When I set up KHES Ltd the one thing I didn’t look forward to was the whole sales process. Problem is, without it no business can reach its potential.
There just seems to be something “wrong” about contacting people out of the blue and trying to persuade them to part with their hard earned cash. Yes I believe I am offering a great service, and yes I have no difficulty in explaining how my service can save time and money for businesses so they can more profitable. But when I start saying these things how do I get past that glazed look that says “oh god, he’s trying to sell me something” or even worse, the muffled sound when someone puts their hand over the receiver to get on with their busy day while you are left talking into the air!
Some of you may know my sales “guru” Andy Hall from AHEM – Marketing and he was always saying things like “people buy from people” and “when selling don’t pretend to be what you aren’t.” still the question comes “that’s fine but how do I start the discussion that leads to a sale?”
The answer struck me recently, “Don’t”. Just get to know people who may need your service or who know people who might (so that’s everyone then!) talk to them, if they like you, and you like them, they will either buy your service when they need it, or refer you to their friends.
I know it’s not rocket science and a few readers will wonder how such a slow learner got past his 11 plus (yes I am that old), but for me I avoid all the angst by networking. But the next bit of learning only came a couple of months ago. If all you do is go to networking meetings and wait for people to decide to buy your service, your business will grow very slowly indeed. I’ve had to learn to cultivate relationships follow up with people I meet and learn about them, which is just as hard work as any other form of sales, it’s just that I enjoy it more, and it doesn’t scare me.
But what if the thought of going into a room full of strangers fills you with dread, your mouth goes dry, your heart starts pumping and you lose the power of speech?
Well there are several solutions many of them involve alcohol or drugs but networking when drunk is not usually advisable. The thing is that was how I felt at first as I was so desperate to tell people about my services. What I did was change my approach and go to a meeting to find out about other people rather than tell them about me. I found with that approach I still ended up talking about my service, but only when people asked me to, which felt a lot less pushy.
Anyway, here’s a thought, at a meeting last night I was told by a couple of people how nervous they were of networking, so how about setting up a networking taster seminar where experienced networkers can help new business owners get over these nerves?