Many solopreneurs spend a lot of their valuable time doing sales introductions. Big mistake. Huge.
Meanwhile, on the receiving end, I am spending an increasing amount of time saying no to all those people trying to sell me things.
It was the same when I had a business. We were continually deluged by sales introduction calls. Calls that all of us instantly knew were a waste of time within the opening sentence.
It is the same now, the only difference being that most of the approaches are done through social media.
It is one of life’s great mysteries to me that this degree of completely and utterly terrible sales introductions still exists. Success rates are minuscule, abuse is high. Why, why, why do people still do it?
There are innumerable subtleties in sales and great salespeople develop over a period of time, but you can lift your game unrecognizably but following 3 basics.
A large number of the approaches I get these days are through social media. Unsolicited messages on LinkedIn or Messenger are particularly busy. That’s OK, we live in a digital world.
What is not okay, is that the seller has pounced on your name through a comment somewhere or a keyword search and (incredibly) has not taken two tiny seconds to skim over your profile.
For example, I write full-time now. I have divested myself of the businesses I have had in the past, including one I scaled. I draw on that information to write my books and articles. It says so on my social media introductions.
Yet, like King Canute, I am besieged by unstoppable waves of sales introductions: people telling me I need them to take my business to the next level, I need their lessons on how to scale. They will help my business sell more products, and increase my turnover. Or they will write content for me.
I am never, ever going to buy from them. I have no need.
We all know about overcoming objections. But a true case of zero need is a non-starter. You are never going to sell prints of Van Gogh to a contemporary art museum, selling oil to Greenpeace, or content writing to a writer.
I understand the whole argument that sales is a numbers game but it is more importantly a percentages game.
Even a small amount of research increases your chances of success.
Aggression on Speed
Being told no, with varying degrees of rudeness and cruelty, can be soul-destroying, I know.
I did plenty of telephone sales in my time. Hard sales where you were given a list and told to get on with making sales, or booking appointments and this way before the luxury of the internet allowing that research and initial qualifying of prospects. It is hard not to want to throw down the phone and howl after the hundredth rejection.
And because too many people don’t bother with that initial research, they still get the abuse. To combat it, they develop hides like the proverbial rhinoceros.
They have a sales introduction script (disaster anyway – all the same and can be spotted several miles off) and they are determined that they are going to ask you questions leading up to the inevitable “Which day and time would be best to book our meeting”.
So determined and focused are they, that they don’t read the answers.
They open with a pitch, what they do, and why don’t we connect. No relationship building. I had a typical one this week, and I answered as I try hard to do, politely explaining why the offer was of no relevance.
The response – “What is the best time for a meeting?”
When I asked why, the answer was to see how my business could be scaled. When I explained again this was something I had done in the past and wasn’t relevant to my writing now, the penny dropped. Or so I thought.
The first response was “So you have no need of us.”
But so deeply ingrained were the pushy tactics, when I didn’t respond, a further and unabashed response was added. “You are welcome whenever you feel free to text”.
It isn’t ever, ever going to happen.
Because not being listened to makes people angry.
Creating total distrust
An angry person will never trust you. Rushing the approach within a sales introduction process will never build trust. Those two are a given.
Nor will you trust the other type, the ones who after a couple of attempts to persevere with their questions, being met with a firm and well-reasoned no, resort to the please, please, please approach. Desperation never inspires trust either.
But there is much more to it than that.
People make buying decisions by tick-boxing the logical reasons to buy and then choosing on emotional ones.
If you don’t generate the rapport, and the empathy that results in an emotional connection, you won’t get a sale.
If you are selling business to business, the impression you make within the sales introduction will be a colossal factor to even be considered. If you have established that you are screamingly unprofessional, can’t be bothered to take the time to do a job properly, and don’t listen, you are unlikely to get people jumping up and down wanting you to be part of their company’s journey.
Changing your sales introductions is easy
Stopping making these mistakes in the sales introduction process may seem dangerous if you have been too heavily indoctrinated on some terrible sales course.
But trust me – they will be a game changer.
Imagine speaking to a smaller number of people who – thanks to your research – might actually be in the market to buy. Less work, increased chance of success.
Imagine how it would feel to have pleasurable, get-to-know-someone conversations to check the synergy, way before you get around to selling. Listening to them because you find it interesting and realize it is relevant. And thereby not making people angry, getting less abuse.
And your sales introductions getting less rejections, because, in the course of the pleasant conversations, you will be weeding out more non-starters, and or getting a better idea of what will resonate should you decide to pitch.
Imagine having other people want to do business with you, and retain their respect for you. View working with you as an opportunity for collaboration between people who trust each other.
Of course, there are many more aspects of sales to learn along the way: understanding value as opposed to price: getting the timing right; and different forms of closing. But you can perfect these over time or join a professional body such as the Sales and Marketing Institute.
If you nail these three alone within your sales introductions, you will find life changes.
If you want less rejection, more meaning to what you do, more respect, and greater success, make these three easy changes.
No training required.