Let’s be realistic, the majority of business coaching people that I talk to are repelled by the word “sell”. When you think of selling I find that the majority of entrepreneurs picture the stereotypical car salesman. They picture an overweight, middle-aged man who is gruff and does all kinds of ridiculous, high-pressure sales moves. This man is a slimy, annoying person that can’t be trusted and that no one wants to interact with. In fact, people go out of their way to avoid this type of salesperson. This is not what I am talking about when I am talking about selling. What I am referring to as a business coaching pro is a developed skill to be able to follow the simple process of rapport, needs, benefits, and a call to action. There is nothing off-putting about this process. In fact, most people do it in some way in the majority of their interactions with others, whether they are selling something or not.
Just imagine the last interaction you had with someone in your office. Most people greet others with a friendly greeting (rapport). Next, they ask questions like, “how are you doing” (needs)? After that, depending on how the person responds, that will offer some sort of advice or perspective in an attempt to show support (benefits). Lastly, they will say something along the lines of “have a great day” (close), and move on their way. This is called the sales process. Say it to yourself, “rapport, needs, benefits, close, rapport, needs, benefits, close.” When you intentionally increase your self-awareness and start to engage in this process you are able to begin to use this process and tool to sell something. When you can build rapport or trust with a person, it allows you to begin to break down their barriers to entry so that you can start to ask good questions to identify their needs. As Siva Devaki, the co-founder of MassMailer said, “Sales is not about selling anymore, but about building trust and educating”. You must learn to build trust with your ideal and likely buyer or your company will not be successful.
“Approach each customer with the idea of helping him or her solve a problem or achieve a goal, not of selling a product or service”.
– Brian Tracy (Bestselling Self-Development Author and Motivational Speaker)
Once the rapport is rocking, then you can begin to move into focusing on the customer’s needs. If you build some rapport then start throwing random benefits at them as if you already know what they want, then their guard will go back up and you will start to smell like that dressy car salesman that they are so leary of. You need to move from rapport to needs. This is the process of asking good, leading questions. If, as an example, you are trying to sell engine repair services, then you might ask questions like, what has your experience with other engine repair companies been like? What did you like about their service? What didn’t you like? Questions like these allow you to get into the mind of your potential buyers so that you can assess what is important to THEM. sales are not about what is important to you, but what is important to your potential customer. Brian Tracy says, “Approach each customer with the idea of helping him or her solve a problem or achieve a goal, not of selling a product or service”. When you ask good questions you are identifying the problem that you can help solve. Thomas Freese said, “The questions you ask are more important than the things you could ever say”.
Once you have identified their specific needs or problems, you can then move into the benefits process. This is where you begin to communicate how your product or service meets the specific needs that they have. If they said that they want their engine repair company to be fair and honest, then you share how honesty is a core value of your organization and that you will always treat them fairly. If they have said that they want a car with leather, then you show them that you have listened and you talk about what leather options you have and why your leather options are very high quality. The key to being able to communicate the right benefits to the customer is ensuring that you actually listened to their answers when you were asking questions. If you don’t remember what the customer communicates that is important to them, then you will not be able to communicate the correct benefits.
Once you are to this point, if you have successfully laid the foundation of rapport, needs, and benefits, then the close is no issue at all. All you have to do is ask. Asking is the key that a lot of people forget. They think that if they do the first three steps, then the close will happen on its own. It won’t. You must literally ask the customers to buy. You must offer them a call to action. If you don’t then they most likely won’t buy. Don’t waste your time going through the process of building rapport, identifying business coaching needs, and offering benefits if you are not willing to close the deal by asking for it. If you are willing to follow this process again and again and again, you will find yourself becoming an excellent salesperson who is able to help your business grow. And before you tell me that you don’t like sales or don’t have the personality of a salesperson, remember, sales is a SKILL that can be developed. You must become excellent at this process so that you can sell and then, in turn, lead your team to sell. If you can’t sell your business will fail.
A couple more things to remember as you set out on this journey to improve your selling skills is that sales are a transference of emotion, don’t give up and be intentional. When you are selling, you must set the tone and bring energy. Do Not match the customer’s energy, you set the energy and bring them up to your level. Refuse to allow how they are acting to impact your emotions. Come into the sale confidently, determined to bring them up to our level. When it comes to not giving up, Thomas Edison said, “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” As you are learning to sell, recognize that you are going to fail. The only way to get better is to keep getting back up and trying. Finally, take the time to be intentional about this process. Jim Rohn said, “Either run the day or the day runs you.” plan time in your schedule for developing your sales skills. Plan time to practice. Create a checklist of the process and questions you want to ask. You can do it, and as you learn to sell then you will decrease the chances that your business will fail.