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Without sales you have no business. And for most starting a new business there are often no funds to employ a sales team. As well as the CEO, CFO, designer, bookkeeper, marketing guru, etc., you also need to become the sales authority in your business. You may have full confidence in your product or service but you have recognised an important factor: that sales are critical to business and selling is a skill.
To become confident in sales here are five clear-cut steps.
1. Develop a positive self-image
Develop a positive self-image by believing you are an expert in your field. See yourself as a bearer of good news, a problem solver, and a competent, knowledgeable expert. Own it. Recognise you have information and ideas that will add value for your prospect. Be happy with who you are and become comfortable in your own skin.
2. Gain clarity
As we have already covered in depth, confidence in yourself and in your product should never be underrated when it comes to selling. For many people the source of their lack of confidence is confusion over what they do. Often, it is simply that you are not being clear enough about who your target market is and the problems your products and services solve. Gaining clarity in this area provides a massive boost to confidence, especially when you try it out for real and get a positive response very quickly.
3. Learn the skills
Many people start a business with no background in sales and quickly realise how critical it is to their success. So find information on selling by attending courses, reading books, listening to podcasts, and by being mentored by someone who has proven success in the field. Whatever methods you choose, you will increase your confidence when you have mastered the right selling techniques. For many people who start in business for themselves, selling is a very emotional subject and sometimes people can feel as if they have been thrown in the deep end.
Like learning any new skill, the sales process is often uncomfortable at first. There is a lot to think about when you first begin, but the more you practice, the more it becomes automatic and the more you feel in control. The issue with sales is that people who are reluctant to sell shy away and just do not get enough practice. You will win some and lose some, but with every deal your ability increases and so does your confidence in being able to sell.
5. Expect success
It is important to understand the power of the mind and how what we focus on is what we get. If you think about what would happen if you fail rather than succeed it will sap your energy and your confidence. Start to visualise what success would look like. Set some goals and imagine achieving them and how that would feel. Do the same thing at every appointment you attend and every call you make. Imagine every meeting is successful and you feel inspired with confidence during the meeting. You may not necessarily win every deal – no one does – but you will feel great.
This is an edited extract from Good Girls Do Sell: The Modern Businesswoman’s Guide to Authentic Selling by Janeen Vosper – designed to empower you to feel confident and brave in every sales exchange.