This is a guest post by the fabulous Siôn Owen, Founder (and Ringmaster) of Pitch Circus
Perhaps the biggest challenge for new entrepreneurs is selling. We’re smart and good at what we do, but most of us aren’t natural salespeople. In fact, we cringe when we think of the stereotypical brash salesman who’s patting the client on the back while sliding a fat contract in front of him on the table. We fear selling, because we fear coming off as too “salesy.”
But there’s no need to feel this way. Selling has changed over the years. Authenticity is now paramount, which is good news for those of us who aren’t salespeople. It means we can be more natural and still win great clients. Here are some tips to sell without selling your soul:
Don’t just talk about what you do, but focus on why you do it. How, and why, did you get started? What was your “aha” moment or pain point that drove you towards launching your business? What do you love about what you do? Let your personality and passion shine through, as if you were having a conversation with a friend. This does three things:
- It changes the tone of the interaction from stuffy business meeting to relaxed conversation
- It builds rapport and makes you more likeable
- It makes the client more receptive to the rest of your message
Another way of being less salesy is to talk less. After the introductions, ask the client specific questions to uncover where they need the most help, then just listen. Make eye contact so they know you’re still with them. Take good notes. Once you’ve pulled out the juicy details about their problem areas, address those areas by sharing more stories. Talk about other clients who were in a similar position and the impressive results they achieved from working with you. This flips your message from “I’m great” to “My clients are great because of the work we’ve done together.”
Make it a team effort
Carrying on from that last sentence, get comfortable with “we.” Using “we” puts you in the same camp as your client and establishes a warm and fuzzy “we’re in this together” mentality. It also makes you more approachable as you’re now positioned as another member of the team instead of an outsider. Conclude the meeting by laying out a game plan for the steps you can take together to solve the problems the client is facing.
These tips should help you start overcoming your aversion to selling. Of course, if you still find yourself struggling to get comfortable with your client pitch, I’d love to explore how we can work through that, together.
About Siôn Owen
Siôn’s mission is to kill boring presentations, before they kill us first. He carries out this mission as Ringmaster at Pitch Circus, a fun and fresh presentation training outfit based in Chicago. Sign up for his non-boring weekly newsletter for more content just like this!