Last week at the dinner table my three-year-old daughter looked at me with her big cheeky eyes and said “Mummy, I have a secret, bring your ear.”
We have this game now, we give each other “the secret of love” ☺. I brought my ear to her level knowing that she was going to say she loved me, but it was more than that!
“I love you, you are my best friend, you are my treasure, you are my chocolate pumpkin!”
By the time she finished her sentence, I was almost crying… I said I loved her like a giant chocolate pumpkin and we hugged and giggled. She was so proud and happy (well at least it seemed like that initially).
Then she said: “Mummy, I have another secret.”
I was the happiest mum… it’s like the best therapy session, right?!
She said: “Mummy, can I have chocolate?” with a very entitled tone of voice. When I looked at her, she had the cutest, sweetest face and I had no other option but to give her a piece of chocolate.
I was shocked and amused by her comprehension of my soft point and her agility to achieve her desired outcome … But actually, that was just the start of her “Sales Skills 2.0” demonstration!
A few minutes later, when I was tidying up, she went to sit on her dad’s lap.
“Daddy, I have a secret for you!”
Her Dad, happy as a bug, leaned down so she could whisper…
Nina: “Daddy, I love you, I love to skateboard with you and you are my wise old elf! Mummy has chocolate, come with me, I’ll show you where it is!”
WOW… now, how the heck does this little creature know that much about empathy and messaging? This was an amazing lesson for sales efficiency and therefore I had to share it with you!
Kids are excellent negotiators. They go beyond limits to get what they want… but it is not just relentless asking (which also works), they actually know who to ask what to and when exactly. They keep track of your behaviour, your soft points, what you like, how they can bring you value, make you happy before asking; they know how to negotiate, what they can use against or with you to get to the best possible outcome…
They have no shame, no inhibition, no ego to prevent them from coming back again and again with different tactics. “No” is just “no” for now, it can change and they will do everything to change it. That, my friends, is the very Best Practice of Sales!
Having trained dozens of sales teams from the corporate world and hundreds of entrepreneurs, I can say that we all have a lot to learn from children on how to become efficient in sales!
Here are 5 efficiency sales rules that children practice religiously…
1. Don’t try to sell to someone who has no intention of buying
Guess what? Almost 70% of sales failure is related to poor quality leads. We always come back to this point. If your marketing is not good enough to qualify your leads, sales turns into a gambling session that results generally in loss of time and effort, which is absolutely inefficient.
Your marketing and lead generation funnel needs to ensure 3 points:
- There is a need (a problem to solve, pain to relieve, desire to satisfy)
- They are willing to satisfy the need
- They have the ability (budget, decision power) to close.
2. Align your objective to their objective
Let’s admit it, your objective as the solopreneur or micro-business owner is to sell your offer. And let’s face it, your clients could not care less about your company and your objectives. (in the beginning, at least).
They want a solution to a specific problem… End of story. So, where do we go from there?
My motto is “Empathy”.
First of all, we are entrepreneurs, which means we have the advantage of not being in a soulless sales situation, where all we care about is the bonus at the end of the quarter. I am pretty confident that you have a story, your “why” that goes beyond monetary gratification.
Secondly, that story, that “why” in its essence is most likely aligned with their objective. So, lean on your own story to better understand them. You decided to get into this particular business for a reason… what is it…?
Thirdly, the only way to align your objective with their one is to simply become interested and be curious about your prospects. Ask questions, let them speak and listen to them (actively).
This will help you to:
A) Make them feel heard, and
B) Speak their language
3. Sales start the minute you say “Hi” and continues forever… (unless they specifically tell you to stop contacting them).
One of the Gods of Sales, David Sandlers calls this “the Selling Dance”. For you to efficiently manage this long-term relationship the best practice is to have a written sales process. If the sales process is a dance – be the choreographer, plan the journey, know the steps, guide your potential customer and help them move to the next level.
This requires a little work and in our Sales Efficiency module (part of our Business Efficiency for Entrepreneurial Freedom course), we help our members to put together a simple solopreneur friendly Sales Process. This requires a little work and guess what? Your workbook will guide you through this.
Your Sales Process will help you nurture your relationship with all your prospects and customers. You will contact them regularly for different reasons and with different added value. Your sales process will allow you to manage their expectations and align yourself with their needs by setting some rules on things like:
- Reasons why you might contact them
- How you contact them.
4. Don’t get in front of the deal
Oh my, this one is a real sales killer… If you have a good quality lead and you are not closing sales, check this bit first. How can you get in front of the deal?
- You are too humble, which comes across as a lack of conviction that “your offer, your product” is the best possible solution for them.
- You are too enthusiastic, which comes across like a parrot that repeats different qualities and attributes of their products or offers.
- You do not know how to listen – which means you cannot understand what they mean when they say things.
- You are not comfortable with “money talk”, which in general shows as you bringing the budget either at the end of the project, or starting with a sentence like “Here is the price, but of course we can do something about it.”
- You are not persistent: “No” is no just for now. Whether you have an e-commerce business or consultancy business, make sure to have a great system to safely log your increasing knowledge about your potential customer who just said “no.” Thanks to your sales process you will be able to find the right reasons, moments and frequency to reappear in their lives.
Closing does not mean selling – closing means getting a commitment to take them to the next step. This is a top skill to learn and can only be honed when you know your sales process and where you will take them.
My top three rules about this bit are:
- Set deadlines. Whatever needs to happen next, you need to have a deadline – Send me the revised contract by tomorrow. Sign-up within 24 hours. Book now.
- Take as much responsibility as you can. Reminder emails, meeting bookings, etc.
- Ask for permission and agree on the details of the next step.
The “selling dance” is a game of control. If you are able to embrace the leading role, you will manage to guide the process effectively resulting in sales outcomes.
Having said that, sales effectiveness is a combination of many things: understanding of human psychology and behaviours, self-awareness, behavioural change and practice.
However, I believe a big proportion of sales effectiveness is also based on sales efficiency. And sales efficiency can be gained easily with a written sales process that will allow you to be methodical and increase your confidence and thus gain control.
So, the key takeaway is: Develop your sales process!