You’re speaking to a potential client about your service. You know you do a great job, and all your other clients are happy – so it’s a no-brainer for them to come on board.
But they don’t go ahead.
Argh! Why not?
Let’s be honest here… it’s because you suck at selling yourself!
If you’re a service provider, you’re not really in the business of providing a service – you’re in the business of marketing your service and bringing in clients.
That’s just the truth of the noisy, competitive world of today. It’s not enough to be the best at what you do – you also need to be the best at letting people know how good you are.
Some parts of marketing often come easy and naturally for entrepreneurs. For example, writing an educational blog in your niche is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to market yourself and your business.
However, closing potential leads during sales meetings is where most entrepreneurs fail. So many things go into making a good impression as a service provider, and even the slightest missteps can scare a potential client away.
Why? Because as a service provider, you’re likely going to be working closely with the client, on an ongoing basis. Because as a service provider, you’re not selling a product – you’re selling yourself (your skills, communication, etc.).
Here are three of the most common mistakes that could be drastically hurting your sales conversion rates.
- Not listening to your clients
Remember your last sales meeting. Who was talking more – you or the client?
Professionals and business owners often think that sales meetings are presentations of their skills and experience. While that’s partially true, it’s definitely not the only purpose of a sales meeting.
Proving your expertise is important – but don’t make the entire conversation about yourself. Ultimately, sales meetings should be all about the client’s needs and how you can help them achieve their goals. You’ve got the right qualifications? Great. Now let’s move on and talk about what needs to be done.
Of course, sales are just as much art as they are science, and no hard rules will ever apply in 100% of cases. In some meetings, you’ll sell by quietly nodding your head; in others, you’ll sell by being vocal and telling a convincing story.
What to do instead – ask a lot more questions. Be flexible and adapt to different situations, but never put talking before listening. Remember – it’s all about the client and their needs, not you or your business.
- Selling actions, not results
Identifying and offering the end result is one of the core principles of salesmanship, and also one that most entrepreneurs drastically fail at.
The thing is, clients are never after your services – they’re after a solution to their problem. People looking to buy a massage session don’t necessarily need a massage – most of them want to relieve their back pains, relax and have a good time. Companies that hire accountants aren’t simply looking to hire an accountant – they’re looking to save time, energy and money. Someone going into a hardware store to buy a drill doesn’t want a drill – they need a hole.
That’s why your number one goal as a business should be identifying what your ideal customers are all about, recognize their struggles, and sell solutions to those struggles, not just the means to get there.
What to do instead – If someone needs a hole drilled in their wall, you sell the hole, not the drill. Talk about the outcome of hiring you more than just the process of working with you.
- Lack of confidence
Nothing is more alarming to clients than when they sense you aren’t confident in yourself or your service.
Why? Because confidence in your services means you understand what you’re doing, you’ve done it before, and you’re good at it. Weakness means that one of those things might be missing.
Don’t get me wrong – cockyness isn’t the answer. Being overly confident will simply get you kicked through the door without even getting a chance to finish your pitch.
What clients want is someone who knows what they’re talking about and is excited about helping the client reach their goals.
Having a hard time sounding confident? Perhaps the problem is that you don’t fully understand the value of the service you’re providing.
What to do instead – find out more about the impact of the problem at the start of the conversation. That is how much it costs if they don’t hire you. Compare that to how much you charge. Explain those two numbers as part of your conversation.
So there you have it. Three reasons why you suck at selling, and what to do instead. Try it and let me know how you go.