Many new founders and entrepreneurs think sales departments are brought to life by some sort of magical skill only known to a few gifted...
Stop Trying to “Hack” Sales
There are no magical beans when it comes to sales.
As an entrepreneur, you have to recognize that there’s no push-button lead generation or automated sales funnel that will get people to pay you if you don't understand what they want, and don't have a sales process that communicates that to them.
There’s no perfect formula or setup that will make things easier until you do.
Putting effort into your sales process isn’t an option, it's a necessity.
If there was an easy solution, everyone would own a business.
And you’re doing yourself a disservice when you try to take short cuts.
Let’s take a look at the reasons why shortcuts in sales will fail, why people don’t want to do the work, and the (mostly...) painless process you should follow instead.
Nothing Can Replace Effort in Sales
If you’re looking to lose weight, can your personal trainer lose the weight for you?
The same goes for sales.
A little effort is required.
In the sales industry, you will find many programs, trainings, and solutions that promise magical ways fix to your sales problem.
Good marketers can prey on this in a variety of ways:
No more cold calling!
Build the Ultimate Sales Machine!
The Predictable Revenue Procedure!
And they're nice ideas - they address pain points every entrepreneur has, and things people don’t want to do.
The problem is, none of these ‘other efforts’ can replace the work needed to successfully sell.
You Have to do the Work
People will make all sorts of excuses for not working on their sales process.
“I don’t have time to get it right.”
"I need more clients now"
“I’m spreading myself too thin”… etc.
You don’t just throw magic beans at the ground and watch a beanstalk automatically grow!
You have to till the soil, plant the seed properly and water it every day.
There is work that has to happen to get your desired result.
We delude ourselves because we don’t want to do the work.
And the thing is - it’s not a ton of work and hours, it’s just not zero hours.
You’re probably already spending a couple hours each week trying to figure out how to remove yourself from sales, so why not spend it laying a foundation for future success?
The Real Reason People Don’t Want to do the Work
The work of building your selling system is necessary and rewarding, but it’s uncomfortable for a lot of founders.
It doesn’t have to be, though.
For instance, if you want to understand your customers better, go talk to 10 people who said no to your offers.
Go find out why.
Vulnerability is powerful, and you'll be surprised how people open up when they don't think you're trying to get them to buy something.
Do some customer development and figure out what you got wrong.
Find out: “What were they expecting from this pitch that I didn’t deliver?”
The hard work isn't the phone calls, it's admitting you don’t have all the answers.
This is the real challenge for most people: accepting that they didn’t get it right.
When you’re trying to fix your sales problem, you’re also trying to fix your own head trash.
There are cultural norms that you’re navigating and challenging.
There are your own personal insecurities you’re working through.
It’s not comfortable, but it's not hard, and it's absolutely necessary for a successful selling system.
Remember, no one has all the answers all the time.
You need to get past that and ADMIT you don’t have the answers but want to learn more about how you can help the people you’re trying to serve.
People will respect your vulnerability and the quality of humane fallacy will attract your customers to you.
There is always room for improvement.
The Work is Understanding Your People
Sales is not about convincing anyone of anything.
Sales is about understanding where your customer is, the problems they have, and the intent behind what they’re trying to solve.
You also need to help them recognize the consequences if they don’t make the change.
That doesn’t happen through a sales funnel.
There must be a relationship.
You can't fake that with a piece of software or a pickup line.
What makes you different from everyone else?
It’s not that you deliver quality work on time - that’s a basic expectation.
You need to figure out, by going through the sales process yourself, what you can offer that makes you stand out from the crowd.
Why do people say yes to you?
Why do people actually want to work with you?
What problem are you solving?
A lot of the times, your customer will come to you with “x” problem, but the real issue is 2 or 3 steps ahead.
It’s a piece of the puzzle and it’s up to you to figure out the rest out.
If you can figure this out for them, you can serve them in a way that no one else can.
If you can’t clearly articulate who you serve and how you serve them, you’re going to fail. Across the board. On all levels.
That’s because you’ll never really connect with them.
Sales is All About Relationships
One of the things I love about modern day sales is that it’s so much more honest than the old days.
A lot of founders have this misconception that they have to be perfect., or at least look like it.
They think they have to say the exact right thing at the exact right time.
They think there’s some “magical word or phrase” that they haven’t discovered yet that’s going to magically solve their sales problems.
But none of that is real.
What is real is showing up with a deep understanding of your customers' problems and how you can help.
Have a conversation about that - it can be an awkward one, a disjointed one, but what matters is that you step into that conversation and allow it to lead where it will lead.
At some point you’ll find that “bucket of people” who you’re a good fit for.
Then your mindset changes and you’re able to approach the conversations differently.
When you make a decision to form relationships with your customers instead of seeing it as “closing a sale,” then you go into things with the right intentions and commitment.
Your job is to have a clear idea of the market you’re serving.
What problem do I solve? Who best benefits from that problem getting solved?
And then it’s all about having as many conversations with those people as possible and helping them to see the solution.
Or, if they’re not ready to do what it takes to get to the solution, then it’s about helping them to see what stands in the way of their success.
The intent in this relationship is to help!
Not to try and trick them into saying yes and closing a deal.
And there are no magic beans that are going to fix your sales process if you haven’t figured that out.