Selling is a tricky thing.
In addition to making sure that you create something truly useful that people will get value from, you have to clearly identify your ideal client. And figure out the ecosystems and watering holes where they hang out.
Then there is the sales letter — a slippery thing even for a wizard like Sonia Simone.
You have to balance sharing useful information which can help people make a buying decision without being over the top and slimy.
Then find your clients, and get them interested in talking with you, and draw them into your sales process in a non-pushy, yet effective manner.
So even if you do all these things well, and start to build your list, and even make cold calls, a funny thing can happen.
You can sell very little stuff. Or maybe no stuff at all.
And this can lead to lots of frustration.
More often than not, there are two primary reasons why your sales are not taking off yet:
- You are doing the right things, but just have to do MORE of them.
- You view sales as a solitary activity, so you don’t ask for help, or referrals.
More prospects = more sales
Motivational literature and optimistic sales letters often promise “10,000 instant subscribers to your list!” and “grow your business from zero to six figures in 5 easy steps!”
It isn’t that easy.
I have gone old school grumpy martial artist on you before when talking about the hard work required to start a business.
I don’t want to scare you away. I just want you to embrace the concept that creating a strong sales culture in your business means constantly and consistently planting seeds and cultivating relationships. As Guy Kawasaki says about innovation, via Chairman Mao, “let a hundred flowers blossom.”
So if you work up the courage to offer a teleclass and no one signs up at first, think “one seed, 99 to go.”
If you knock on 99 doors trying to get a guest post on someone’s blog, or a meeting with a C-level executive for your technology service, think “maybe there is a blossom behind the 100th door.”
If you have a fundamentally good product or service, keep engaging with your market. Fill your sales funnel with ideal prospects, and things will start to happen.
Ask for help
I meet so many talented entrepreneurs who have a really great product or service. Selling may not be their strong point. So they sit staring at their computer, getting more and more stressed that they will never be able to get anyone to buy anything.
This is the time to reach out for help.
We are in this together! There are people in your network, some of them former clients, some coaches or teachers, or your peer mentor circle, who would LOVE to spread the word about how great you are to work with. To help them help you:
- Activate your connectors and salespeople.
- Know the answers to 5 questions about your business that will help people refer qualified customers to you quickly and easily.
Can you imagine how frustrating it would be if you thought you were running one mile, and found out you were really running twenty-six?
Sales is a marathon. Pack, fuel up and train for it.
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I like how you mention asking for help with sales.
Utilizing your current customers, biggest fans, and the community you’ve built could possibly help drive sales as well. If you offer an affiliate program or other way for them to share in the profits, they should be more than willing to spread the word.
Great stuff. I especially like “ask for help.” There’s really no shame in it but often professionals somehow feel like they’ve failed if they have to resort to assistance.
Thanks for the tip Pam!
Tahnkyou for the stand out advice Pam! It is very helpful and I’ll be talking to our sales team.
[…] Two Reasons Your Sales Have Stalled or are Non-Existent Selling is a tricky thing. In addition to making sure that you create something truly useful that people will get value from, you have to clearly identify your ideal client. And figure out the ecosystems and watering holes where they hang out. Then there is the sales letter — a slippery thing even for a wizard like Sonia Simone. Read more… […]
this is true – before i resorted full time to building niche sites and blogging, i used to do some web consulting/seo/marketing for some folks. that evolved into a full fledge venture all through word of mouth. it was 100% viral. this has led to several engagements with small to mid size companies up to $100M in revenues, resulting in bigger dollar projects for me and my teams overseas. it’s amazing what referrals can do, but one must do a solid job and deliver quality service. the entire concept of referrals is predicated on quality …
Referrals can be very very powerful when it comes to sales. The internet community thrives on it.
Thanks for this. Our website is brand new and I have been going on many sales calls without much success. Today I was feeling super frustrated so reading this today has really helped. I really like the five questions idea when asking for refferals. I have to keep planting the seeds and eventually I will reap the benefits.
Thanks so much for your frankness on this topic. I am not a natural born seller. When I looked over the 5 questions I should be able to answer about my business, I realized I had a big “??” for all of them. I’ve got some plowing to do before I plant the seeds.
Great advice and I love the seed advice. We’re all salespeople whether we acknowledge it or not.
Excellent. I needed to hear this, not because sales are super slow for me this minute, thank goodness, but because this advice reminds me of things to do to prevent that from happening. So thanks.
Thank goodness for your frank honesty:
“It isn’t that easy.”
But it is possible if you keep consistenty and constantly planting seeds and developing relationships. This is the approach I had to take with with my telecourses and now my weight loss coaching circles (groups) are filling up.
But your post is also a reminder for me to continue at it and continue to plant more seeds. Now which seeds to plant this time?
Pam, I like this. I have planted seeds for the past three years. I am in the real estate biz. I have been in real estate six years, three years here in WA, three in CA. It takes about three years to get rolling. In an economic sense that is a long time. But, it pays off. Many people do not have the stamina to hold on, but I totally relate to what you are saying about the seeds. My garden is blooming like mad this spring and it isn’t because of anything I did today.