Yes, sales……this is a big topic and I will admit it’s not really my area of expertise……
So, why am I writing about sales then I hear you ask?
Because it’s fundamental to having a successful business that’s going to support you!
And, because the idea of sales and selling to people has been one of the trickiest things I’ve had to get my head around in business and I’ve found it the same for many of my clients too.
You need to sell your products/services as you need people to buy them otherwise you don’t have a business.
But, you want to do this genuinely and authentically.
You don’t want to do the hard sales and big close thing and come across as needy, it’s icky!
And you really don’t want to be rejected either. People saying no is like the worst thing!
Yep, I put my hand up and say this is exactly the thoughts that went through my head too as I started out with my business!
The furthest I got with touching on sales in both my PT and coaching training courses was the idea of offering a taster session so people could find out more about coaching and experience my approach. What the courses didn’t go in to was how to get potential clients to say yes to that session in the first place and how to then encourage them to commit to a coaching programme.
It was all very unclear to me….
I had no previous experience in sales.
Knowing that this area filled me with some dread and ickiness, I had to find a way of changing my perspective on selling by finding an approach that felt authentic and genuine.
If I didn’t my business was going to be dead in the water.
And this is when I came across the Connect – Invite – Create – Propose process described by Rich Litvin and Steve Chandler in their book “The Prosperous Coach”.
It changed everything for me and I still follow it now. I found it genuinely inspiring because it’s based on creating authentic relationships and being deeply curious about people and offering your product/service to them when it is genuinely of service and you know you can help them.
With this process the sale and money become secondary, the relationship and the individual in front of you is the priority. You want to be of service to them.
But one of the biggest things to address first before looking at the process is the fear of rejection. The fear stops so many in their tracks, they stop even trying.
Without reframing this first no process is going to work because you’re unlikely to get past the starting gate in fear they’ll say no anyway.
The thing about business is that 95% of the time people will say ’no’ or ’not right now’ and most sales come from the last 5% who say ‘yes, let’s do it’ (I’ve made up those percentages but it’s not far off the mark and hopefully you get my point).
You have to work through all those no’s to find those yeses! Normalise getting a no and seek out the ‘yeah sure’s’ as if it’s a game.
Honestly, no is all part of business – it’s not failure, it’s learning.
So on to……
CONNECT – INVITE – CREATE – PROPOSE
Now this process was written by Litvin and Chandler with coaches in mind but I know I’m not talking to just coaches and I know this can be applied to any business, so I am taking it and generalising it for all……
So, let’s look at each step:
Look for the people you really want to work with or have as your customers.
Be where they are at and start a conversation with them.
You can connect with people both on and offline – there are so many opportunities.
Be genuinely curious about them and their lives.
Go in playfully with a sense of humour.
Connect with individuals (your yummy potential customers/clients) as many times as necessary to build a good relationship.
At some point, you may see a way that you can support or be of service to them – with a book or product recommendation or referral.
They could tell you about the challenge their facing and that’s when you go to the next step…..
If you’re talking to someone and it becomes clear that they could really get some value from your service or product as it would help with their problem or desire ask them “Would you like some help with that?”.
If they say yes arrange a time to meet up and have a chat about what you can do to help them – ideally show them. Let them experience it.
An alternative is you can ask them if they could help you. You can say “Can you help me? I’m looking for…… this kind of person, who does this or is this as I have this product/service available….. Do you know anyone?”. They may turn around and say that’s them or they may reflect on who they know.
If they identify someone else get them to encourage that person to make contact with you. Tell them you don’t want to cold-call (hard sales, icky stuff) so you would rather know that that person is interested by them making contact.
Whichever way it goes, seek to get a chat/meeting/call/appointment (whatever you want to call it) in the diary with them.
Because then you can move on to the next step……
Creating is about the experience the potential client/customer receives while they are with you.
Serve them as if they were already a paying client/customer, show them what you can do for them to address the challenge or desire they have, give them a taster of it.
Remembering that it’s about the relationship with them rather than getting the sale.
As Litvin says “Don’t close a sale – open a relationship!”
They will feel the genuine interest in them as a person. People like to be seen, truly seen.
If by this point they haven’t already asked how they can become a client or customer….
But you get a sense that they are interested, this is the time to ask “Would you like to hear a little more about how we could work together?” Or “Would you like to know more about the product/s that would help you?”. You are seeking permission to continue when it comes to making a proposal.
They will then say “yes” or “no” or even “not at this time” (I love this one because you know they are now a fan at least and at some time in the future, they’re likely to come back!).
From here you know where to go…..
If they say “no” – gracefully thank them for being honest – saying no can be really hard, we’re not very good at it.
Keep in touch with them and continue to serve them with content and offers. Encourage them to sign up to your mail list, social media etc. Sometime in the future, they may change their mind!
If they say “yes” – start to talk about the logistics of purchasing / working with you. Know your numbers (prices, packages) and process off by heart so it comes across smoothly and genuine.
So, CONNECT – INVITE – CREATE – PROPOSE!
AND THEN KEEP PRACTICING……
I have been quite general in this so the next step is to ask yourself ‘how can I make this work for me?’.
This sales process is all about relationships with people and not so much about sales funnels, landing pages, content creation, mail lists, sales copy etc etc.
The hard way is complicated and confusing and stumps most people and requires a lot if time to work it all out. Or you hire someone!
This is simple and only requires you!
Give it a try and tell me what you think!
I’d love to hear about your experience…..
P.S. Know somebody who needs to see this? Give ’em a helping hand by sharing this with them.
AND here’s just a little reminder of what I do…
I work with female entrepreneurs and business owners who want to build their dream businesses!
I will help you get clear on what you need to do, how you’ll do it and keep you on track. You’ll give self-doubt the elbow, saying bye to overwhelm and hello to assertive action. Saving you time, effort and energy!
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