By Alvin Mason
All entrepreneurs are salespersons. You have to sell your idea to banks or investors and you will have to sell your products or services to potential customers. Some things the entrepreneur needs to always remember when selling are:
- You need superior knowledge of the pertinent area.
- Be honest in assessments and opinions.
- Remember you are not only selling a product or service, you are selling yourself.
- There are basically three categories of people you will encounter when selling.
When attempting to sell your product or service to a potential customer or attempting to sell your idea to a potential investor your knowledge of the requisite area is crucial to closing a deal or persuading a potential investor. Pertinent information presented in a logical manner will help persuade some customers more than any other sales tactics.
Honesty is the best policy. If there is a question that you don't know the answer to, you should say, "I don't know". Please don't make up something, because you might be in an area where the person who asked the question has some expertise. You can also answer, "I don't know let me check on that and get back to you". Then you must follow-up. An honest assessment of any situation will be beneficial if you actually get the contract. For instance if you tell a potential customer that you can do something and there is no problem, then when you get the job the customer will have those expectations. You will probably have a dissatisfied customer if you don't deliver on the customer's expectation. Always state an opinion as an opinion. Qualify your opinion by saying, "in my opinion".
When you are making a presentation, formal or informal, the person or audience you are talking to is also evaluating you. Of course they are evaluating the facts you present in determining if they want what you are offering. Understand they are scrutinizing you the sales person or presenter. Your knowledge base and honesty will be part of that scrutiny. When a person likes you, they are more likely to do business with you.
Three Categories of People You Will Encounter When Selling
When selling there are generally three types of people you will run into:
- The person who cannot say no. This person has a hard time saying no for whatever reason sometimes it is their personality or they may be a people pleaser who will buy something from you just to please you. If you have scruples and integrity you will not sell this person something they don't need. Your sales results are not more important than your integrity.
- The firm no. When this person says no, he or she means no. Trying to convince them of the benefits of what you are selling is a waste of time. Once you determine you have a firm no, be courteous and move on. The best you can do with a firm no is to plant a seed for the future that will benefit some future sales person.
- The reasonably prudent person. This person will evaluate what you are selling and weigh the benefits of the product or service to their particular needs. This person is evaluating you and your knowledge base and honesty will benefit you. This is the time you are actually selling. The power of persuasion is important but the determining factor will be if the product or service will benefit them and if they can afford what you are offering.
The ability to sell and/or the power of persuasion will help immensely with selling. Another important aspect of selling or persuading is that you the presenter actually believe in what you are advocating.
A poor sales presentation can be overcome by a superior product or service and/or a crucial need for such product or service.
Note: Many sales positions emphasize closing the sale or deal. If results and/or profits are all you are concerned about then by all means focus on closing the sale.
You the entrepreneur should consider the following:
Can you be persuaded to make a purchase especially a major purchase after an initial presentation? Do you need to take some time and think about a purchase? Would it be somewhat hypocritical to expect a customer to make an immediate decision when you never would?
Many sales training philosophies teach you to close the sale after the presentation because the chances of making the sale later are very slim.
Of course you are in business to make money. However the best part of making a sale is a satisfied customer. Customer satisfaction comes when you honor your promises as to the product or service and the customer feels they made the right decision.
Good Luck on selling your product, or your services, or yourself.