Business coach Odette Laurie answers peoples’ business questions on her blog . Here she shares advice on how to get over those negative feelings some of us experience when trying to SELL!
I don’t know what to say to people when I go to networking events. I know I need to tell people who I am and what my business is but I am afraid it will come across as too salesy. What do I say so I sound ‘natural’ and that doesn’t scare them away? Thank you for your help, KR
Thank you KR, great question!! It’s a universal concern because society has conditioned us that sales is ‘bad’. When we go into a store we typically avoid eye contact with the sales person so we don’t get ‘sold to’.
But the reality is that selling has been around since the stone ages and it is at the core of all societies across the world. So the issue is our belief around selling, not the necessity of selling to survive.
I want you to ask yourself; what is your belief about sales? Where did those beliefs come from? How are those beliefs affecting your ability to make money in your business? Check out my video training series on mindset.
There are a few rules of thumb when you go into business for yourself and one of them is that if you are reliant on your business for income (or want to have a business that makes you money) you must incorporate selling as a daily activity in your business. in other words you can not avoid selling. Selling is not something we ‘do’ to people, it’s something we do ‘for’ people.
One trick that was very helpful for me years ago was to change the word ‘selling’ to ‘helping’. If you are in integrity with your product or service and truly believe that you have something people need or will benefit from, then you are ‘helping’ them. By the very nature of being an entrepreneur we want to help people and our product or service will help others have better businesses or better lives.
Once you get comfortable with this notion go back to using the word selling because, after all, you are in business and that is what businesses do, they sell.
The other rule of thumb is practicing the art of selling. You need to get good at selling and the way to do that is to exercise the sales muscle every day. Networking is a perfect place to build relationships, be seen and heard and practice the language that makes up your sales conversation. Start by just having regular conversations getting to know the members of the group. Be more interested than interesting. Listen and ask questions about them before talking about yourself. Think of how you can help them, rather than worrying about or shying away from engaging in conversation because you are afraid that talking about your business will sound like a sales pitch. Furthermore, remove the term ‘salespitch’ all together because it stems from a negative feeling about selling.
Think in terms of having a conversation with someone to build a relationship on trust. But in order to build trust people need to know you first. So attending networking groups regularly, consistently and following through are key to growing your business.
Building a business needs to include selling, helping and relationship building. There is no way around it and getting good at it will make your life that much richer.
Submit your burning question to Odette at firstname.lastname@example.org