As part of my work, I spend quite a lot of time coaching entrepreneurs, and small businesses and the one thing that everyone struggles with is sales. Every time I ask what the challenge is, I hear the same things over and over again, I'm afraid of this, and I'm afraid of that. Sales seems to be littered with fears that prevent us from closing the deal and generating the very revenue that our businesses depend on.
Now let me be clear about this, it's something I struggled with too, so I understand these fears, and I also know how irrational many of these fears are, but that doesn't mean that they don't stop me, and many others from building our businesses.
Here are five fears which may be holding you and your business back, and some ideas on how to overcome them.
Fear of rejection
Very few people like the idea of rejection, especially if it's about something that we care about, and given that many entrepreneurs are passionate about the good and services they sell, that rejection can hit hard. The reality is in sales rejection is the most likely outcome, and it can be an outcome that we face with customers who will eventually buy from us. There are dozens of studies and surveys showing that less than 2 percent of sales happen on the first call or discussion.
Try to detach yourself emotionally from the sale as this will make the impact of the 'no thank you' less painful. Maybe see the 'no' as a deferred yes, a step towards a yes that you need to go through or even as a 'not now.'
Remember everyone has the right to say no to any opportunity, and it's a rejection of the opportunity, not you.
Fear of interrupting/disturbing someone
We live in a world where everyone is busy; we all seem to have too much to do. But people can always find time to get a new solution, something that is going to help them and if you have a service or solution that can benefit them, then maybe the will be interested, although now is not the right time.
Look to respect that, and keep initial calls or conversations as short as possible, and look to arrange a time when they are free to go over the opportunity in more detail.
Fear that the product or service isn't that good
People never value what they know as much as others may value it, or see things in the same way. Many of my clients think that everyone sees's the world the way do and know the same things that they know. But it's not true. Take common sense, you think everyone knows is, but in reality, common sense is rarely common practice. But this thinking can hold you back.
I find the best way to get around this is to get testimonials for the products and services, and read them regularly. It helps to see the products and services as other potential clients might see it, to see the values and benefits.
Fear of asking for what it's worth
Being afraid to ask for a sale is bad, but making a sale at too low a price is a very close second when it comes to the health of your business. I see this with my consulting clients all the time. They look at the cost of their services being provided rather than the value it brings, which then causes them to underprice them.
When you think of things in terms of an hourly rate, it's hard to imagine anything or anyone being worth $500, $1000 or $10,000 per hour. But you need to look at the value you bring, and price services based on that. You need to remember that they are not buying one how of your time, they are buying all of your expertise acquired over the years and condensed into one hour. They are buying a solution that maybe only you can provide, and you need to price that accordingly.
I learned this the hard way when I worked at a client many years ago. I was charging $200 per hour, which at the time was a lot of money, and I was reviewing their system testing to reduce costs. In just 2 hours, $400 worth of my time, I found a way to save the $400,000 per annum.
I always share this example with my clients and ask if you knew you would do this how much would you charge.
Usually, they say anything from 1-10 percent of the saving achieved.
Even at 1 percent, I would have received $2000 per hour.
Understand the value that you bring, not the cost of bringing that value, when you set your prices.
Fear of the asking for the sale
At some point, once you have made contact, sold all the benefits, you have to find a way to close the deal. Even at this point, even though the prospect may be drooling, some people still find it hard to ask. They keep on selling and eventually lose the sale or take away the opportunity to buy which has the same result.
This was something I really struggled with, and there is nothing worse than losing a sale to a client who really wants to buy, but you don't give them the opportunity to do so.
It's probably the equivalent of business suicide.
My solution to this is to make sure that I show the value I offer and then leave a space in the conversation, let the silence ask the question. We all have a natural tendency to fill the silence, but you need to let your prospects take on that burden.
The results of this approach, for both my clients and myself, has been very positive more often than not the prospects say "ok so how do we work together" or "tell me about the services you offer."
It's true that it doesn't always work, but you're not going to land every prospect, but it will stop some of the keener ones from getting away.
If you want to be successful in business, you need to be able to overcome these five fears that can keep us from working with our ideal clients.
As someone who is always willing to learn, I'd love to know what you do to get over the fears.