Your skills as an entrepreneur can make the difference between a booming enterprise and closing your doors far too soon. Your #1 job as a small business owner is to sell. Your job is to motivate, inspire and convince customers, potential investors, and often family that your business idea is worthwhile. It typically requires passion for your project, a coherent message, and most importantly, a confident delivery of that message. This can be a tall order if you don’t have a sales mindset. Do you have discomfort speaking to strangers? Are you unable to convey enthusiasm about your business? If you have a tough time getting into the sales mode, your solution might be to hire or partner with someone and let them do the selling, but then you can get into a mine-field of issues around control of your message.
How do you build your sales confidence? First, you need to understand where you are today. If your venture is a side-hustle in addition to a main job, and your business passion is on “low” and you just want to keep working your flea market stand, or selling cosmetic products to friends, you probably are where you want to be from a sales energy standpoint. The stakes grow considerably, however, if your venture is a full-time effort. The pressure to generate enough revenue to support yourself and your family will make you become laser focused on selling. Not to mention, if you have goals to grow your enterprise, this means a stepped up selling effort, too.
The Flawless Pitch – First you want to create a “flawless pitch”, telling your company’s story in one minute or less – what you do or sell, who you specialize doing it for and what makes your business special. For example “My name is Bob and I own Bob’s garage. We specialize in the repair and maintenance of luxury car transmissions at far less than dealer prices and all work is guaranteed”. You have a story to tell both potential customers and prospective investors which will get them to ask “Tell me more”.
Give it a Test Run – Practice is not just for baseball and dance class. You need to practice your pitch in the mirror, with your family and friends, and with anybody else who will listen. Ask for hard questions and honest feedback. This will keep you from looking foolish later. If you open a dry cleaning store, and a customer asks you about the chemicals you use for cleaning, you should be informative and give that customer good reason to do business with you. In the restaurant business it is about tasty, quality food, well presented in a clean environment. As proprietor, you and your staff will be touting signature dishes, great service, and satisfying portions giving customers great reasons to return by delivering on what you promised. People need and want to be convinced to buy stuff. You must be able to tell them why they should buy from you.
People should be able to feel your passion – Your enthusiasm and positive spirit are absolutely essential to selling. Whether you are selling to customers, selling your business concept to potential investors or trying to borrow money from your local bank, don’t minimize the excitement of your passion for your business and your absolute belief in its success. If you are short on enthusiasm for your enterprise, you need to take a hard look at whether being in that business is for you. Your ability to sell is key. Introspection today should set your expectations for tomorrow. Once you get the hang of power selling, closing a sale will be thrilling and more fun than work.
Do you have more ideas to get over the fear of selling?
Melinda F. Emerson, known to many as SmallBizLady is one of America’s leading small business experts. As a seasoned entrepreneur, professional speaker, and small business coach, she develops audio, video and written content to fulfill her mission to end small business failure. As CEO of Quintessence Multimedia, Melinda educates entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies on subjects including small business start-up, business development and social media marketing. Forbes Magazine named her #1 woman for entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter. She hosts #SmallBizChat Wednesdays on Twitter 8-9pm ET for emerging entrepreneurs. She also publishes a resource blog http://www.succeedasyourownboss.com Melinda is also bestseller author of Become Your Own Boss in 12 months; A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works.