One of the biggest issues many of my coaching clients face is how to do sales. Whether they are freelance writers or yoga teachers, it seems as though the thought of sales immediately makes people cringe.
Here's the stark reality of the situation: If you want to make money you're going to have to learn to sell. Period.
My clients are mostly afraid of coming off as pushy and sleazy. Truth be told, it's not like their fear is totally unfounded. At this rate, we've all had a terrible sales experience, whether it was someone spamming our inbox or our well-meaning friend who joined an MLM and keeps asking us to join them.
But, just like there are people who are doing sales poorly, there are plenty of people across all industries who are also doing it very well. In fact, when sales is done properly it's the least pushy thing imaginable.
Unfortunately, most people aren't taught to do sales very well. Most people also don't know where to seek the proper education or how to find a sales mentor.
As such, they're probably making one of the following mistakes without even knowing it:
Mistake #1: You think sales is only about money.
It took me a long time to truly understand that sales is no more than sharing a solution with someone who has a problem.
And while it sometimes takes a little convincing on my part to get my coaching clients to understand this, when they finally get it their sales go from pushy and uncomfortable to easy and sometimes even fun.
While money is a reality of sales, it's only one part of one very long process. In fact, it's not even the main objective. The main objective is to make sure your prospect gets the help they need.
Sometimes that even looks like admitting you're not qualified and referring them elsewhere. Additionally, you're not done selling when the money hits your bank account. That's when you actually have to deliver and keep your customers happy.
When sales is done from this perspective you end up fostering the one thing you need to have people pay you anyway: A relationship based on trust and respect.
Mistake #2: You don't really understand your market.
I can't tell you how many people come to me saying they've been taught to just "share" their service or product with friends and family and the money will come rolling in. Or, here's another one, "Just post your stuff on your personal Facebook page and you'll build a business."
Here's a thought. What if your friends and family have no want or need for what you're selling? Then you're just wasting your time and probably spamming them in the process. That's not sales, that's just hoping someone - anyone - will buy something from you.
In order to do sales properly, you must understand your market. What do they need? What do they want? What language do they use? What are the obstacles they are facing? What fears do they have? What do they wish they had? What social media channels do they use?
The moment you can answer these questions is the moment you go from trying to get anyone to give you money to creating an actual strategy.
Mistake #3: You're too attached.
I left the most difficult one for last. The truth is you can learn sales techniques and create a solid strategy, but if you're too attached to the outcome it won't matter.
Sales is a bit of an energetic exchange. If your mouth seems to be asking for the sale confidently but your mind is freaking out over rent, you'll have a harder time making the sale. Your prospect can often unconsciously smell your fear.
Additionally, being attached to whether or not you'll make some money usually causes people to sabotage themselves anyway. That's why it's so important to detach yourself from the situation as much as you can. I personally do this by focusing on the person I'm speaking to and reminding myself that at the end of the day, it's really not about me.
Speaking as a former sales-phobic business owner, it was noticing these mistakes and then changing my perception that led to my current success with sales and negotiating. Once you understand these three concepts, your sales calls will become much smoother.