Sales is really tough. It forces you to confront situations that are uncomfortable. To call people that don't have time to talk to you. To have them challenge whether your business can provide value.
Like a lot of people, sales doesn't come naturally to me. As an introvert, I can rush through explanations, avoid pushing deals forwards and worry about the impact my performance is having on the business.
The truth is that very few people are naturally good at sales. The majority of business owners have worked hard to improve their pitch and build confidence - it's a process we all have to work at.
Here are three practical steps you can take to help reduce anxiety about sales.
Practice telling stories about your business
Stories will help people understand what you do and why you do it. They can also help you talk with confidence, whether you're explaining what you do to a stranger at a dinner party or a prospective client.
Try to think of stories that can illustrate the key elements of your offering, rather than using a factual explanation. Perhaps talk about the way a particular customer used a feature, or something from your portfolio that you're particularly proud of.
Knowing you can explain specific product features or business processes is reassuring. It helps get over the fear that you won't have important information or will struggle to know what to say.
Prepare for each opportunity
Think about the problem your business solves for each particular customer. If you can, practice how you might explain the value you offer and deal with any potential rejections before you talk to them.
B2B sales processes normally involve multiple contact points. Try to remove the emotion from the initial call. Instead, focus on understanding whether there's an opportunity for this prospect. After this, look for the small victories in moving the sale forward (a contact confirms they're responsible for commissioning the service or wants to receive a proposal, for example).
The knowledge that every sales pitch won't result in a sale can be liberating too. You are going to repeat the process a lot, and this can help reduce the pressure you feel to win every deal you pitch.
Take advantage of your emotional state
It's important to consider when potential customers in your industry will be able to talk to you. Don't phone a restaurant at lunchtime or a magazine on deadline day, for example.
When you've worked out the ideal time slots, try to think about when you'll be in the best mood. It can help to make calls after a period of exercise, for example. Booking in time to make calls will also help force you to take action.
It's really helpful to know that lots of business owners struggle with sales. Try to remember that everyone has to practice to improve.
Sponsored post. Copyright © 2018 Chris Goodfellow, COO of The Pitch