Hello, and a very big welcome to the Elevated Entrepreneur podcast. This is Episode 40, the big four, zero, and you can get show notes and transcriptions by going to elevatedentrepreneur.fm/40 and you’ll get access to so many other resources and goodies for other episodes as well. If this is your first time here, very big welcome. Thank you for being here. I know your time is valuable. So I’d really appreciate you taking some time to give me a listen and if you have already been listening to the Elevated Entrepreneur podcast, I thank you too. If you’ve got any feedback, if you’ve got something to say, remember, you can always send me a quick voice note by heading on over to elevatedentrepreneur.fm/speak. You can record this right on your phone, and I’ll be happy to give it a listen and also feature it here on the podcast. Today’s episode is going to be me sharing all the lessons that I’ve learned in sales. So this episode is all about helping entrepreneurs become better salespeople. And I know there’s a lot of negative stuff to being salesy, but we’re gonna get into that, and so much more in this episode so if you’re looking to get better as a salesperson, you’re looking to learn some new sales tips, then stay tuned, grab your headphones, turn up the volume, and help me cue the music.
You’re listening to the Elevated Entrepreneur podcast, a podcast designed to help retailers, restaurant owners and entrepreneurs, simplified business operations and use modern technology to elevate their business. Here’s your host, Dhiren Bhatia.
Alright, welcome back to the episode and I am super excited to be sharing with you the 10 lessons that I have learned as an entrepreneur in getting better at sales and I hope that you will be able to use some of these if not all of them and get better, too. The first lesson that I want to share is really about owning the role. I know, as an entrepreneur, it’s really tough to consider ourselves as salespeople, but really, it’s the core of what we do. If we have a business idea, we also need to be able to sell that idea to someone so that we can generate some money that can then feed the business. So shying away from it is not going to help in fact, as a salesperson, I started Cloudscape, many, many years ago, and I was really shy about selling I was always very apprehensive about selling and for the longest time, I was very uncomfortable with it but over time, I’ve really gotten into my swing, I found my rhythm and I found what works for me. And I’m happy to be a salesperson for Cloudscape, and I think it’s also true that if I can’t sell what I’m making, how do I expect my team to sell it? How do I expect them to understand the mission and the passion of what we’re doing. So really owning the role is the first and the foremost tip that I want to start off with. Salespeople don’t have to be sleazy over time, salespeople have this really bad connotation, especially when we talk about salespeople where I’m thinking of the car salesmen who you’ve recently had an experience with was pressured you into buying something that you never needed, giving you a lot of things to think about and also just applying a lot of sales pressure but that’s not how you and I have to be as salespeople, we can find our own style. At the same time we understand what it means to be the engine of the business. Related to that the second lesson is really sharing stories.
Oftentimes, when I am selling, I’m talking about my experience my story about what got me into this business, and what are the pains that I expected to solve for myself as a business owner, which I then showcase to the customer and I think stories are super powerful. It’s about sharing your why it’s about sharing why you do what you do and really for them to see the passion behind that why. Because it’s really the story that will attract the customer, to give them the confidence to buy from you. And, if you feel like sharing stories is bragging, then hey, go for it. If it’s not you who’s bragging, nobody else is going to be doing it, isn’t it. But remember, there is a difference between sharing stories and actually bragging. So don’t be the bragger but do share stories. Let customers connect with you on those stories. The third lesson and this is such a personal lesson for me is don’t pretend to be someone else. Early on in Cloudscapes. Early days, I wanted to appear much bigger than they actually were and I used to say things like, oh, we have a big team. We’ve got two locations. But I realized over time, that’s counterintuitive. That actually opens a lot more questions than needed and it makes us pretend to be somebody else today, in fact, we actually quite embraced the fact that we’re a small team and we share that with our customers and that is actually what makes us even more endearing to our customers, because they appreciate the honesty, they appreciate the transparency from us. So remember, don’t pretend to be something that you’re not, you don’t have to pretend to be a big brand, you don’t have to pretend to have many locations, you don’t have to pretend to be anything. In fact, the closer you are to yourself, is what is going to get customers to be attracted to you. So if you’re a one man show, or a one woman show, I would say publicize the fact make it known that you are such a good entrepreneur that you’re able to do so much as a one person show.
The third lesson that I want to share is knowing your customers pain points. Selling is not about forcing a product or a service down someone’s throat, but about showcasing a solution to a pain that they already have. It’s like me going to the doctor with a broken arm or a bleeding nose and the doctor knows exactly what to give me to solve that problem that’s exactly what sales needs to be about. It’s about connecting the customers pain to a solution. So if you know what that pain is, then you’re not going to be selling but in fact, you’re going to be giving them a solution for a pain that they want to get rid of. And oftentimes, it’s this pain that we don’t know about, we may have an idea, we may think it’s what this pain is but ask your customers actually what their pain is. Again, I know this sounds counterintuitive, but asking your customers as to why they came to you why they bought from you, what made them do a deal with you can be so much more powerful when used with the next customer, because now you’re really using their language, as opposed to your language, you’re using their lens on this problem, and selling the solution to the problem.
