Over the years I have had the good fortune of working with hundreds of entrepreneurs in a coaching and training capacity. During this time I noticed there was a trend with the entrepreneurs that failed. Their common weaknesses were that they didn’t know how to sell nor were they willing to learn.
When looking at developing a business it is critical that you understand 80% of your success relies on your ability to sell. After all, your customer is not your customer until you have sold them something be it an idea, a service, a product etc.
In business there are two main areas where a sale takes place:
1. When a customer is buying from you
2. When you are buying from a supplier
In both these instances hundreds of thousands of dollars can be made or lost. Too often I see fantastic technicians in their chosen fields go down the entrepreneurial path only to find that they have no idea how to sell or negotiate, and as a result they end up flat broke.
It is extremely important to make this point clear right from the beginning, if you are not willing to learn how to sell then do not go into business. I realise this is a bold claim and sadly far too many people out there think they can actually survive in business without mastering this skill.
These very same people make up the 87% of all new businesses that fail to make it past the 2 year point. It has been shown in these businesses the number one reason they fail is low sales. Robert Kiyosaki author of Rich Dad Poor Dad puts it quite simply, “I know of no other skill to be more important than selling” and I totally agree with him.
Here is a basic rule of thumb for all entrepreneurs:
• 80% of your day must be spent ‘selling’
Funnily enough most people spend around 10% of their day on sales and this is usually due to their fear of rejection.
In your mind right now go through the last 10 business related conversations you have had and ask yourself, “was I selling my products and services or simply telling them something about the business?”
The main difference here is whether or not you asked for their business or agreed on the next step that will take you closer to creating a relationship, a new customer and a sale.
Sales is about discovery, through questioning, where your customer’s pain lies. Once you have found their wound the trick is to open it up, highlight its severity and then offer them some cream to fix it. I realise this sounds a little callous but it is important to understand that there are only two forces in the universe that make us do anything:
• Craving of pleasurable feelings
• Aversion to painful experiences
Once you realise this basic piece of psychology then you are well on your way to helping people achieve a state of equilibrium using your products/services/ideas.
It is important to truly understand the chain of events that leads to a purchase so you can best facilitate an effective sales meeting.
The events that lead to a sale are as follows:
1. Senses: information enters through the senses
2. Sensation: your mind and body respond with subtle sensations /vibrations
3. Analysis: these sensations are analysed to find their meaning
4. Feelings: based on the meaning a feeling is generated which fits into one of two main categories – pain or pleasure
5. Re-action: you react to the feeling created with either craving or aversion
6. Result: you take steps to balance out your reaction by adjusting what is coming in through the senses and this is where you decide to BUY!
It is important to acknowledge that at every stage along this chain of events a sale is occurring. The more you experience the art of selling the more you begin to realise that all you are doing is transferring a vibration through the senses of your client in order to trigger a specific result.
How doctors sell
I often use the example of a physician’s consultation. When you go to visit the doctor the first thing they ask you is, “Where does it hurt?” Once they have this piece of information they proceed to apply pressure on the exact spot you mentioned. They then continue to poke and prod you asking the question, “Does it hurt here? And what about here?”
After this they hand you a diagnosis and a script that you are generally wholeheartedly sold on and off you go to book your operation and buy your medicine. Bearing in mind most medical consultations only last around 15 minutes you need to ask yourself, “why was I sold so rapidly and easily into spending even more money?” Everything you need to know about selling can be extracted from this example.
First they elicit the pain (find the wound), then apply pressure (open the wound and rub sand in it) and finally they offer you relief in the form of the operation or prescription (the cream to fix it).
At the end of the day it is important to understand that sales is nothing more than the transference of a feeling, therefore work on becoming a good story teller. Once you have mastered this, learn how to ask relevant questions and you are well on your way to business success.
I can only hope that you now put sales and developing your sales skills at the top of your “things to do” list as this is the only skill that will allow you to truly realise your dreams in life.