5 Tips for Falling In Love With Sales

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No business can survive without sales. If revenue is not coming in, your company will be out of business. Small business owners are more vulnerable to closing up shop due to lack of sales.

Of course, there are myriad of reasons why a business fails, but lack of sales is one of the more prevalent ones. The underling reason maybe bad marketing, wrong product, or poor customer service. Yet, when I meet with some of my clients that want to start their own business, fear of sales or lack of sales experience pop up often.

They will tell me: “I don’t like selling.” “I don’t have sales experience.” “I never sold anything before.” Jokingly, I would tell them: “Yes. You have sold before. From the time you were born, you were selling your mom and dad that you are so cute that they have to feed, bathe and clothe you.”

My view on sales is “sales is about forming relationships.” I also have to believe that through my products or services I can serve others. If a business owner does not believe that his or her products and services are not valuable or does not benefit his/her clients; then, they should close up shop right away. Why delay the inevitable.

There is no magical potion to sales. Sales is a game of numbers. The more qualified prospects you put in your sales funnel, the more likelihood you will close deals. But learning how to form relationships with your clients, delivering solutions to solve their problems and being present can result in magical moments in your sales results.

Here are some approaches I used when selling solutions to my clients:

1) Start with the Low Hanging Fruit: There are days when I don’t feel up to making the calls or going out prospecting for new clients. To get myself mentality prepared , I think of folks that are in my inner circle that could use my products and services. I focus on the ones that are pleasant to speak with, or it’s fun to be in their presence.

I don’t go with a hidden agenda. When I contact them, I ask how things are going and inquire if there is anything they are struggling with that I may be of assistance to them. If there is, they let me know. Then I offer to meet with them to see where there is a fit.

By starting with the folks that I have a great relationship builds my confidence to call on the ones that are newer to me. It makes me not fear getting a “no.” By the way, getting “no” isn’t such a bad thing. It gets you closer to a “yes.”

Having a hard time starting your sales day? Start with your low hanging fruit. Reach out to people that you know, people that you have sold to in the past, people that like and trust you.

2) Sell Only What You Believe In: When I worked in the corporate world, I had to believe in the products the companies were offering in order for me to go out and represent them. Being connected in that way made me passionate about selling those products or services.

The result of this passion was that I had more sales. There were times when a client wasn’t sure about the product, but due to my knowledge of the product and the passion I had about it, they bought from me. This is the same now that I am a business owner.

If you don’t believe in what you are selling, you will not come across as being authentic to your prospects. If you don’t believe it, why should they.

3) Sell Only What Your Clients Need: The consulting process I utilize, helps me to learn what issues my clients are experiencing in their businesses. By asking key questions, they open up to me; allowing me to learn where my products and services may be solve their business needs.

There are times when my products and service aren’t a good match for what problems they are facing. At this point of the consulting process, I let them know that it’s not a fit. I would rather lose the sale than deliver something I know will not work for them.

If you are out selling to your clients, don’t sell them an orange when they need an apple. It will make you feel better. Your honesty will pay off in the long run. Walk away from the sale. Before you do, ask them for a referral. Those that appreciate your honesty will be more than willing to open their list of contacts to you.

4) Be Present: As I mentioned previously, sales is a numbers game. If you are not on the phone making calls, networking through social media, attending networking events or visiting existing clients; you are missing out on opportunities to sell.

When I was writing my book, it took me out of the loop for a while. It was amazing how low my opportunity funnel declined. Once I kicked myself in the butt and pushed myself to Be Present online through my blogs; go to events and making the phone calls; my funnel increased, tremendously.

“I’ve found that luck is quite predictable. If you want more luck, take more chances, be more active, show up more often.” ~ Brian Tracy

If you are struggling with connecting with others due to an out-of-balance schedule, doing something small can still keep your sales funnel healthy. Make two are three calls a day to existing clients or new prospects may be all you need. Going to one event every other week might also prove to be of value.

5) Make It Fun: Life is too short to work from a place of fear, boredom, or misery. When I feel a spell of doubt about selling, I implement a reward system. I set a goal for how many calls I would make for the day. Or I may set a goal of how many qualified contacts I will make at an event. Then I would reward myself with something. It maybe as simple as treating myself to an ice cream cone or watching a playful movie.

Selling to me, is the “wine and dine” period in the sales cycle. If I’m wooing a client, I have to present the best me. This means I have to walk into any meeting on get on a call with a positive, upbeat attitude. This attitude is often infectious to the client, also.

No one wants to work with a dud. Find a way to make selling fun. Take the fear out of it. As a business owner, you have got to love selling or else find someone who does. If you don’t, your business will not be around for long.

