Susan Martin

Article Summary:

If you're a business owner who dislikes, or is afraid of selling, here are 16 ways to overcome your concerns.

Are You Afraid Of Sales?

If you're like most business owners and self employed professionals you may have started a business because you have a particular talent, skill, or interest; not because you like selling. And although some sales people do start businesses, most business owners have no experience or training in sales.

Let's face it, no-one likes hearing the word "no". And just the mere mention of the word "selling" conjures up all kinds of negative images like the ubiquitous "used car salesman" or "bait and switch tactics" TV news shows are so fond of featuring. No wonder so many people are turned off by the thought of going out and selling their products or services.

On top of that, we all have our own personalities. Some people are naturally shy or lack self confidence. Others never really learned how to speak about their business in a way that is compelling to others. Whatever the reason, if you run a business or work for yourself you'll find it much easier to be successful if you sharpen your sales skills and overcome your dislike for selling.

If the situation I'm describing rings a bell, here are some steps you can take to turn your selling fears into successes:

  1. Get clear on your marketing positioning.
    It really helps the process when you understand things like what makes your product or service different, who your ideal client is and what kind of "pain" they're suffering that you can help alleviate. The clearer you are about what you really do for your customers and what results you can get for them, the easier it becomes for them to become paying customers.

  2. Pinpoint what it is that you're really afraid of.
    Sometimes it's not the "sale" per se that we're afraid of. Take a look the reasons behind the fear and come up for some solutions for dealing with it. Sometimes this might be an emotional fear you have about something like fear of success or fear of failure - it might even be. Or, it might be something practical like when something isn't quite right about what your product or service. Deal with the "gremlin" or inner voice that may be trying to sabotage your efforts.

  3. Use what you don't like to form a better strategy.
    Then, do the opposite! Think of ways that you can let people know about what you do without using the things that turn you off. One way of doing this is to think about times when salespeople did things that made you want to run the other way.

  4. Think about people you know and like who do it effortlessly.
    I'll be you know at least one person who seems to have lots of customers but doesn't engage in any of the selling behaviors you don't like. Think about things they're doing and how, and adapt them to suit your needs.

  5. Develop your personal style that you can feel really good about.
    I believe that anyone can develop a successful selling style as long as they can feel good about themselves while doing it. To do this, you may have to think differently about what you're doing. If the words "sales" or "selling" make you shudder, call it something else!

  6. Understand that selling is a numbers game, and that no-one closes every sale.
    Depending on what business you're in, you'll need to get in front of a certain number of people or businesses before finding the one that's right for you. Think of it as a process of selecting the customers that would most benefit from your product or service. Not everybody is a "qualified buyer" that's just part of it.

  7. Learn to look at sales rejection as an opportunity for learning.
    Instead of letting yourself be discouraged by a "no" use the experience as an opportunity to learn from instead. What went right? What did you learn that could be done differently the next time?

  8. Don't take it personally!
    There are lots of reasons people say no. Many of these reasons have nothing to do with you. It may be that they don't really need what you're offering, your timing isn't right, they're busy or preoccupied with other things, etc.

  9. Pinpoint the common objections, and address them.
    You can turn more prospects into paying customers by thinking about logical comebacks to common objections. For instance is your prospect is focused on "price" perhaps you can focus on value or return on investment so that they understand what they're really getting for their money.

  10. Boost your self-confidence and motivation.
    Think about all of the wonderful results your product or service has gotten for your customers. Don't confuse your "selling" abilities with the value customers get from buying from you. Remind yourself often about what so great about your offering. If you're not sure, ask your customers what they like about doing business with you.

  11. Think out of the box.
    You don't have to use pressure or become the stereotype "used car salesman" in order to get customers. You can learn to close deals without using pressure, in your own way and feel like you're in integrity while doing so.

  12. Set realistic goals.
    Although setting some goals is important, you don't want to set goals that are so high that you can't realistically achieve them. Instead, set some realistic goals, and then break them down into all of the steps you'll need to achieve them. Get real about what resources you'll need to have in place, and add a timeline and benchmarks to help you achieve them.

  13. Think about who you'd be willing to practice on first.
    A client of mine recently coined the phrase "safe list" for the list of people he knew in his industry that he felt comfortable enough with to try out his presentation. Once you've worked out the kinks, go onto trying it with the next level. Another approach is to work out the kinks with a bunch of people you really don't care about and will never see again. Whatever works!

  14. Celebrate your wins!
    Even if you haven't closed any deals yet, congratulate yourself whenever you make a good presentation, or feel you've improved the way you've handled something. People that keep focused on the positives find it easier to be successful.

  15. Realize that sometimes a "no" means "not yet" or "maybe".
    Find out the reasons behind a no by learning to ask questions, perhaps they need more info., perhaps they've got a lot on their plate right now, but can see the value and may be interested in the future. Make sure to get to the bottom of the no, and be sure to follow-up with them as necessary.

  16. And finally, just allow yourself to do it!
    Be willing to step outside your comfort zone. Psyche yourself up to try it and get out there, it really does get easier every time you do.
  17. Susan Martin created Business Sanity to help business owners and independent professionals, who struggle with marketing, management and productivity; want to increase profits, avoid burnout and learn how to run their business most effectively. To find out how you can make more money with less effort and stress; visit Susan on the web and subscribe to Business Sanity Tips.

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