As a sales coach, I’ve talked with many women entrepreneurs who are very uncomfortable with the thought of selling to others. They all have one thing in common. They have awesome products or services to offer others, but they do not know how to approach the sales process.
There are three common objections for women entrepreneurs to having sales conversations.
- They do not want to pressure anyone or appear pushy and aggressive.
- They do not want to disturb, invade, or interrupt others.
- They do not want to assume the people they are speaking with need what they have to offer.
These three objections lead to a fear of having others not like them, or worse, avoiding them forever after the initial sales call. Another fear arising with the thought of making a sales call is the fear of rejection… what if the other person says “no?” When talking with strangers, the female entrepreneur has trouble determining what she should say to avoid sounding “salesy.” These fears lead to procrastination and complete avoidance of sales conversations unless someone else approaches them and asks them about their products or services.
This is a very difficult situation because you rely only on marketing messages to attract future customers. Marketing is a fantastic tool to help increase customer acquisition, and at the same time it is much more powerful when you add sales conversations. This is especially true for women who sell services to other women because their lady buyers value relationship-based sales. The challenge with marketing only is that you rely heavily on others to come to you and you do not take a more proactive approach to driving your business. The number one reason women are not more proactive is because they simply do not know what to say to start the conversation and avoid the objections listed above.
Here are some easy-to-follow tips to begin a sales conversation:
- Know that you do NOT have to be pushy, aggressive, or pressure anyone. The best way to approach others is to tell them what you love so much about what you do. When you meet a stranger, make sure you let her ask you first what you do, and give her a very short answer about what you love, then ask her what she does so the conversation goes back to her. Once you find something in common, then talk about that because you want to find common-ground and start developing rapport before talking about your service. Take it easy and don’t start spewing information about what it is you do. Instead, you can say something simple such as, “I’m a marketing professional and I help other ladies find new customers for their businesses. Do you or anyone you know need help with marketing? If so, would you be interested in grabbing a cup of coffee to see if we are a good fit?”
- Understand that your product or service is not for everyone at this moment in time. It is completely ok to have someone tell you NO. In fact, many people are going to tell you they do not need what you have or are not ready. That’s great! Give them a business card with your website in case they need you in the future or know someone else who might. There is a thought that when people say no, you need to try to uncover why and continue to push them into thinking they need what you have to sell. No, just accept no and move on.
- Know what objections people have that if you uncover them early on, they may be a yes. Now this sounds contrary to the previous rule, but it is different. No means no, but when someone shows you some interest, then gives you objections, she is telling you that she may be interested but needs more information. Plan out what the possible objections are (the ones you’ve heard before) and be pro-active in addressing those objections. For example, let’s say you work in an industry where there are many coaches, some not-so-good and others, like yourself, who are fabulous. Your lady buyer may have had a bad experience with a coach before she met you, so make her feel comfortable by calling that out and saying “I’ve had many customers who have worked with other coaches, and what they tell me they like about working with me is that I have 20 years of experience in my field and I work with them until they get the results we agreed on. One thing that sets me apart is that I have a very thorough research analysis with them and spend lots of time consulting before I start any work. I want to make sure I completely understand my customer so I can deliver the best possible result. Is that something that is of interest to you too?”
- Give value first. Write articles or blogs that you post for free. Develop a series of tips on audio your lady buyers can download for free. Offer a brief consultation, if time permits. Host free teleclasses, webinars, or live seminars and give super tips. Give lots and lots of value to your future customers because it is how you build relationships and let them get to know you first. This increases confidence and likability so when you have your first sales conversation, it is super comfortable because you are like old friends.
Start developing what you are going to say by asking yourself these three questions, 1) what do I love about what I do? 2) How do I help other women? 3) What are the common objections I hear? When you know the answer, your sales conversation becomes much easier and more smoothly delivered.
Finally, make the sales calls, whether they are in person or over the phone. Your lady buyer is waiting out there for you to reach her, you will be surprised at how much she needs you and she’s been waiting for you to call all along. A note about email… everyone gets 100’s or 1000’s a day. Find another way to break through the clutter… see #4 above, or call, or send a card in snail mail. It will help you set yourself apart from everyone else.
About the author: Jennifer “is a powerful, enlightening, positive force to be around!” Jennifer Darling is a business growth coach. She has worked with 1,000s of small businesses in strategic planning to grow their businesses. She provides consulting for small to medium businesses, and personal development coaching for individuals. Jennifer possesses 20 years in sales, marketing, leadership and personal development for companies such as NBC, CBS, and Comcast. She holds a Master’s Degree in Management and a Bachelor’s Degree in Advertising & Promotion.