If You Don’t Have This, Your Business Will Fail

An Open Interview With Debbie White

Note: This is the first in a series of articles about how you can develop a sales strategy that really works. This week, I met with a freelance writer who sometimes wonders whether leaving the security of a corporate salary was such a wise idea. Don is an accomplished writer, copywriter, and marketing consultant – but he struggles with sales. In this first meeting, we identified the root of the problem: If success is just sales – then failure is a lack of sales.

How to get started with Sales Success

Don: Debbie, in your talk, Three Core Principles to Mastering Trust-Based Selling, you say, “Success is just Sales.” That concept seems a bit far-fetched; I mean success is getting up early, working hard, and knowing your stuff … right?

Debbie: Don, there are many salespeople and service professionals who are at the desk before sunrise, and they don’t let up until after nightfall. Many of them have advanced degrees in management, marketing, or another discipline – yet, when they divide total revenue by total hours invested, they aren’t doing much better than any other laborer. They just can’t seem to get ahead.

Don: I can confirm that, Debbie. When you’re a freelancer or commissioned representative – with expenses and overhead to cover – there can sometimes be a pitiful few dollars left to take home.

I thought the American Dream was to work hard and prosper, not to work hard and starve!

The Key Ingredient

Home run Baker

via Rick Scully, creative commons

Debbie: Everything is about sales, and everyone is in sales. If you don’t have sales, you don’t have a business – no matter how hard you work. You have to change your mindset, Don. You have to get over it. Whether you are a writer, a banker, or a consultant: You must have sales. And the hardest sell in the world is to sell yourself.

Don: Do you mean sell myself TO myself?

Debbie: No, that’s important too – but most service professionals already believe in their skills. They know they are good. They just don’t know how to sell themselves. Truth is, they are often embarrassed to try to sell themselves – as if other people should somehow just KNOW how good they are and how much they have to offer. Those people are in need of developing a sales strategy and honing their sales skills. They need it more than anyone.

You see, those who sell products need only to study product knowledge. That, along with a well-crafted presentation or script and some core sales skills, will prepare them to do a decent job for their employers.
Service professionals, though – lawyers, dentists, mortgage bankers, executive coaches, consultants of all types, and the like – they must sell THEMSELVES to prospective clients. No matter how good your product or how great the offer, if your prospective customers don’t like you, they rarely buy from you. As a professional, out there selling your OWN services, that truth is magnified!

If I don’t trust and like you, I probably won’t do business with you. Moreover, it is critical that service professionals know how to POSITION themselves for sales.

The importance of positioning

Don: What do you mean, Debbie? How do I position myself for sales?

Debbie: When you have a hesitation, you make your prospect hesitate. And, when you have an uncertainty or doubt, the prospect can FEEL that doubt — it is transferred to the person you were hoping to convince.

Sales is a communication skill, a leadership skill. You must be confident in yourself and your ability to sell effectively. If you aren’t sure of yourself, how do you expect your prospect to feel good about trusting you with his or her business? Your uncertainty can KILL a sale – a sale that otherwise could be a perfect fit.

You have to OWN your authority.

Don: How do I do that, Debbie?

Debbie: First and foremost, we need a well-crafted strategy for your business. That strategy must be designed to position you FOR success AND position you, in advance, to overcome the objections you are sure to hear.

I can show you how to be confident in your sales ability. Together, we can lay out a success strategy. You will know what to do and why you are doing it. You can stop feeling like you are trying to manipulate people and begin gaining the confidence to effectively communicate and engage in a sales conversation.

For people like you, who are selling their own services, this type of training is imperative – yet hardly anyone ever gets it. You are a service professional, but you are also a salesman, and you desperately need this knowledge.

Otherwise, you are setting yourself up for low performance, burnout, and failure.

The bottom line is this:

If you don’t make sells you don’t generate revenue, and if you don’t generate revenue, you don’t have a business.

And that is why “Success is just … Sales.”

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