10 Things Everyone Should Know About Selling

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John Nieuwenburg

John Nieuwenburg has been a professional business coach since 2004. Prior to becoming a coach, he held executive positions with Tip Top Tailors and BC Liquor Stores. In 2019, MacKay CEO Forums awarded him with Canada’s CEO Trusted Advisor Award in the Small Business category. Since becoming a coach, John has worked with over 350 clients, taking them through a systematic process that helps them feel organized, confident and in control of their businesses.

I think the first sales training I had was when I was around twenty-three or twenty-four.

So that was over forty years ago!

I’ve been a student of sales ever since.

Many people have a negative connotation of sales. They believe that selling is about pushing something on someone.

If that’s how you do your selling, then you’re the kind of sales person that people hate!

If sales feels a bit outside your comfort zone, here are 10 things you need to know.

1. Selling is service

Selling really is an act of service to your prospect because you’re expert in what you do and they aren’t.

They’re looking for help or solution. It’s your job to help them make a decision that’s in their best interest – not yours.

If you embrace that thought, then selling is a gift because you’re helping someone make a decision that’s right for them.

If you hold that intention, it comes through in how you do everything when you’re with a client or prospect.

2. Selling is leadership

Another way of looking at selling is to see it as leadership.

Your prospects don’t know how to proceed.

They’re trying to figure out how to buy those widgets.

Your job as a salesperson is to lead them.

3. Selling starts with mindset

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about selling or salespeople?

If you think “icky” or “pushy” or “manipulative,” that negativity is going to have an adverse effect on your ability sell.

Effective selling starts with having a positive mindset about selling.

Do you notice that you feel differently when you think about selling as service or leadership?

4. Selling is a process

Selling is a process. It’s a system. It should be repeatable.

The best salespeople run the same process time and again. They have scripts that they follow.

Some people operate best when they are highly scripted, others simply identify milestones and guideposts that help them move through the process.

Don’t try to wing it. Use a sales conversation agenda!

5. If you sell a service, you need to make your process visible

Most people don’t know how to buy services.

If you offer a service, find a way to make your process visible.

Show them how you use a repeatable, robust, and predictable way to get them the outcome they are looking for.

This will make your service easier for them to understand and buy.

6. You need to answer 5 questions

Your prospects have these 5 questions.

  1. Who are you? Can I trust you?
  2. Can your company help? (Remember that your company is an entity separate from you.)
  3. Do you have something to offer that can help me with a problem?
  4. How much is it? Is the value appropriate?
  5. When do I have to decide?

Make sure you answer them – in the order listed – as part of your sales process.

7. If you want to sell, you need to get out from behind the keyboard

Many owners procrastinate.

I see them expect that they’re going to get a client from behind a keyboard.

They’ll do some social content. They’ll send them an email. They’ll tweet. They’ll write a blog post.

What I keep saying over and over and over again is that no one will become a client of a service professional unless they’ve had at least one – and often two – conversations.

So your goal ought to be: “What’s the best, fastest way that I can get a conversation going?”

8. Imperfect action beats perfect plans every time

That’s a James Clear quote.

I see a lot of new business owners who want to have the perfect website, the perfect logo, the perfect business card before they start.

Perfection isn’t needed. A one page website to legitimize your business along with an email address connected to your business name is all you need to get started.

Then you need to go find people and start talking to them.

No complicated plan required!

9. The best salespeople have empathy and ego drive

The Canadian Professional Sales Association says that the best salespeople have a combination of five qualities or characteristics.

I believe that empathy and ego drive are the most important.

Empathy is the ability to identify with other people’s feelings and frustrations. It requires establishing rapport, good listening skills, and curiosity.

Bad salespeople think that it’s all about “what am I going to say next?” Good salespeople ask questions and then just listen.

Ego drive is about competitiveness. Salespeople with strong ego drive look for ways to measure themselves. They possess leadership qualities and are not afraid to exert pressure.

Ego drive without empathy leads to the stereotypical “salesperson as shark” behaviours, whereas empathy without ego drive leads to lacklustre results. You want to develop both.

10. Want to get better at sales? Focus on the 3 As!

The three A’s are attitude, acumen, and activity.

I don’t like the word attitude, I think of it more as mindset, but mindset doesn’t start with the letter A. 🙂 Great salespeople have a positive mindset.

Acumen is about skill. Sales is a skill that can be learned! If you don’t know how to sell, get some sales training. Or hire a business coach. 🙂

Activity is about taking action. When it comes to activity, I notice that a lot of owners who are struggling with sales aren’t doing enough of the right things.

Without sales, you have no business

Becoming proficient at sales is something every business owner needs to do. Without sales, you have no business.

Some owners try to get around this by trying to outsource their sales too early.

As much as I tell my clients they need to delegate, I also advise them that sales is one of the LAST things to delegate.

Instead, make a commitment to get good at sales.

Your business will benefit from it. And you may even begin to like it.

If you’d like some 1:1 support to develop your sales skills, book a call to discuss business coaching

I’ve helped many clients overcome their discomfort with sales, develop a system for selling, and increase their revenue dramatically.

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