Maybe you’re new at sales, you topped the training class – but just cannot make the sales stick.

Or you could be a veteran of many sales conquests, but more recently you simply cannot get the deals across the line.

Or perhaps you spent a small fortune acquiring a franchise and it looked great on paper. You have big plans, high hopes and you are putting in the hours to make it happen.

But somehow the results aren’t coming and the money’s not flowing. What’s wrong?

Unfortunately the answer could be you.

Especially for franchisees, there are lots of promises about fantastic marketing packages and potential clients coming through the door, but the simple truth is that you are now self-employed. No more sick days. No one else to delegate to. It’s you that has to make that sale and secure your own money.

1) Stop thinking of yourself as a ‘Salesperson’

Think about it. The word ‘salesperson’ does not engender confidence and is not respected, even by you. Ask yourself, do you like being ‘sold to’? Guess what – your clients feel the same way.
There is a huge amount of negative connotation around this wording and it brings up an image of someone you may not want to be. There is every chance when you were a child your parents told you that salespeople were pushy and not to be trusted, and now you have to become one.
This obviously causes a real internal conflict and is, in my opinion, the number one reason why you could find yourself sabotaging your own efforts. Don’t believe me? Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you approach every sales opportunity in the belief it will be a sale?
  • Are you secretly dreading ‘that’ question from your client – the one you find so hard to answer?
  • Do you find lots of little jobs to do that keep you so busy that you have little time for new business calls?

These issues are even more acute if you’re very technical in nature, and you like performing the task but not producing the sale. Why not rename yourself so you’re comfortable in saying that word when you represent yourself to a potential client? What could you call yourself that sits comfortably with you? Remember, your role is to help people make the right decision – it’s not to sell them something.

2) Be yourself

So many people put on a persona they think is needed to create a successful sales outcome. This is simply not the case and could, in fact, be what is costing you business.

If you went through all the psychological and personality testing when you applied for the job or franchise opportunity, these assessments will have shown the real you and indicated that you should be successful in your business. So why are you hiding this real you now?

Clients look for faults and are suspicious when you knock on the door because you are promoting a product. If they sense falseness about you it will raise their alarms and give them good reason not to buy from you.

Will your natural personality be what everyone is looking for every time? Probably not. You will get on with some people better than others. But the reality is, especially if you are less experienced, you were quite possibly never going to sell to those people anyway. Most people will be put off by a fake overlay, so be yourself.

3) Show some passion for your subject

Again we put on this persona of ‘professionalism’, which means we often deliver a very dry presentation. What was the passion that got you involved in the first place? If it was simply that you thought you’d make a lot of money, you may possibly have made an error.

Clients enjoy your enthusiasm and passion for your product. It will take you through the tough times, but you’ll also need to show it to your clients so they know that you’re passionate about what you are doing.

This isn’t easy in cultures where showing emotion is not the norm, but the old saying ‘enthusiasm sells’ is as true now as it ever was.

Let your passion and enthusiasm for your subject show, and you’ll take your potential client along with you for the ride. The big problem is that if you don’t show some passion and hide in facts and figures, your clients will allocate an emotion and a motivation to you; and there’s a big chance that it won’t be a positive one.

4) Jargon kills sales

Occasionally you’ll find someone who’s really caught up in the technical aspects of what you do. But usually they are initially more interested in knowing you understand and care about their needs.

If you are technically orientated, it’s easy to hide in the features of your product. But this will stop you truly addressing the need of the client.

Quite often, some products appear to be very similar and have similar pricing, so the difference is your ability to uncover their real concerns and needs and address those.

In this way you’ll make a connection at a very personal level, which is the key to gaining that commitment from your potential client.

Loading them up with jargon will simply occupy their head space and will actually be counterproductive. Using everyday language that your client can understand and addressing their real needs will result in you making real progress.

5) Use a low logic approach with your potential client

‘Low logic’ is language that is simple to understand. It’s almost like approaching your client underneath the radar. Simply approach them in a very matter of fact way (with a certain amount of emotion) and give them the option to decline your services if they want. In this way you don’t raise any alarm bells and make them feel trapped. They are much more likely to come along for the ride this way.

For example: “Mr Prospect, the simple reality is businesses like yours can use this product and it has X effect. For you to be interested it obviously has to meet X, Y, Z needs and also fit within your budget, and I have to be able to show you the real benefits of working with our company. If I can’t, then it’s only fair that I should head for the door. But if I can make all that happen, then your company is definitely at an advantage. I’d like to simply sit down with you and run through these different ideas and see where we go from there, is that fair enough?”

So be yourself, cut the jargon, and let your passion for the product speak for itself. Approach other people the way you like to be approached and you might well find that your sales increase hugely.

Bill James is an internationally recognised sales speaker and trainer.

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