The next and the fourth lesson that I want to share is overcoming the fear of rejection. Oftentimes, a lot of business owners and sales people hate the word no. And that’s actually in my opinion, the best place to start from, if the know is been discovered right in the beginning of the sales conversation. That’s a great place to start from. Because now all you can do is move on from there, all you can do is convince the customer to buy because now you know the objection, you can refute the objection, you can give them reasons to buy from you and solve that norm. A few months ago, I put out an episode, the one with the N word, and that’s the one with the No, it’s episode number 28, you can head on over to elevatedentrepreneur.fm/ 28 To get access to that episode and in that episode, I shared this idea that no is the best place to start from. If it’s a yes, then it’s obviously an easy sale. But if it’s a no test the time when you really got to get into the meat of the discussion and get to address the customers issues. So overcoming the fear of rejection is a really key skill for entrepreneurs to get used to no is not a bad thing.
The fifth lesson that I want to share might seem a bit funny, it’s worked really well for me is the ability to be able to refer to your competition, you will often have customers that come to you, but are not ready to buy from you. And in that situation, if you think you can refer them to a competitor of yours who offers similar services, it’s a win win, because the customer gets to see that you’re not there just to sell them but they’re also getting a solution from somebody else, which may be a different solution or at a lower price but in that moment, you have really elevated your trust level with the customer and it’s such a power move to be able to refer your competition because it makes the customer think about how good you are what you do that you’re now being able to refer them to your competition and you’re addressing that out in the open.
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Super powerful mobile has worked really well for us in our business because indeed there are times when a customer is not a good fit for what we offer, whether it’s product or service, whether it’s culture, or even price. There are really great opportunities for us to be able to give somebody else the business and also demonstrate to the customer that we’re about helping them solve that problem. The sixth lesson is about discounts. My dad always used to say that giving discounts devalue the product and service and that’s quite true and we’ve learned and stuck to that lesson or here over at Cloudscape and we don’t typically give a lot of discounts, our products and services are super well priced. We know the value that the customer will be getting from this product and service and we demonstrate the value proposition right from the get go but there are times when we’re going to have to honor loyal customers, repeat customers, and we give them a benefit, we are able to extend some level of loyalty benefit to them, that makes them appreciate the fact that they’ve come back to us for a second, third and a fourth time.
So remember, it’s not about not giving discounts, it’s about reframing discounts into some other benefits. Typically, what we will do is we will extend their support contract with us for a couple of months, or we will be able to offer a bonus service, it’s all about extending their value, because we value them as repeat customers. The next and seventh lesson is understand how your product or service actually helps the client make money. This is something that I feel a lot of entrepreneurs and salespeople don’t keep front and center, it’s about not selling, but showing that if they were to buy this product and service, how this product and service will help the customer make money over at 30. When we are selling our product and service, our flagship product is the business success kit, which involves the implementation and the setup of the system, we typically get into cost analysis of how much it would cost if they were to do this, and how much money they’re paying to someone to do this work manually. Whereas a system could come in and help them save all that money, time and effort. So that makes for a very powerful value proposition conversation and that’s a great place to start from. So my tip here is for salespeople and entrepreneurs to really dial in and understand what their value proposition is.
The next step is a more tactical tip but I think it’s often the most forgotten tip and it is set your next meeting before you leave the first one. Oftentimes, we leave sales meetings without clear action items or agendas and one of those agendas is when the next meeting is going to happen. So remember, if you’re in your meeting, ask the customer when you’re going to want to meet next, get that date penciled in there and then and also have that sent over as a calendar invite. So the customer knows what he has to do before your next meeting and you have something already penciled in, which makes it very difficult for them to not respond back to you because you’re going to meet at a set time. The 10th and the final tip that I’m going to give you to become a better salesperson is the ability to break up with your clients. As entrepreneurs and salespeople we are so closely attached to every opportunity that walks in through the door for every potential opportunity and lead that we are speaking to and it becomes very hard for business owners and salespeople to break up with them to walk away from a deal and I think that itself is a hallmark of a great salesperson. And I’m not necessarily saying that you need to walk away from every opportunity but there are certain cases and times when it’s just not going to work out and being able to see that far out is going to be important and allows you to create some room between you and the opportunity.
At Cloudscape we follow this in a few ways. Typically when we meet potential opportunity, we’ll send them a series of emails and phone calls and if we’re not hearing back from them, we will send them what is often called the breakup email and believe it or not, it’s the breakup email that generates the most response. A breakup email is nothing but just a saying, maybe the time isn’t right, you’ve got too much on your plate, which ad later. And that’s it that’s all it takes for the person to respond back and saying I’m actually interested or I’m not interested and that is mission accomplished. Once we know what the pain is, we’re able to address it.
Another example of breaking up with clients is our ability to send a breakup email once the proposal is sent. Usually, in a b2b kind of business, a lot of emails are sent a proposal is sent and then there is nothing but radio silence and that typically means the client is either too busy or not interested to purchase because the price is not right, or the timing isn’t right and at that point in time, rather than chasing the client, I think it’s more important to break up to send an email saying, hey, maybe the times not right. There are other opportunities in the future, we will reconnect and again, that does work. More often than not, the client will actually pick up the phone or send back an email saying what and when they want to do next, which is again, so important, as a tip for salespeople to remember, learn to break up with your clients and opportunities and walk away from them. Because when the time is right, and if your value proposition is correct, your client will indeed come back to you.
There you have it folks 10 tips that I have learned to be a better salesperson and I hope that you have learned some see from these, and that I hope you’ll give some of these a try. Remember, you can always send me some feedback. And if I’ve missed any or you think there are other tips that you can share, please do send me a voice note elevatedentrepreneur.fm/speak I’ll be happy to feature them here on the podcast for you.
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