S and S Equals Success

Selling and Sincerity, two words you may not freely associate with each other, especially set against the backdrop of the current economic and political landscape. Selling, for many, conjures up negative emotions, thoughts and fears both as a buyer and should-be ‘seller’. We don’t like pushy, smarmy sales people trying to foist their products and services onto us and we sure as heck wouldn’t want to be labelled as such ourselves.

So here’s the dilemma – how do small business owners, often the main or only sales person in the business, operate successfully in challenging, competitive marketplaces and get people to buy from them, without compromising their integrity and values?

The simple answer – Sincerely Selling! The word sincerity, (meaning genuineness, honesty, unaffectedness), lies at the heart of great selling; truly getting to grips with your customer’s genuine needs and delivering relevant solutions which offer real value and benefit. Understanding and getting back to the basics of what selling is all about, and creating distance from the dangerous sales stereotypes that have dragged the profession into disrepute, will enable many business owners adopt a can do approach to selling. Instead of fearing the ‘S’ word and burying heads in the sand waiting for business to walk through the door, it’s time to get proactive and engage…with integrity and sincerity.

The new world of Successful Selling for Small Business is all about a clear focus and commitment to building value-based relationships. Once you have complete clarity about the relevance and value of what you do for a certain audience, it behoves you to spread the word to the right people, in the right way and ensure they get you and what you could do for them. Otherwise you’re doing them a disservice – not giving them the opportunity of choosing you.

Let me clarify: if you are to sell with integrity and achieve results, the principle questions you must ask yourself are:

1. What is my core value; what do I bring to others as a result of my product, service or me; how much better off are they as a result of doing business with me; how amazing is this?

2. Who specifically has the most to gain from this and by how much: can they afford me or find the means of affording me; where are they and how will I connect and get across clearly this ROI (return on investment)?

Successful Selling is about taking a customer centric view on everything you do. Forget the blood, sweat and tears you’ve poured into your product or business; the customer isn’t interested in this. He wants to know the real value from his perspective; value in a selling context is all about what people take out, not what you put in. Think about the pain-gain equation – what problems or pain do you help a customer remove or what benefits and gains do you add? Now sum this up and if the pain removed and gain added is greater than the cost…kerching! You have a valuable proposition and now you need to spread the word. This means getting proactive and not sitting back and waiting to be discovered.

Once clear on your value, the critical bit is then to focus on who – your specific target audience. Selling to anyone and everyone, regardless of need, is a short-term and insincere approach that will only bring short-term rewards, as well as grief. The real crunch is to find the best customer fit for your product. The rest is easy – well easier!

I don’t underestimate the challenge of getting people to part with their cash in the current climate. However, once again, forget phoney sales techniques and focus on adding value to each unique sales situation and customer. Go back to good old fashion basics and see yourself as a sales-assistant – i.e. helping your customer to buy well and hopefully buy from you. If you’re the right seller, talking to the right buyer about the right product which services real need and adds obvious value, the next logical step is a sale. But don’t forget to ask.

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