Many people enter the world of entrepreneurship and freelancing work because:
- Opportunities are available and our culture encourages it,
- They want to be their own boss,
- They have the skills that the work requires, or
- They’ve heard success stories that make them believe it’s possible.
However, many people who go into business for themselves have no real business management experience or other relevant training. They also don’t realize until they’ve begun their business journey that having some type of sales skills are crucial to the work.
The sales process consists of several key steps.
- Having or gaining business knowledge,
- Approaching the potential client,
- The needs assessment,
- The presentation,
- The close, and
- The follow-up
Every sale we make, whether we intend to do it or not, follows this process. Sometimes it just happens naturally. Sometimes, (especially online), customers walk themselves through their own sales processes.
Most experts believe that customers buy for emotional reasons and also because they trust the seller. You will find many marketing gurus, think-tanks and agencies trying to sell you ways to earn potential client trust; many of which are expensive, time-consuming and being done by everyone.
Large brands and companies with good funding resources can afford to invest in substantial marketing campaigns. However, for most freelancers and entrepreneurs, this type of investment is impossible.
How then can you build customer trust and make sales quickly and easily?
Researchers Thomas Travisano and William Brooks stumbled on an interesting fact about the emotional triggers that compel people to buy. They interviewed all types of B2B decision-makers and consumer buyers to figure out what makes them buy some products and services and not others for their book – You’re Working Too Hard to Make the Sale!
They learned that customers buy most frequently from people and brands they feel understand them.
Many sales professionals learn to approach the sales process by finding out what the client’s needs are, and then, telling them how the features of the product or service they sell can meet those needs. Though this is often an effective approach, the researchers found it was more effective to couple this with a sales process carried out by a person that understands the buyers underlying emotional needs. The seller that best understands those needs is the seller that also shares them now or shared them at one point in his or her career or life. An office manager turned sales rep, therefore has a good chance of making sales to office managers that are decision-makers and purchasers of office equipment and so on.
On a personal level, think how much easier it is to take restaurant recommendations from someone you know enjoys the same foods that you do. Similar people have similar pain points. Understanding and addressing pain points are a huge part of making any sale.