Many of my clients are people who never – ever – wanted to “sell” anything. They are:
Owners of startups, passionate and knowledgeable about the product they’ve created but now need to produce revenue;
Franchisees with tons of relevant knowledge about their product or service, but absolutely no sales experience;
Entrepreneurs with very specialized skills, of value to large markets, who need to grow their business beyond their networking opportunities; and
Professionals whose careers have blossomed and grown through networking and referrals for years, maybe even decades, but now they need to find and cultivate new clients.
For many of these people, when it comes to selling, they struggle – with language, tone of voice, asking for the sale. They associate “sales” with reprehensible characters like those in Glengarry Glen Ross and, as a consequence, become apologetic, tentative and shy.
I empathize completely. My post-secondary degree is in English and Theology (I’m not making that up). I worked as a journalist which enhanced my ability to communicate on the phone, but not my sales skills. In fact, before becoming an entrepreneur, the only things I’d ever “sold” were Girl Guide cookies and magazine subscriptions for high school fundraisers. (Thank heavens for neighbours and family!)
When I first picked up the phone to sell, I failed . . . and I failed for a long time. I, too, was apologetic, tentative and … well it’s doubtful I was shy, but I could not ask for the sale.
How did I change this? I altered my relationship with sales by crystallizing my intention for creating my business.
“Intention” is defined as the state of mind with which an act is done. In other words, beyond the “goal” of creating revenue, why are you approaching your potential customers?
For me, it’s about helping people communicate more effectively on the phone. And on a deeper level, it’s about sharing a valuable skill set, a skill set that I know builds strong relationships and makes a difference in how we understand each other as human beings, in how we can make amazing things happen.
Do I want to make money? Yes, of course. I have bills to pay and old age to think about. But the money is not why I’m The Phone Lady. (If I wanted to work for the sole purpose of creating revenue, I’m pretty sure I’d choose a job with a pension.)
Knowing this directly impacts my language, my tone of voice, my actions. Rather than being apologetic, I’m straightforward. Rather than being tentative, I’m energetic. Rather than being shy … you get the picture.
Get out of the Glengarry Glen Ross mind set. Define and set your intention for your business. Beyond making money , why does it matter that your company succeeds? How will you positively impact the lives of your prospects when they become your customers?
Write down your intention. Keep it in front of you. Own your intention everyday. When you do this, your actions will align with your intent. Suddenly, your tone of voice will change. The words you choose will change. And while you may still be an introvert, you’ll find the courage to speak about your intent.
You will start closing sales … and it will be an incredibly enjoyable and satisfying experience for both you and for your clients.
Enjoy your phone work everyone!