I recently grabbed lunch with one of my good friends who owns her own service-based business. I don’t know how we landed on the topic of sales, but I was surprised to hear that she felt the exact same way that I did: sales is the easy part.
Now, this has become one of the most surprising parts of owning a business. For early-stage entrepreneurs or anyone launching a new product a service, I hope that you’ll see it as the light at the end of the tunnel.
If sales feels painful for you right now, please know that you’re not alone.
Sales hasn’t always felt easy for me and my business.
To get to this place, you have to go through the sometimes painstaking process of identifying an ideal customer for your product or service.
You will likely have a number of conversations with potential customers that might feel awkward or uncomfortable.
At times, during these conversations, it’ll become clear that some people don’t see the value in what you do. When this happens, it’s totally ok… just recognize that they are just not your customer.
When starting out, you’ll also likely be nervous about your product or service offering.
Through trial, error, and experience, you will hopefully get to the place that you feel confident that you solve a clear problem for your customer in a way that delivers more value than the amount you charge.
If not, then it’s time to go back to the drawing board. Are you offering the right product or service? Are you really articulating the value you could potentially provide your customer? Or is the problem your trying to solve not relevant enough that people are willing to pay? Unfortunately, the market does not lie… so if you’re continually not seeing results, it’s important to be honest with yourself and take the time to reassess your strategy and approach.
Once you have a product or service that’s working, then you can focus more on making sure your marketing messaging is crystal clear, identify opportunities to connect with your ideal customer, and make sure that you’re delivering on your promise enough that former customers are willing to rave about you to others.
Eventually, when your ideal customer seeks out your business, you have hardly any work to do when it comes time to closing the deal.
If you’re in a service business: the conversations will flow naturally and your customers will actually be excited to work with you.
If you sell a product: your customers will click the ‘purchase’ button & come back, time and time again.
I have heard many entrepreneurs say that sales is what makes them most nervous when first starting a business.
I was recently listening to a What Works Podcast interview with Charlie Gilkey and, when talking to his clients concerned about selling to a customer something they don’t want or need, Charlie shared some great advice on this matter for early-stage entrepreneurs,
“First off, you’re not good enough at sales to really sell something at this level that people don’t want or need. You’re really not. It’s hard to sell something to people when they really don’t want it or need it… Second off, what if what you are selling is exactly what they need to become their best self or have their best business outcome?”
So many business owners are nervous about making the sell, but if you’ve set up your business in a way that truly serves your customer, sales should be the easy part.
It’s the months or even years of work ahead of time spent honing your product or service to be high quality, to be well-positioned in the market, to have developed a brand that speaks to your customer, to strategically market your business so your customer knows you exist, and building the trust you need to inspire people to highly recommend your product or service to others… that’s the hard part.