Sales and Marketing Advice for Florida Business
Take the mystery out of selling
Imagine that you’re sitting across the desk from a CEO of a Fortune 500 company. You are interviewing for a position to run all of marketing in a new division. And he asks you why they should hire you. What would you say?
Yep, that happened to me once. Here’s what I said: “I know how to sell.” By the end of the conversation I had an offer.
All of us need to know how to sell in our careers and in our lives. This is true whether you are selling yourself, or pitching an idea or product. “Buyers” can be your soon-to-be boss, a colleague, the marketing team, a venture capitalist, or your kids.
This means you should hire marketers who can sell. Yet, it’s much more than that. Every employee within an organization has a responsibility to sell the company’s products and services, its brand, and ideas too. This is true no matter the size of the company or the position of a given team member.
But, not everyone knows how to sell or likes to sell. Most people enjoy focusing most on what they love and do best and avoid tasks they dislike or do not have skills in -- like selling. Here’s how to take the mystery out of selling.
Get non-salespeople who know the nuts and bolts involved. Whether it’s the founder, engineers, or marketers there’s a really good chance they understand the significant stuff about why your products or services are necessary. Make sure that knowledge gets in front of your future customers! Force technicians* (maybe yourself) out of their comfort zone and get them use to selling their passion and skill for your company and its products.
(*A "technician" is a person with tangible, hands-on skills, as named by Michael Gerber in his book, Why Most Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It.)
Help non-salespeople learn to sell. Selling isn’t only about getting a buyer to sign on the dotted line. Give your non-salespeople both the skills and appreciation for selling with training created just for them. Bring in someone who will teach basic sales principles and how to talk with a buyer when the situation calls for it. No dry and boring sales training allowed! It’ll give an unexpectedly wonderful return on the training dollars you spend.
Instill a “consultative selling” and “customer success” mindset. This may be the easiest part of getting non-salespeople to sell. Technicians by nature like to explain their products and service; because they deeply understand these and also because they’re proud of how your offering helps buyers. But often, an excessive amount of nitty-gritty details are over-shared. All you have to do is channel that enthusiasm into a bit of a structured process. The key to this is helping your team understand exactly what your business sells and the outcome – what the buyers can expect in terms of benefits and value. Then, on top of that, teach your team to think about customer success -- because one of the major result every customer wants is to attain something positive, maybe even his or her dream. Let your team know that ultimately their job is to help people get what they need and want. That’s how your staff will earn a buyer’s attention.
Baby steps are good with a heavy dose of mentoring. Have them jump on a few sales calls or do demos all day long at a tradeshow. Also, ask people in your organization to represent your business at networking events, including giving the dreaded 7-second elevator pitch. And without a lot of notice, tell them that you’d like them to meet with the CEO or investors to explain a new project. Watch and listen and give positive feedback -- they’ll get comfortable and start to have fun!
It's good for everyone in all areas of your business to know some sales techniques and understand the selling process. They will be more in-tune with what goes on during the sales cycle, plus be ready to jump in and help.
One person’s actions can make a big impact.
Ron Stein is founder of More Customers Academy, helping business leaders build strategic messaging and positioning that cuts through the competitive noise to grow revenue. Ron has developed his own highly successful 5-step Stand Out & Sell More approach to winning new customers as a result of his twenty-five years of business development, marketing, and selling experiences. He works with a range of businesses, from startups to large corporations across industries including technology and healthcare, manufacturing, and financial services and banking. Ron conducts workshops, leads company meetings, offers keynote talks, and consults. He can be reached at 727-398-1855 or by email.