Sell more without selling
Do you enjoy selling?
Most business owners would say not. In fact, most business owners and coaches will manage to find anything else to do other than sales. It might be absolutely essential to your business but that doesn’t mean you like it. Why not?
The reasons are various and common:
- You don’t want to get a ‘no’ (nobody enjoys rejection).
- You’re anxious about whether you can deliver (imposter syndrome).
- You feel under pressure to get a ‘yes’, which makes you feel like you’re pressuring them to buy
And let’s face it, if you’re running your own coaching business, you want to coach. That’s probably why you got into it in the first place, right. After all, few people set up a business just because they love the sales process.
What if you could sell more, do more business, without needing to do so much actual selling?
If sales feels difficult, you’re not doing it right
Here’s the thing, there are different ways to sell and if you’re focused on the ‘wrong’ way, it’s going to be a lot more effort for a very few sales.
Arguably, the easiest option when selling is to tell the potential client all about what you do – your process.
However, that’s not what they want to hear. Apart from the fact that if they don’t already know what you do, or what you’re offering, you have to do a lot of talking to do… your potential client doesn’t care about what you do so much as they care about what they’ll get out of it. What’s more interesting to them? The initial meeting, the personalised coaching objectives and plan, the 1-2-1 sessions each week… or the fact that at the end of it, they’ll be much better prepared to get that promotion they want?
If the results you have to offer aren’t interesting then the process definitely won’t be. And if you keep plugging away, you’re basically trying to sell to people who aren’t interested.
If it’s because they’re not interested in the results they could achieve with you, or they’re just not ready to buy yet, then fair enough. As Seth Godin has said, your business can’t service everyone and that’s ok.
But if they’re genuinely interested in the possible results and you keep pushing the process, then that’s a wasted opportunity (and wasted effort). You might be putting them off (losing the sale) because you keep talking about the wrong thing.
Focus on prospects who want to know more
You need to get potential clients to a point where they know what they want (the results you’re offering), they are ready to buy, and they want you to get them there.
How? By focusing on those who want to know more. There are three steps:
1. Create a clear path to follow to get from stranger to client
Show them the destination, talk about outcomes, and share success stories to illustrate. Contrast this with where they are now. This creates tension between where they are and where they want to be (a location that you’re offering to guide them to). It’s natural to want to resolve tension and that desire is usually expressed as wanting to know more. Which is good, because now they’re actively engaging in the sales process.
Of course, some people will be ready to buy earlier than others. So, always make it easy to buy at any stage but most will have doubts or questions to address.
2. Answer questions… in advance
Whether it’s about outcomes or process, potential clients will have questions. And most questions fall into the category of ‘frequently asked’ which means you don’t have to wait until you’re selling to provide the answers. Instead, create content that answers those FAQs: webpages, videos, guides… use them to provide whatever information your ideal customer would want to know before they buy.
3. Show empathy
Leading with empathy – i.e. talking about their situation, their needs, their goals – will hold their attention, demonstrate your understanding (of their feelings, frustrations, needs…), and build trust.
All the time, your focus is on the outcomes they’ll get if they use your services. If there is any confusion about what the outcome is then the potential client is unlikely to become an actual client.
“The answer to confusion is always no” – Donald Miller
Actions for more sales and less selling
Lay out a clear path for the potential client to follow. Listen, and then show you understand where they are now and where they want to be. Show them you can get them there.
Create content that demonstrates your expertise and authority and answers common client questions and objections.
Use your empathy to emphasise that what you’re offering will support them and their individual circumstances/issues/goals and outcomes, rather than just being a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all process.
But… “I still feel uncomfortable selling.”
Usually, that discomfort comes from not being sure about what you’re selling (remember those reasons why most people dislike selling?) and it’s because you’re still selling the process. When you focus on process, you’re trying to convince the potential client that your process is the one for them – i.e. better than other coaches’ processes and that can be a tough sell, uncertain of success.
But when you focus on the client’s outcomes, you’re selling exactly what they want to achieve. Now, it’s not so much a competition as a case of convincing them you can support them in getting to where they want to be. The beauty of the three steps above is that they keep you focused on the potential client.
Your service is client-focused – Your sales process should be too
Remember, don’t sell the process, sell the outcome. By focusing on the potential client and what they want to achieve, providing the right information to answer their questions, and leading with empathy, you’ll sell more. And you’ll find the process of selling is easier, and a lot less like ‘sales’.
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