They say that true Sales are in your genetics…
My dad lovingly refers to Sales as ‘the gift of the gab’. If you’re unlucky enough to have ever been at a family function and have a family member who’s been a moderate success in the world of Sales, you’ll no doubt know how the story goes…
It goes something along the lines of your Auntie throwing out loose terms about your cousin who sells used cars part-time such as, “Our Robert is a true salesman; he could sell ice to Eskimos!” (I always wondered how difficult it would be to actually accomplish this!)
Now, although I fully agree that as a person you can be a natural salesperson and have the ‘gift of the gab,’ in my career in furniture sales, (for more information about my background in sales click here) I discovered that truly successful salespeople do not operate just with their natural talent, but by using techniques and a specific skill-set to achieve a much greater level of success than they would have accomplished on raw talent alone.
My aim is to share with you a small part of what I have learned through the last 10 years (I’ll skip the part about finishing a beer-bong in under 5 seconds) so that you can apply this to your plans for growing your own remote business. I truly believe sales is in so many things that we do through our lives and can be hugely beneficial if you understand how to apply its principles.
Whether you’re getting to know a friend, conducting a job interview, selling in your job, trying to get someone to come to the movies with you or even just going on a date (I wouldn’t recommend this as a starting point if it’s your first go!) all of these things require you to ‘sell’.
In future blog posts, I plan to talk about different ways to sell, including – the art of closing, understanding buying signals, the influence of body language, how to ask questions and the 5 step process I use when dealing with customers in my job role.
Understanding Sales – How this can affect any business
It can be hard to know what’s going on when starting out. It’s important to remember that customers come first (doughnuts come second for now). The most important lesson I got from working in the furniture industry was understanding that to be truly the best I needed to focus on my customers by getting close to them (emotionally that is, I don’t think to stand 5cm’s from someone’s face is a good way to sell), listening to what they want and then giving that to them.
I always thought that the only factor that determined whether I converted a customer into buying a product was what I did. A mistake that many make, there are actually many aspects that factor into whether somebody is going to buy from you.
It doesn’t matter if you’re selling from a market stall, in a shop or from a website, first impressions are everything. In the furniture industry, we call it ‘showroom standards.’ It is hands down one of the most important factors to elevating yourself above the competition.
It doesn’t matter how good your content or product is if somebody else’s product looks better it’s more likely that the customer will choose your competitor.
I learned this early on in the first couple of weeks in sales. I had put a sofa in the front window of the shop that was reduced down due to coming back from a customer’s house. The sofa, however, had been heavily used. Although it was a very good price and a bargain, it didn’t look overly attractive as the cushions were very sunken and the leather had gone baggy. My manager, at the time, pointed out to me that you wanted to have your most attractive and inviting stock at the front of the shop to invite people inside; displaying ugly stock could potentially put people off from coming into your shop.
So the first question we should ask ourselves is what does our first impression say about our business?
There is a fantastic post on locationrebel.com written by Sean Ogle that takes you through a 60-minute blog audit. It’s a great post to take you through your blog, but you could apply the principles to any website or homepage. He covers different aspects such as:
- Do You have a Professionally Designed Logo?
- Is Your Tagline Clear Enough?
- Do You Have a Bio Box?
- Has Your About Page Been Updated in the Last Year?
- Do You Have an Incentive to Opt-in?
- Do Your Headlines Suck?
- Are you Communicating with Your Subscribers?
- Are you Writing for the Reader, or Yourself?
- Are you Leveraging Social Proof?
You can check the post out here.
So to clarify…
Hopefully, this has given you a little insight into how understanding sales can help impact your remote business. The main aspects I would first focus on is establishing a great first impression, via your businesses website or your own blog.
Once you have set yourself up with a great first impression for your readers/customers we can next week delve a little deeper into how you should try and interact with your readers and build a strong relationship with your customers/readers and try and create ‘Super-fans,’ who love you and your brand, who will promote you and believe in you. I’ll also talk about how using open and closed questions in your business and your social networking and social life can tie into building relationships and how using these skills can lead to increased engagement with your customers and readers.
Until then, thanks, everyone!