Almost three years ago now, I got to a point of deep frustration which also led to a breakthrough for my business. As I entered a meeting with my small business mentor, I wanted to decide how to organize my business – LLC, S Corp, other. I had spent the better time of a week or two researching and scratching my head about the different options. In the spur of the moment, my mentor, a lawyer by training, pointed out that I was not yet in business until I secured a client.
It was tough to hear. I had just spent valuable time chasing the wrong thing. But, I saw the light: Sales had to come first.
I was transitioning from a corporate job in which I had no selling to do. I was an internal consultant at a large company and clients came to our group requesting our help. There was no persuasion to be done, no presentation, no negotiation. I was in a very different position now. If I wanted to be in business for myself, I had to go out there, find potential customers, communicate my offering, persuade them, and guide them to hire me. I had to sell them first before I started providing my services.
And, it was daunting, I had to face my discomfort and start having those conversations: What do I say? How would I address questions? How will I manage conversations with my potential customer when they seem not to want to hire me? (Does any of this sound familiar?)
And, what I learned is that it is possible – and necessary – to prepare for effective sales conversations.
That included for me:
- The first call you make to someone – either warm or cold
- The emails you send to follow up to schedule a time to deliver your presentation
- The presentation you make for your product or service
- The follow up calls or emails that you make to close the business if it didn’t close during the presentation
- The conversation you have if the sale didn’t close in your favor this time
- The conversation you have with current customers to gather their testimonials and success stories
- The conversation you have to ask for referrals for business
I teach an online class to help you prepare and make your sales conversations more effective. My students learn the 5 components of an effective sales message and the 7 step process to develop your sales message and gain the confidence to sound natural while being prepared.