This is hard for me to say out loud. I don’t want you to get mad at me, but I am committed to honesty and the truth is that you will probably never run a successful business.
It’s not because you aren’t good enough and it’s not because you aren’t smart enough. The reason that 90% of small businesses fail within the first two years is because of one thing.
Lack of sales.
We all want to think that it’s because of bad employees or bad timing or maybe you want to believe you failed because you ran into a bit of bad luck. Nope…
Businesses fail because they don’t sell enough stuff. Simple as that.
Whatever it is you are doing and no matter how bad your luck is (I could tell you some gnarly stories about the bad luck I have had in business) you will be able to persevere if you are able to sell.
It doesn’t matter how skilled or how talented you are, if you can not convince a person to give you cash money then you’re efforts are meaningless and ultimately doomed to fail.
There have been three major areas in which I worked on to become the sales person that I am. I will share my experience with you in hopes that you can learn from me.
Let’s make this happen.
Get Comfortable With the World No
Selling makes you vulnerable to rejection. It’s a lot like asking a girl out on a date. There is only one way to find out and that is to ask. The fear of asking is so terrifying to so many people that they would rather watch their business and their lives burn to the ground then to get good at convincing people to give them money.
There’s no way around this. You need to make yourself vulnerable and expose your true intentions.
My uncle works for a major a construction company that manufactures grout and tile glue and other products. He gave me the best advice I ever got in this matter.
Six years ago, the company I was working for flew me to Tampa for a sales meeting. I had been closing a lot of deals on the phone so they thought I was the best choice to attempt to close a partnership deal. I didn’t close the deal, but I went into that meeting more comfortable than I had ever been before. It was all because of my uncles advice. He said…
Remember Tim, the worst thing that can ever happen is that they say no.
The fear of rejection runs so deep with us. Being told no or being put in our place is terrifying, especially if it happens in front of other people. My face gets red just thinking about it.
Regardless, if you want to own a successful business you must absolutely get comfortable with this reality. You’re not going to die and you’re not in any danger. The word no might be painful, but it can only hurt if you let it.
Invest in People and Truly Listen to Them
The word “sales” usually gets associated with snake oil salesman.
Real successful sales leaders are not liars, they are not out to trick anyone and they are not deceptive. The true sales leaders in the world are good at sales because they have established trust.
A true sales person is reliable, honest and dependable and it is his/her or consistency and dedication to his/her word that brings them referrals and keeps people coming back for more. The way to truly build trust with people is to listen to them and to find ways to add value to their lives.
Sales are very simple. Essentially people are exchanging their money for a solution to a problem. If you can solve problems or inconveniences that people have you will be able to sell them anything. So the best way to figure out what someone’s problem is, is to listen to them.
This doesn’t have to be complicated. I’ve read way too many blog posts about sales tactics, about wrap around strategies and about trapping people in conversations. Those tactics can be effective, but they yield short term results and the truth is they make selling more difficult than it needs to be.
Listen to what people are telling you. They are literally telling you what it is they need and what they are willing to give to solve their problem. It’s so simple but people get uncomfortable in silence and open their big fat mouths.
Practice listening. Really listening. Absorb what people are saying and dig into the true meaning behind their words. If you can do this and add value to people’s lives then you will undoubtedly be a great sales person.
Learn from the Pros
I didn’t always know how to do this and the truth is I have a lot more to learn. For the first three years of my entrepreneurial journey, I hardly read anything that wasn’t related to sales and marketing. There were three books in particular that really gave me some understanding of human psychology and why people decide to make the choice to either buy or not buy. I highly recommend you read these books as well.
You Can’t Teach a Kid to Ride a Bike at a Seminar – This book was phenomenal. The author was a man named David Sandler who devised the “Sandler sales system.” Learn his system, memorize it and use it. It changed my life.
How to Sell Anything to Anybody – Joe Girard is still in the Guinness Book of World Records as the greatest salesman to ever live. He has an amazing story of hope, perseverance and bringing value to people’s lives. Definitely read this.
How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie wrote this masterpiece and it continues to be the gold standard in relationship building, social dynamics and human relations. A must read for anyone learning to get better with their people skills.
There are a few other books I would recommend but I plan to write an entire article of books that have had a huge influence on me. As far as building your sales skills, these books should be considered mandatory.
Don’t Let Your Fear Hold You Back
Selling is the most valuable skill of all man kind.
The primary reason I have been successful is because I can talk to people and because I obsessed over the art of selling for years. I did not magically learn how to sell on my own, I had to learn how to do it. I had to get hung up on thousands of times and I had to find my way. But I knew I had to do this because I wanted to have a successful business more than I wanted anything else.
Without revenue, you don’t have a business you just have a dream.
If you can learn the art of selling then you have already taken the initiative to do what 97% of people will not. You have stepped out of your comfort zone and you have proven to yourself that you want you are willing to make yourself vulnerable.
With some dedication, some practice and a willingness you fail, success is all but yours for the taking.