I have always loved selling and closing a sale – whether it’s a group account for room reservations, products on consignment, or accounts for marketing campaigns – it gives me that jolt of excitement as I associate every sale into winning.
However, the commitment of having to sell as the priority of my job scope is another story. I’ve always thought, I can help but having to make it as a primary is another story.
As a freelancer or a solopreneur, being your own salesperson is key to survival and getting more projects under your belt. You are your own business developer. I have been juggling learning different hats but what remained constant were the following:
- Prospecting for Lead Generation.
- Qualifying the Leads.
- Meeting the prospects to demonstrate value and translate their products into yours.
- Education and Guide to Frame their thinking.
A sales cycle. Apparently, even if I was doing Marketing tasks, I have been already applying sales practices to the business. I learned that not every person you get to meet will turn into a closed sale.
Now that I’ve switched to business development, I’m learning how it takes practice, experience, and grit on facing clients knowing every sales agent encounters a 90% rejection rate. But, as you go through the process and master your product and getting to know your clients – you’d eventually turn the need into a want then into a necessity.
It’s still marketing, except, you’re more focused on closing the deal rather than helping sales disseminate information and collaterals branding.
From preparation to dealing with different clients from different industries, here are few B2B sales and marketing lessons I’ve learned in the process.
Stories and Facts Matter. It’ll be of an advantage knowing you walk the talk and you know pain points of the industry or as a practitioner. Within the first few minutes of your conversation, it’s important that you give a brief background of where you’re coming from and where the company stands. Always carry a quick story on how your product helped and can help, how it solves a certain paint point and not just a cool addition to a company’s marketing mix. You should speak as an expert leader, you are the expert leader.
Not All Clients are the Right Fit. I understand that Sales is a numbers game. The law of averages matters, up until you get to hit the right person for your product. However, to lessen this pain on speaking to numerous people and the high rejection percentage; you’d already have to pre-screen the person you’re going to meet with, even right before you meet them. Think of these questions: Do you think they’re the right person to offer your product? Is s/he the decision maker? If you were in his/her shoes; if you give this product, do you think it’ll be a great addition to help them solve a challenge? How will they get to monetize your product? will it monetize or cut costs?
Customers First. As much as you’re focused on sealing a deal and close businesses for your company, salesmen tend to hard sell rather than offer their services towards answering a question, solving a problem. Switch that mindset and focus on helping your potential customers ahead first. Have your customers at the centre and earn the opportunity to explain how you can help them by letting them share their pain points and challenges rather than dictating how awesome your product is and pushing self-promotions too much.
Continue to Learn Every Day. There is no template in answering a need and solving challenges. There are no shortcuts, only better strategies. It’s the little things you have to do every day, all day, to make it work attitude matters. You’d have to put your head down, check your ego and get to work. Grind and hustle. Assess your approach, and if you’re brave enough, ask for feedback. This way, you get to apply these learnings to get your pitch better for the next one and when you do get to meet with that client again, you’ll be able to address the pain points and challenges they’ve shared and you’d be better prepared to know you’ve given it a thought and now have an answer to their challenges.
Re-acquaint Yourself with Math. Because numbers don’t lie. Treat it like how you save up for a dream car, budget your bills and forecasting how to fund your future home. In business, staying close to the numbers makes you plan and set goals. If you earn more through commission, it’s great to push yourself to achieve your numbers to fund your dreams and goals; per month, you have a good target achieve. Just the same with business, sales boost the business and fuels the company to operate.