If you are an owner or manager, odds are you are in sales to some degree -- whether intentionally or not.
Unintentional salespeople may not think of their primary role as selling, but find they spend much of their day doing just that -- from selling their expertise to ideas to products. Think about the entrepreneur who is selling his ideas to financial backers. Consider the business owner or manager who sells his services in virtually every personal and professional conversation, simply due to his belief in what he offers. Or how about those in professional service roles, like attorneys and doctors, who desire to grow their practices but prefer not to entrust others to market on their behalf?
While well meaning, unintentional salespeople often have little formal sales training and may therefore struggle with these four common challenges, which if avoided, are guaranteed to improve sales performance.
* Self-Defeating Talk: If you have been known to say, "I'm not a salesperson," consider a different perspective -- sans the self-defeating talk. Over 90 percent of professional positions have some kind of sales component, as sales is merely the art of persuading others to consider your solution. Take pride in your ability to sell.
* Overzealous Delivery: Owners are often guilty of delivering a sales pitch with an over-abundance of enthusiasm. While passion can be powerful in sales, it can also cause someone to talk too fast, overwhelm a prospect with too much information, not listen well, and/or not know when to stop talking and close.
* Racing Past the Fork: In many cases, it's appropriate to prepare a formal presentation for a sales pitch. When you do, and your prospect interrupts with questions, what do you do? Do you respond to their questions and quickly veer back to the presentation? Unintentional salespeople often do. Instead, think about your presentation as simply a method for telling your story in a way that's designed to encourage interruptions. When asked a question next time, take the detour and welcome that two-way interaction. It's where trust and real idea sharing occur.
* Avoiding the Post-Mortem: A post-mortem is an analysis of what worked and what didn't during a sales meeting. Avoid moving ahead to the next opportunity before stepping back to uncover any vulnerability in the pitch just delivered. It's critical for continuous improvement and to prevent repeat mistakes. Assess what language resonated most with the prospect, what fell flat, what you would continue doing, and what you would modify, if you had a mulligan.
Bypass these four selling obstacles, and you'll be well on your way to becoming the intentional salesperson you may have never thought you could be.
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