Every week as SmallBizLady, I conduct interviews with experts on my Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat. The show takes place every Wednesday on Twitter from 8-9pm ET. This is excerpted from my recent interview with Amy Palmer @Fearbustinsales http://twitter.com/fearbustinsales. Amy is a nationally recognized salesperson who helps business owners find a selling style that fits their personality and values. As head of a worldwide online virtual coaching and consulting business, Amy has been featured in the Woman’s Advantage Calendar for 2008 – 2012, Washington Business Journal, Washington Woman Magazine, Success for Women magazine, and Success magazine. Access her free teleseries here: www.demolishyourdreadofselling.com
SmallBizLady: What is “Sales Sabotage?”
Amy Palmer: It is when you have great ideas, a great product or service, even a great plan, and yet SOMETHING keeps getting in the way of taking your business to the NEXT LEVEL of REVENUE SUCCESS! It is when we get in our own way when it comes to selling. We set ourselves up for failure before we even begin.
SmallBizLady: What causes “Sales Sabotage”?
Amy Palmer: Fear, reluctance, insecurity. Past experiences (either as a consumer or as a salesperson). Preconceived notions. Fear of rejection. The desire to be liked, and the fear of not being liked.
SmallBizLady: Why is it important to overcome sales sabotage?
Amy Palmer: If you don’t face your fear and reluctance, and find a way to become comfortable with selling, it will prevent you from achieving the goals you set for yourself, and it will prevent you from helping all those people are you meant to serve. Also, look at it this way- by overcoming sales sabotage, you will generate more revenue and continue to grow to the point where you can afford to hire a sales team to sell FOR you! Then you can spend even more of your time doing the things you love most.
SmallBizLady Can you share the steps to your “Fear-Bustin’ Process” to help overcome sales fear?
Amy Palmer: Step 1: Identify Roadblocks- what is REALLY getting in your way.
Step 2: Reconnect with Your Passion- why do you do what you do, how does it benefit others.
Step Three: Reprogram Your Thinking- don’t think of it as selling, think of it as “Promoting Your Passion.”
Step Four: Determine Your Personal Style- what are your strengths when it comes to communication, incorporate that into your process.
Step Five: Customize a Process- the more control you have over the process, the more comfortable you will feel.
Step Six: Put your Process In Action! It’s all about implementation- get an accountability partner or coach to assist you.
SmallBizLady: If someone is really uncomfortable with the sales role, how can they be successful in owning a business?
Amy Palmer: The BAD NEWS is, they can’t. The GOOD NEWS is that it isn’t difficult to become comfortable with selling. You don’t have to love it, you don’t have to become a super-expert or master sales guru. To develop a level of comfort, you simply must find a way to connect with your audience in a way that fits you, your personality, and your strengths. Once you combine this with the passion you have for what you do/what you offer, there will be no stopping you. And here’s even BETTER news- once you figure this piece out, develop a successful sales plan, and learn how to implement it, someday you will generate enough money to hire someone to do some of the sales activities for you!
SmallBizLady: How long does it take to truly overcome sales sabotage?
Amy Palmer: The process I designed uses the steps I followed myself early in my career. It took me years to figure it out. Sharing the steps with my clients saves them a lot of time. However- fear and reluctance does come back. Each time you reach a new height or you are in a new situation, it can resurface. The key is having strategies in your toolbox to release the fear in a timely manner.
SmallBizLady: What sales effectiveness tips do you have for those who are doing well and/or already enjoy selling?
Amy Palmer: My number #1 tip in these circumstances is TRACK YOUR PROGRESS. Keep track of each opportunity, each sales conversation, phone calls, etc. along with results. This is the way to go from “good” to “great”. You can hone in on where you can tweak to get even better. Number #2 tip is DOCUMENT YOUR PROCESS. Someday you may hit a sales slump and be clueless as to why. You need to go back to your exact step-by-step process and find out if you have been taking short cuts or have gone off on tangents in your sales process. Another reason to document your sales process is because by having continued great results, you will one day want to scale your business and bring on salespeople. Having a proven process in place will accelerate the results of your team.
SmallBizLady: What is the role of a really good salesperson?
Amy Palmer: Your role as a salesperson is to INSPIRE that potential client to TAKE ACTION whether or not it includes doing business with you.
It all comes down to three necessary elements:
1. Letting go of your attachment to the results.
2. Stop focusing on yourself and truly focus on that other person.
3. The ability to step up and do what it takes to motivate another person.
SmallBizLady: How can you be an effective, top-performing salesperson without being perceived as “pushy” or aggressive?
Amy Palmer: Your relationship with that potential customer is a partnership- AND you are in the role of mentor. Build Credibility, Empathy and Trust with the potential customer and they will see you as both a partner and advisor. Sometimes you will have to tell them something they don’t want to hear. Sometimes you will need to be firm. Sometimes you will need to follow-up repeatedly. That’s your job. That’s what it takes to INSPRIRE someone to take ACTION. I never said it was easy- I only said it was authentic. And it truly follows the concept of selling = serving
SmallBizLady: What is the difference between “Attraction Marketing (Pull Marketing)” and having a sales plan?
Amy Palmer: Attraction Marketing will address those who are unaware of you and what you have to offer. By using your knowledge and content and offering it up freely to the mass public, you are providing value AND you are attracting those who are interested in your area of expertise. The steps it takes between someone saying “I’m interested in your topic” and “I want to do business with you” are considered your SALES PLAN.
SmallBizLady: What does a Sales Process look like?
Amy Palmer: In a nutshell it is broken into the following steps:
1. Attraction Strategy- How do you bring people to you? How will your ideal client learn who you are and what you have to offer?
2. Connection Strategy- Once someone knows about you, what steps will you take to create a relationship? How does that relationship continuing in the form of follow up?
3. Conversation Strategy- How is your Sales Conversation structured? How do you present your product/service?
4. Service Strategy- How do you ensure happy customers? What is your process for asking for referrals?
SmallBizLady: How can you use attraction marketing in your sales plan?
Amy Palmer: Through social media and other online methods, it is now easier than ever to build a relationship with your audience. Attraction marketing is used heavily in your “Connection Strategy”- you need to have a campaign of value added items to share with your audience that enables them to get to know you and your offering. Blogging, ezines, teleclasses, webinars, livecasts, tweetchats, are all about building relationships. Where many people go wrong is that they fail to ever ask the audience to take the next step. 95% of your connection strategy is about giving and offering, 5% should include a request to take the next step if they are interested.
If you found this interview helpful, join us on Wednesdays 8-9pm ET follow @SmallBizChat on Twitter. Here’s how to participate in #Smallbizchat http://bit.ly/S797e
For more tips on how start or grow your small business subscribe to Melinda Emerson’s blog http://www.succeedasyourownboss.com.
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.