. Don’t deny it to them because you are afraid to be rejected one more time…