So You Think You Can Sell, Do You?
There’s no shortage of advice for small business owners, especially for starting up or growing their business. But advice to learn how to sell is rarely mentioned. Surprising really because the mistake 95% of small business owners make is thinking they’re able to sell their services, when they don’t know what they’re doing.
Why is this a mistake? Surely everybody can sell their own expertise? It’s simply a question of meeting the right people, with the right needs – isn’t it?
Sorry, it isn’t. Success in sales is much more complicated than that. It doesn’t come naturally. We all need to learn the basics, before moving on to the masterclass.
Being expert at what you do – design, development, marketing, consulting, whatever, – is fundamental to being invited to pitch. But it doesn’t guarantee you’ll win the business, and it certainly doesn’t guarantee your margins, cash flow, repeat business and referrals. All of those things come from being expert at selling, as well as expert at whatever it is you do.
For most customers the small business owner is easy meat. S/he’s bound to want the deal enough to go along with the customer’s idea of price and service, especially when that customer is a bigger business.
Taking expertise and a big smile into that meeting is like taking a knife to a gunfight. You might (?) win the order, but it won’t be at the best price, and you’ll need to over perform to win a satisfied client.
You’ll know all about this from your own buying experiences. When the boot is on the other foot you’ll screw the supplier for everything you can get. Your customers are just doing the same thing to you. That’s the law of our particular jungle.
Selling is a profession, just like accounting, or the law, or medicine. Small business owners should really hire professional sales guys and get on with what they’re good at. But they don’t. They can’t afford it.
At the same time they can’t afford not to.
The answer is learn professionally. Just a few weeks, maybe part-time, and a couple of thousand dollars, will make all the difference – another 10% on the price, cash up front, continuing business, referrals.
This blog is full of advice on ways to manage customers, and your sales pipeline but it’s really meant for guys who already understand the fundamentals. Novices need a basic primer, and the best way to get that is training.