In my last blog post I talked about starting a small business in today’s economy and the importance that capital and passion play in your endeavor’s future success. Although too much capital and lack of passion can have a seriously negative effect on your endeavor, one other thing also plays a significant role in your probability of success – sales skills.
In talking with Dave VanAntwerp (www.creativepartners.com) via email and Roger Blackwell (www.rogerblackwell.com) in person about this we all were able to agree that sales skills are often overlooked in the initial planning of a startup. Simply put, either you or a very trusted partner must possess the sales skills necessary to sell your business’s products or services. If this isn’t the case – no matter how much better of a mousetrap you’re bringing to market – no amount of capital, marketing, or passion can help you succeed.
The good news about this is that this blog is about sales, in addition to marketing and websites. Although each of these areas can be crucial to the success of any business, it is skill in sales that is likely the single most determining factor in getting your business off the ground. Whether you have those sales skills or not – there are a couple of things that can help you succeed when it comes to selling your business’s products and/or services.
First, stay focused on the customer/prospect, not on your product or service. No prospect cares about your product outside of what your product can do for them or their organization. In order to succeed, you need to figure out what problem the prospect is trying to solve; this can be a “pain” they are trying to avoid or a “gain” that they are trying to attain. Once you’ve determined that, it’s up to you to help the prospect understand how your product will help them achieve their objectives.
Second, remember that you should do most of the listening when trying to sell a prospect, not most of the talking. God has blessed us with two ears and one mouth. Remember this when it comes to selling to prospects — talk less, listen more. One of the most common mistakes sales people make is to talk too much about their product or service before understanding the prospects true needs and objectives.
Ignore the old sales advice of selling solely on features, advantages and benefits (FAB). Each of these are important, although only in how they help the prospect attain their objectives through using your product or service.