The business owner as salesperson

Every business owner has to first be a salesperson. Selling their idea, understanding customers, selling products and services — it all starts and ends with the owner. And as a business owner, you will never stop selling to the stakeholders in your business — customers, shareholders, staff, advisors, and so on.

Follow these straightforward tips on the success of selling and you’ll be on your way to being a better salesperson — even if you currently hate the idea of selling to someone and you haven’t yet started your business.

To be a good salesperson, you only need three qualities: a willingness to listen, an honest passion for your product, and a desire to help someone with a problem that your product or service will solve.

There are ten steps in preparing for, making, and following up a sale that are common to every business:

1. Know your ideal client. This will probably already be identified in your marketing plan, but the first thing you need to know is who is your ideal client so you don’t waste valuable selling time talking to the wrong client.

2. Where are they? By analysing your market, you should be able to find both individuals and groups within your target audience.

3. Create a lead. Either by directly reaching out to the prospect or through your marketing, there is the process of creating an individual lead or prospect.

4. Make an appointment. If you have a retail shop, the customer might come to you. For other businesses, this may involve setting an appointment with the prospect to call on them.

5. Prepare for the appointment. Do you have everything you need to share with the prospect? Is your shop always ready for customers?

6. Turn up. Being on time for appointments is both a skill and a respect point.

7. Listen more than you talk. Don’t make appointments a one-way flow. You’ll learn more about a client’s needs and wants in relation to your product by asking the right questions, and then shutting up and taking note of the answers.

8. Ask for the business and handle objections. Know how to ask for the business, and how to handle any objections the client may have.

9. Know when to fold. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, a customer won’t buy — don’t push it! And if you know the customer’s problem won’t be solved by your product or service — say so. People love integrity.

10. Hard work starts after the sale. It’s tempting as a salesperson to think the job is done when the deal is signed but this is when the hard work starts. Ensure your business delivers on the promises you’ve made to the client.

You might need some training and systems in each step, but keep this in mind as a framework and you’ll be able to build a strong sales system in your small business.

If you can sell, you can build a business. Learn how in our Basics of Business Ownership Course. Enrol today!

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