I know many people don’t like being “sold to.” And many businesspeople really dislike the feeling of having to “sell” others on their products or services. They may have a great product, a great idea, a great service, and yet they have a hard time communicating that to the prospective client or customer. My friend, Conscious Communication Coach & Speaker, Scott deMoulin, says we should think of it as enrolled not sold, because our goal is not to sell someone the facts, features, and benefits about what we do. We want to enroll them for their needs and wants with our services and products as their solution.
Often people will engage in a version of premature solicitation when they try and push the sale before they have built a relationship. We must remember that the foundation of the relationship is trust. Stephen, M.R. Covey, author of “The Speed of Trust,” said that when trust exists, the speed of business goes much faster, and the cost of business is reduced dramatically. And the opposite is true; when trust isn’t there, it’s more expensive to advertise and market, and then business slows way down. Trust is a critical ingredient in sales; it is a force multiplier.
Overcome Fear with Preparation
Whether someone is going to be speaking from the stage at an event, speaking in front of fellow members at their business networking group, or getting ready to talk with a prospective client, they need to prepare. Preparation can help alleviate the anticipation, anxiety, or fear about doing something they don’t feel ready for. When you prepare yourself for what you’re about to do and you prepare for any possible change in the upcoming conversation, fear doesn’t have to be an emotional response.
Scott says it is typical to feel adrenaline, the fight or flight energy that happens when you get ready to go on stage. The question is, how do you interpret that energy? One person interprets it as fear, and they freeze. Another person interprets it as excitement, and they know they’re now ready to go. When you’ve done your preparation, if you know the anatomy and syntax of a good quality speech, and you have a mind-map so you don’t lose your spot, it’s very easy to overcome that fear. Change the meaning of the fear and change the outcome.
The One-to-Many Approach
For successful business networking, you want to get to know your referral partners – the members of your networking group. You begin to build relationships with them during the regular group meetings and through individual one-to-one meetings. At your weekly chapter meeting, you want to educate your fellow members and explain what it is that you do. You are not going to the meeting to sell, you are there to educate them on how to identify a potential referral for your business outside of the weekly meeting.
I recommend that you share stories that talk about the impact your service or product has for clients. Andy Bounds calls this “the Afters”. What does someone’s life or situation look like after you do what you do? How do they feel after doing business with you?
At some point, you may decide that you want to add more business opportunities and communicate one-to-many through a lunch-and-learn event or a podcast. These are great ways to reach many people at one time. If you can educate rather than sell, if you can ask great questions instead of just telling what you do, you’re going to have better engagement and more enrollment for your products and services.
When you can leverage yourself by talking to multiple potential customers at a time, that’s working smart, not hard.
Avoid This Mistake
One of the biggest mistakes professionals make when enrolling clients is trying to sell the facts and features to someone. That is not why people buy. Through education, sharing the trends and latest information about your industry, and understanding their needs and wants, you build trust in the relationship to be able to ask. Don’t tell, don’t sell – ask for their reasons rather than giving them yours.
Remember, referrals are really about enrollment as opposed to selling. You want to position yourself as an expert, not a salesperson.
I’d like to hear your thoughts, share them below.