Let’s be honest: selling has a bad reputation. Especially when it’s not done right.
We have interviewed a sales expert to understand why the majority of us thinks so badly about sales and what we can do to change this perception.
Stefanie Egger is a sales coach who helps entrepreneurs and business consultants raise their business potential and unleash their sales power with focus, mindset and a structured sales process to strengthen themselves with a clear goal to achieve.
Stefanie, who are you and how did you decide to focus on sales?
I’m an entrepreneur based in Switzerland and my vision is to change the life of 1 million women by helping them standing in strong for themselves and making a change with their business to create a better world.
I grew up as the oldest daughter of an entrepreneurial family and had sales in my life since being a baby. Over the years, I studied business administrations in Germany and France, travelled Europe during my consulting – and salsa social dancing career and found my home base in Switzerland where I live with my husband and my horses.
My omnipresent sales focus comes from the firm belief that sales is the core foundation of any business. Without sales, you do not survive neither in business nor in your life. You are always selling something, and mostly it is yourself that you sell. Sales for me is like serving my clients to find the best solution for their problem and my mindset is driven towards constant value creation for my clients.
Why are we all so afraid of selling and why does selling have such a bad reputation?
Sales got nowadays a bad reputation, because it is done mostly totally wrong by totally untrained people who are hiding behind shiny presentations, new gadgets, incredible difficult wordings, pressuring their customers and so on, instead of just being themselves and presenting the value they can create to their customers.
And out of this comes: sales is manipulation, because with the wrong process and belief behind it, you manipulate the customers to buy something from you that they neither want nor need.
Most sales people are focusing on presenting themselves and their fantastic product instead of asking their customers or prospects about their current situation, their dreams and desires and are only figuring out afterwards if they are both a good fit for each other.
Good selling comes always with presenting a solution for a problem.
The fear of selling often comes from the fact that you need to show your vulnerability to the targets, it includes telling the people the truth about themselves and it includes stepping outside your comfort zone and standing in for what you believe is true in this world.
The second reason for our fear is that we don’t get a good training and don’t have a structured process when it comes to doing sales calls and closing deals. We have never trained on the train field but went directly to the battle field – and we didn’t do the math and numbers game of sales.
If you are not working with a proven system for client attraction, nor with a clearly designed target avatar, you’ll need to deal with the famous 3% rule of closing a deal – which means: for 100 calls you make, you’ll get 3 closes maximum – which is pretty bad if you go through 97 no’s before you reach your first close.
Third reason for being afraid of sales is that most of the people we meet don’t have a clue about a structured sales script and how it works to bring your potential customers from one necessary step to the other – like checking out where they are now, what their problems are, what their dreams and desires are and how you can help them to close this gap with your product or service.
To make it clear, we sell the entire time – if we know about it or not. I’m currently selling you that reading this article is worth your time, your kids sell you on buying them things they want, your prospects sell you on NOT buying your products and so on and so on. We are selling ALL THE TIME – so start get a good relationship with sales.
What is the difference between selling a product / a service and creating a solution for your client’s problems?
It is a total myth that people buy products or services. When you are in coaching for example – people don’t buy your coaching hour. Nope, they don’t. What they buy is a dream of a potential future situation where they are able to behave in a different way, where they are more admired by their peers or where they earn more money.
The same with weight loss – people don’t buy weight loss products but they buy the hope to become as attractive as the fitness model on the cover and that this will positively impact their self-esteem, that they will be loved from many and maybe that they will find their dream partner.
Have you ever wondered why your competitor is selling his or her product like crazy even if it is proven to be worse than yours? You might want to check out, what he or she is telling their customers and how their wording and copy writing is compared to yours. And NO it is NOT about the price – not at ALL.
Price is a myth and you are only arguing about the price when you are not able to trigger the real values of your clients. If your desire to achieve a certain future situation is so high and you are convinced that a specific solution (aka product or service) will help you to achieve it, then you’ll buy it. Just have a look at your IPhone!
Therefore, have a look at what you are selling your clients and find a way to discover the silver bullet single super problem you are solving with it. If it is called “a six weeks online program” you better get your sales strategy clarified.
You were talking in the beginning about having a structured process for selling. What is the one you use?
It’s called the 5 secrets of a structured sales process to succeed in your client’s attraction.
And now we are sharing some gold with you – how to create a structured sales process for your client attraction.
First of all, you need to identify your target customers and find a huge problem you are solving –
a. delivering value and creating a solution as a trigger element.
You can do this via direct outreach to your niche, via Social Media attraction like Facebook posts, Facebook ads or any other method where you get in touch with your prospects directly. It is a must to bring your prospects to the second step now which is creating more value by
b. giving further information.
This could be done by a link to a value video on your website or anything else where you give further information about the topic to build trust via interaction. After this
c. you link your customers to apply for a call with you.
via an appointment software
d. you follow with a survey
with some questions about your customer’s current and desired situation, and end up with
e. diagnostic call
where you identify if you are a good fit for each other and close the client.
This process helps you to get more qualified leads on the phone and to grow your closings on the phone because you’ll get only the leads through which are really interested and who want to make a relevant change in their situation.
Why we should immediately stop talking about ourselves and only listen and focus on the client’s needs and desires?
As we have seen already in the earlier questions, your customers are not really interested in knowing about your details, their key focus is to get their problem solved.
However, you need to present some information or qualifications about you and your solution to build trust.
It is key to not bore your customer with your own stories but to help them come from their current problem to their desired solution and prove your journey with testimonials, some figures and everything you need to build trust with them.
The key word in the last sentence is THEM – always focus on what is important for your customers to know – the bait must taste the worm, not the angler.
So step away from focusing on all your super achievements in the past which have nothing to do with the client’s current or desired situation but get a deep dive in really and honestly understanding their current challenges, build trust and position yourself as the optimal solution to bring them from their current situation to their desired situation.
At the end, sales is a very emotional thing and buying something is always an emotional trigger – go for the emotions of your clients and find out, why they want to get their problems done.
It’s your responsibility as a sales person and as any other entrepreneur and business owner to be clear about this – because if you screw the pitch and you might have the best solution for your customers – they need to get a lower quality version of it from someone else – therefore work on your mindset and make sales your best capacity!