Whether you follow these tips or not, remember that no business that rely on revenue can exist without sales. Find a way to fall in love with the sales process and take your business to newer heights.

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Marlene M. Bryan is a Distinguished Toastmaster, DTM. She is a certified speaker and leader by Toastmasters International. She is currently the District 47 Public Relations Officer, and leader of the Public Relations Team. Sheprovides her services to over 3800 members throughout the district. Marlene is the owner of Marlene M. Bryan, Corp. She is a speaker, an author, and a coach. Pick up the latest copy of her book Live a Diamond Life, A Life of Purpose: Diamond Cutters at mbryan@marlenembryan.comandsmallbizevolution.com.

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Entrepreneurs: A Major Lesson Learned from the Academy Awards Committee Faux Pax – Diversity

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The envelops were opened to announce the nominations for the coveted 2015 Academy Awards. Generally, this is a highly visible occasion to help build the excitement leading up to the televised Academy Awards event.

But something seemed amiss. None of the nominees were people of color. Also, a majority of the behind the scenes categories excluded women. The “Twitterverse” exploded with tweets of condemnation. YouTube lit up with videos of people ranting in disbelief. Not has something like this (exclusion of people of color) happened since 1998!

You may think: “What does this have to do with my business? I don’t care about the Academy Awards.” It does have a great lesson to offer you in your business decision making: Make Room for  Diversity.

The Academy Awards Committee members are estimated to be close to 6000 people. According to an article in the LA Times 94% of these members are Caucasians and 77% of male. Only 2% are Blacks and 2% Latinos. This does not reflect the audience that view movies in the United States, let alone across the globe. Hence, the greater probability a situation like this will occur.

Here is some of the things you can do to avoid making the same mistake:

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1) As an entrepreneur, it is critical that you think of the demographics of your target audience. Include folks on your staff (if you have employees) or in your circle of advisers (especially if you are the sole-proprietor) that reflects your target audience. We are told that one should diversify one’s financial portfolio to maximize the gains in the marketplace. The saying is true if you want to maximize your probability of the success of your business.

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2) Oftentimes I have witnessed older workers being pushed out of corporations or not hired due to their age. This is not a great practice in my opinion. Some of my best advisers have been older workers, or as I liked to call them “seasoned workers.” They have years of work and world experiences that I can harvest to help me solve problems that I encounter.

Technology changes. Usually, people’s emotions and some behaviors remain the same for generations. Some of my seasoned advisers have helped me avoid bad business decisions that have saved me money. They have also given me great advices that caused me to earn more money.

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3) In the same breath, don’t excluded younger workers because you perceive them to have less experience. I would rather take a chance on someone with less experience that have the willingness and the ability to learn quickly; than someone that has the experience but has no enthusiasm for the job.

A friend of mine was being considered to speak before a particular group. The event planner told someone that she (the event planner) thought my friend wasn’t seasoned enough in that particular area. Yet my friend helped her clients take their income from 5-figures to 6-figures in a matter of months! Obviously to me and my friend’s clients, she was doing something that was working well and could offer great information to the event planner’s audience. But the event planner had blinders on that state one has to have certain experience over a length of time to be considered “seasoned.” How unfortunate for this event planner and her audience.

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4) Include women, men, and minorities on your staff and in your circle of advisers. We all have our individual experiences that may limit our views that also limit our marketing reaching. Having a well-rounded source of viewpoints from various backgrounds (regardless of race, creed or sexual orientation) may give your business the spark it needs to attract more clients on a local, national and global level.

I thought my target audience were immigrant women. The more I deliver my keynote speeches or sell by books, I find that my message resonates with a lot of men from various backgrounds. It was a wonderful surprise. Now I include more men on my lists of advisers. This gives me a greater opportunity to spread my message and to earn more income.

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5) Include people of many nationalities as you can; if you want a global reach. As you know, the explosion of the internet has allowed entrepreneurs to have access to international markets. It seems wise to include people of different nationalities in your circles.

My circle of associates, advisers, and clients hail from many different countries with different cultural experiences and spoken languages. I revel in this diversity, because it has enriched and enlightened me in so many ways.

Did the Academy Awards committee miss a great opportunity to promote its brand in a golden light? Only time will tell. It seems that the uproar from the lack of diversity of the 2015 nominees has dulled the shine on this body of decision makers, and unfortunately taken some of the spotlight off its nominees.

Avoid the faux pax of the Academy Awards Committee. Include diversity in your staff and circles, professionally and personally. Let the tweets award your business with praises for its inclusions and successes.

Find out how I learned these tips and more from my Diamond Cutters, my mentors and coaches, pick up a copy of Live a Diamond Life, A Life of Purpose: Diamond Cutters today.

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