Do you LOVE making money, but HATE selling?
Do you get excited about creating products and delivering services, but get clammy hands when it comes time to actually SELL them?
Do you wish there was an easier, more authentic way to sell than pushing your products on people?
The good news is there is! You CAN sell without having to feel super slimy. In fact, you can sell in a way that makes you feel good about yourself and your business.
1. Listen first, speak later.
Jumping right into your sales pitch is a great way to turn off your prospective customers or clients.
It’s like those telemarketers who immediately start pitching you on the phone before they even ask if you’re in the middle of something…have you ever actually bought from them?
Instead of immediately telling the person what you have to offer, take some time to ask questions and listen.
Find out where they’re at, what they need, and whether your product is actually a good fit for them.
This is an important strategy for in-person sales as well as on social media and by email. Don’t immediately think about yourself and what you have to offer – think about them and what they need.
Action item: Ask lots of questions when you first meet with a prospective customer. Find out their biggest pain points, what they’ve already tried, what type of product or service they’re looking for, etc. Don’t start offering to solve their problem until you know exactly what their problem is!
2. Be yourself.
With so many businesses vying for consumers’ attention, people are increasingly wary of being “sold to”.
They don’t want to feel like just another number – they want to feel like they’re having a real conversation with a real person.
Lose the “industry speak”, and stop sticking to a sales script. Instead, ask and answer questions, have a conversation, and just be yourself.
Action item: Don’t try to emulate someone else. Your prospective customers will see right through it – they’d rather you just be yourself (even with all your imperfections!).
For more on being an authentic marketer, check out my book, Will The Real You Please Stand Up: Show Up, Be Authentic, and Prosper In Social Media.
3. Create and use a sales funnel.
A sales funnel is an extremely important tool for selling without being pushy. It gives your prospects time to get to know and trust you, leading to a much more authentic sales experience.
Briefly, here’s one example of an effective sales funnel:
- Create a free lead magnet that leads into your sales funnel. This could be an eBook, webinar, guide, etc. – anything that offers great info to your audience.
- Promote your products or services within the lead magnet. Include a call to action that encourages them to book a consult, buy a product, etc.
- Promote your lead magnet to your audience. Promote it to your social media audience, your website visitors and your email subscribers.
This is just one example of a sales funnel – there are many ways to create one that will work for your business.
Action item: If you haven’t already, create a value-packed lead magnet ASAP and promote it to your fans, followers and subscribers. Ideally, use this product to build your email list, which will prove to be one of your most valuable online assets.
For more on this, check out my post Top Ways To Drive Traffic To Your Sales Funnel Using Social Media.
4. Tell stories.
Stories are great for capturing the attention of your readers. They’re also a very effective and “non-salesy” way of selling.
Some ideas for telling stories that help with the sales process include:
- Telling personal experiences or anecdotes related to your business. Tell about how you got into the business you’re in; how a certain product helped you in a particular situation; how you achieved a particular goal using your products, etc.
- Share case studies or testimonials from successful customers or clients. Share how your business or services helped them achieve their goals.
- Don’t just sell a product – sell an experience. This works especially well for lifestyle brands. When describing your products, tell a story (fictitious or not) about an experience your customers could have (e.g., for a shoe retailer: “Imagine yourself running through the woods in fall, your foot pain a thing of the past…”).
- Tell behind-the-scenes product stories. Share how your products are made; personal stories from your employees about using your products; examples of how people can use your products in a unique way, etc.
When telling stories as part of your marketing, be sure to always include a strong call to action (CTA) somewhere within (or following) your story. The story is what will catch their attention and get them interested in your products…your CTA is what will get them to take action.
For more on why stories are so important, check out my post 5 Reasons Storytelling Is A Must For Marketers.
Action item: Incorporate stories into your content marketing wherever possible. Remember to always include a strong CTA to get your followers or readers to take further action (e.g., join your email list, buy a product, etc.).
5. Remember to SERVE not just SELL.
I find that sometimes all it takes to feel good about selling is a shift in your mindset.
The word “salesperson” can come with lots of negative connotations: being pushy, “slick”, even sneaky or unethical.
So instead of thinking of what you’re doing as selling, think of it as SERVING.
Ask yourself what you can do to make life better or easier for your customers or clients. Talk to them about their problems, and think about how you can help them.
Switch your mindset from “how can I make this sale” to “how can I help”. You’ll be amazed at how good this can feel – and how effective it can be!
Action item: Before you meet with a prospective customer, remind yourself you’re there to serve, not just to sell. This simple switch in mindset can calm your nerves and make you a more effective marketer!
6. Build authentic relationships.
One of the aspects of the sales process you may be fighting against is the “use them and lose them” mentality (i.e., make a quick sale and then move on to the next customer).
The good news is that this strategy rarely works anymore – at least in the long-term. SO, it’s not one I would recommend!
Instead, think about building long-term relationships. Be a source of valuable information and support on social media. Provide guidance through your blog posts and email newsletters. Make yourself available to answer questions and give advice.
This is why using email as part of your sales funnel is so effective: it lets you connect with your audience over time, rather than trying to make a quick, one-off sale.
It’s through these everyday encounters that your fans, followers, readers and subscribers will begin to trust you; and when it comes time for them to buy, you’ll be first on their mind.
Action item: Stop focusing on making one-off sales, and instead think about how you can nurture long-term relationships. This will feel more authentic, and will be far more effective over the long haul!
If the whole sales process stresses you out, you aren’t alone. Many entrepreneurs struggle because they want to maintain their authenticity – while also obviously making money.
The strategies above prove you don’t have to be “slimy” to make sales. Be yourself, serve your audience and feel good about making sales!
Anything you would add? Any tips or strategies YOU use for being authentic in sales? Share with us below!