Jones Business Solutions Ltd | Selling – a dirty word?
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Selling – a dirty word?

Selling – a dirty word?

All too often I see business owners (including myself) being the handbrake on their pricing. We allow so many things affect how we go about setting and sticking to what we charge. Lack of confidence, assumptions about what clients are prepared to pay, fear of rejection or criticism of proposed rates, or not having a pricing strategy can all play a part.

If you are in business, you are a salesperson! This doesn’t mean you fit the profile of a sleazy pushy used car salesman. Knowing your services, understanding your customer, being aware of your own value and worth helps you harness the ability to sell with integrity.

Stay in your lane

What are your services? What do you love doing the most? What are your key strengths?

It is all too easy when operating a business to go down a few rabbit holes or detours that take us off track on what our business purpose and vision is about. Knowing your service lanes is key. Sticking to them is essential! This doesn’t mean you can’t explore new offerings or projects, but you do want to keep your overall destination is mind. Being crystal clear on what you actually do helps both you and your customers understand what will be delivered by you and areas where other professionals may be required. Having strong networks with experts in similar fields provides opportunities to refer others that can help when you are not the best ‘fit’.

Over the years (17 and counting!) I have realigned what I do several times. It is all part of the journey. Discovering what I am good at and harnessing that to fit with what my clients really want is a win-win. It’s okay to redefine your services and exit out of some of them – do so with professionalism and alternatives and you will maintain your reputation. For example, I no longer provide payroll processing services – but have great connections with other providers who do that I can recommend. This leaves me to provide payroll support instead – and be able to take regular time off.

Provide value and solutions

It isn’t about putting out a sign to say you sell x and y. Know your market, know where your skills and strengths are. Listen! Listen to what your clients want and where their pain points and frustrations are. What is it about what you do that helps solve their problems? Design a services package that fits what you are expert at and what they need. Can you collaborate with others for other aspects where this is not your core area? Take a wider holistic view to really understand your customer. It is never just one area that needs focusing on when it comes to running a successful business.

It can be tempting to want to solve all their problems – take care! Promising to do just that and then not being able to follow through will cause disappointment and may harm your reputation. Undertaking a discovery meeting, scoping the likely work required, and taking the time to prepare a considered proposal will stand you in good stead. Be honest about the depth and breadth of what you are offering and the outcomes that they can expect.

One thing I like to do is visit potential clients at their place. I want to meet the team, take the workplace tour, and get to know and understand the business and what their requirements are. Seeing their pride and passion as they do so really helps me understand what they are needing, and I can them provide a plan that dovetails in with their style and vision.

You don’t have to clinch the deal!

Being a confident seller is one thing – being a pushy overbearing salesperson is something else altogether. Don’t be that person! Taking the time to listen and propose a programme that you can confidently deliver on with pricing that reflects your expertise and provides the solutions the client is looking for is the aim. Let the customer make their own decision. Give them time to decide too – but be clear on how long your offer is open for. A delayed acceptance may affect timeframes so make sure your availability is clearly understood.

Don’t take it personally if they are hesitant or decline your proposal. If they are unsure answer their questions, address their concerns, and offer advice. If they do decline, look for useful feedback from them and provide other alternatives for them (eg. recommend colleagues, software options, government agencies). If they say no, accept it gracefully and thank them for their time and interest. If they say yes, confirm the agreement and express your appreciation.

To sum up

Selling with integrity is not only the right thing to do, but also the smart thing to do. It can help you build long-term relationships with your clients, establish and enhance your reputation, develop your own confidence and self-awareness of where you sit in your chosen professional life. Doing more of what you love the most can also bring financial rewards – allow it!

‘It is not about a hard sell; it is about a heart sell’     
Eric Lofholm, Sales trainer