After 10 years of doing direct selling, I have woken up to the fact that I was doing sales all wrong. Being a Founder cum Marketing Head cum Peon it is very difficult to get focus on a singular business process. Maybe I sucked at all these business processes as my attention got divided. But there are many small business owners like me who are smart sellers.
The Biggest Mistake I do when selling
I know what I am selling, this makes me extremely cocky. Also, due to scarcity of time, my talk is to cut out of the bull shit. But what if the prospect was not a bull shit person? The prospect is again a human like me with expectation and is looking for a near perfect solution for his requirement.
It would have been a relationship building exercise If I had the patience to ask the prospect what he is looking for? Instead I usually end up trying to hard sell what I have.
In addition to my lack to time, there are other factors which make me hardshell. The prospect wants the sky and is unreasonable. I think my lesson is too not judge the prospect too soon. Give him a leeway and maybe the prospect could end up giving me an idea for a product for which there is a decent market.
Sorry for blabbering.
Sales Rule – Ask what are the expectations of the prospective customer before giving him your rate card. See how much of the expectations can you manage by up-selling to him.
To avoid this kind of bias, let me call it the “Founder/Peon Bias”. I am working on a sales process checklist, here is the link – https://listables.com/public/checklist/GmO45DCbsmSaODuT4twpM2caObIhK5HjzPGZatANpHMDRemcgGRe0nB9h3l+OQB7
Last month I got a call from a principal of a media institute, she said, would I talk about entrepreneurship and marketing to a bunch of school kids. I tried to wiggle out of the situation by telling her that I was not someone who school kids would look up to, but she is a senior person, and I knew I couldn’t push it.
After that, I was wondering what will I talk to a bunch of school kids. I had marked my calendar for the wrong time spot, as a consequence, I reached about 45 mins late completely unaware that I am late. I was extremely politely told I have 15 mins to talk and if needed, they could extend. (Maybe I should count so overtly on my google calendar for appointments.)
To my pleasant surprise, the students there were dying to hear from me, I just realised, how deprived school students could be for exposure about what life has for them once they are out of the school. I wished I had gone to my school into my classroom and given that talk to my class and I was a student there.
I gave my best for the next 15 mins, cramping up my one-hour presentation in under 15 mins.
Below are a couple of pictures.
As a person who sells advertising, I get to meet small businesses owners. One of the most pertinent mission of these businesses is managing to just keep going, or to be in the game or to not run out of cash.
Most of these businesses also hardly have any resources which they can deploy to actually create a business plan or support a strategy by investing in technology or human resource. In such demanding and challenging times, these businesses solely survive by the will or grace of GOD, or the invisible hand of the market, which manages to keep these businesses afloat in the chaos system they operate.
One of the important lesson I learnt from a ISO consultant when I was in the manufacturing business was “What can be measured, can be improved” which also means that “what is not measured cannot be improved upon“.
As a small business, if you really want to grow and churn in those sales figures, Ask yourself are you really measuring the inputs v/s outputs. Do you measure your sales/marketing efforts diligently? Does it make sense to put use of resources for the sole purpose of measurement, will the cost incurred for measurement purpose give justifiable results?
If the answer is “NO”, then all you need to do is thank GOD every-night, because he made sure, you got food on the table tonight.
Note: The writer is the only person in his business, and doesn’t prefer to measure his efforts and is an atheist.