Sales isn’t something you can master in an hour. Yet, so many entrepreneurs seek those insider sales secrets to help them skip ahead and make more money faster. Sure, you’ll find some great insights and helpful tips on Google and social media. Do they feel like insider secrets you’ve never heard before or does your search result in more of the same?
Before I started my business, I’d been in sales for over 20 years, working for large national companies with huge budgets for intensive and effective sales training. To this day that has helped me navigate objections, problem solve without being manipulative, and avoid “selling” products, so I can help my clients solve problems. What I’ve learned over that 20 year span has now become second nature. My colleagues and clients tell me what I know, and share, feels more like sales secrets.
Here’s the thing – they really are not sales secrets but a plethora of experiences I have accumulated over time.
Now, as more and more individuals start their own business, I do witness marketing and sales blending together. If you can recognize the differences and be able to clearly separate what role each plays, which can feel complicated, your ahead of your peers.
What is the difference between marketing & selling?
Let’s summarize a few things quickly. Marketing, at its core, is about creating awareness that you exist in the marketplace.
Selling is the art of building relationships, developing trust and delivering what you promise.
Marketing looks like:
- Your billboards when you drive into a downtown core.
- The huge banner of your local finance company across the back of a transit bus.
- Your local donut shop banner in the local arena.
- Radio ads promoting a special incentive or event
- Google ads promoting your services and/or products
- Your website enticing visitors to take action
Selling looks like:
- Booking appointments
- Discovery calls
- Proposal writing and presenting the proposal
- Handling objections
- Call to action statements on social media
Marketing isn’t about selling. When you begin to mix selling strategies and tactics, with what you feel is marketing, things can start to go funky.
Now, if you are a micro business and you find yourself wearing all the hats you are doing both. By keeping yourself in the know, and identifying the difference, will help you when it’s time to map out strategies for your business. The key is to remember the role they both have.
5 insider sales secrets to selling that help you gain trust
1. Selling is about helping.
A client will categorize a great salesperson as more of an advisor. A guide. Someone they trust that regularly guides them into making buying decisions for the good of the business. Here, for the sake of this blog, when I say a great salesperson, I am referring to someone who really cares about their clients. Not a bro marketer. When this person starts getting pushy with potential clients, talks about how the client’s business will crash without their help, gets cranky when the client has a nerve to question the validity of your product, or goes over the deep end with scare tactics, you’ve lost the sale. Go home George. The client is done here. Bye-bye.
Your potential client is testing you. They are looking to see if you are listening. They may even be testing you to see how you react to objections. If you hear what they say and if you are in fact capable of helping them solve a problem, and they can feel it, you’re in for the long haul.
Sales Secret: As soon as you begin to ramble about how great your product or service is of how many awards your company has on the mantle, you’re out.
2. If you confuse you lose.
As a certified StoryBrand guide, this sentence speaks volumes. If you want to win a client, ditch trying to load them up on everything you know. All you’re doing is overwhelming them with your knowledge but not confirming you can help them with the thing they need help with.
Sales secret: Don’t drag the kitchen sink to an awareness party. It’s too much. Leave your bullet points for a resume.
3. Sending proposals via email and not walking them through it is a rookie mistake.
Your potential client’s need to have their questions answered typically peaks when they open the proposal you’ve sent via email. If the ROI is not clear, they will immediately look at price first.
Who do you want to answer these questions – You? or the guy at the gym? You? Or your buddy who doesn’t have background intel on the subject?
Sales secret: A best kept secret is to stop sending the proposals for your prospects to read on their own. If you can’t review the proposal in person, I highly recommend sending it just as you begin your online meeting and review it together. This way, when questions come up, you can answer them on the spot.
4. You set the agenda for the meeting.
Let your client know what to expect at all times. Lay out the agenda for the discovery call, the follow up call, walk them through what your process looks like. Confirm the time of the follow-up and highlight the fact this is valuable time for both you and them. This will help you avoid no-shows and cancellations.
Sales secret: By explaining the importance of the appointment booked and what will derive from it- and explaining that should something come up, you require x amount of notice as your time is valuable as well. You are not a desperate salesperson. You are a valuable advisor here to help and you also have other clients in the que.
5. Make sure all decision makers are all together (if possible).
Once you leave, you want everyone to have heard the same thing. Thinking one person can then replay exactly what you said to other decision makers is a rookie mistake. They are not your personal salesperson. They are not you. And can not answer questions. It is a known fact that their banter they’ll have after you leave often leads into doubt that your proposal will work simply because of the questions that will come up and the assumed answers. Doubt in your proposal equals less chance you’re coming back.
Sales secret: Do not leave it up to others in the organization to sell for you. They do not have your interest in mind. They have their own and are trying to mitigate risk. Answer all questions with everyone in the room.
A client centric approach is the foundation of all sales secrets.
At the end of the day, these 5 points can be seen as part of a regular unconscious routine or they feel like lifeline secrets to selling. It all depends how much experience you’ve had in front of decision makers and your capability to create trust, be able to decipher information they share with you and asking the right questions to uncover their true story.
So, don’t stress if you feel you are in learning mode. That’s a great thing. It isn’t until we stop learning about our clients and understanding what they need, that things go in the crapper.
Remember, approach your client from a place of wanting to help them and less about selling something. By using permission based marketing you’ll feel better about the conversation and so will your potential client.