Entrepreneur by JC Hite
Sometimes, it’s not your abilities that let you down. It’s doubting yourself.
“When I was first getting clients, it felt like I had to fight objections in near hand-to-hand combat with the prospect,” Joshua Centers, founder of Clicks on Command, told me once. “They’d eventually tap out, and I became disheartened. It wasn’t that I couldn’t sell; it was that I doubted whether I could pull it off. I was not confident, and it was affecting my sales.”
This experience is very common with entrepreneurs, and though sales isn’t everyone’s forte, it’s possible to get better at it. You may feel you’re bad at sales because of your lack of experience selling, and you’ll try to make up for it by taking courses, reading books and watching videos to close that gap.
However, the best way to improve your sales performance — and performance in other areas — is actually to improve your confidence first. Confidence has been shown to positively affect performance in many areas, from school to athletics to the workplace. Here are three ways to boost your confidence and sell more.
1. Learn more about your product
One of the reasons you may feel less confident in sales is not because you don’t know sales, but because you don’t know your product well enough. When you need notes or even a presentation to sell a product, you don’t know it well enough.
This doesn’t mean that visual or written aids can’t help you sell. But if you couldn’t talk about the product without using these aids, then there’s a problem. The more comfortable you are with the product, the more confident you are in your own ability to talk about it.
Take the time to learn about your product. What does it really do? How does it work? How has it helped your current clients? What do they like about it? Being able to handle the details of the product and speak about it more qualitatively will make a huge difference.
Even further, this familiarity comes across in your sales conversation, making you appear more relaxed, knowledgeable, and assertive — all of which help you sell.
2. Build an arsenal of what already converted
There’s a reason companies use case studies to sell: They work. People like reviews, unboxings, data and evidence that a product actually does what you say it does. However, beyond being more convincing, knowing what already worked can help your confidence.
Instead of making an empty promise to a customer in your sales pitch, bring up examples of when you used the product to successfully grow another client. In digital marketing, I can present a funnel that I know has already converted leads for my clients.
The more you believe in your own product, with actual examples and evidence to back you up, the more confident you’ll be in it — and in your ability to sell it.
3. Use the DIP method
Centers, who I quoted at the beginning of this article, uses a method he calls the DIP Method to organize and close his sales conversations. DIP stands for Discover, Identify, Position.
The DIP Method focuses on finding your customer’s needs and targeting them. Instead of jumping into why your product is so great, you should find the reasons why your customer needs your product and how it can be the best solution for their problems.
- Discover: Ask your customer some questions. How many leads do you have right now? What is your offer? What marketing efforts are you currently conducting? Don’t interrupt them or answer for them in this part. Let them talk to you about what they’re doing in their marketing and lead-capturing, without filters or expectations.
- Identify: Based on their answers, you should know what problems they’re having. Do they have little to no leads? Do they have a problem converting leads? Are they not running any marketing at all? Identify the problems and relay them back to your customer so they can confirm them. Often, the customer may not recognize them for themselves, but since you’re basing it on the answers they gave, they can easily accept them to be true.
- Position: Here’s where you shine. Position your product or service to solve the problems you and the customer identified. Tell them you and your product can help and explain how. This is where you make your sales pitch, getting into benefits, features and pricing. However, it should always be focused on solving the problems they’ve identified.
Following the DIP Method gives you confidence, not only in your process but also in knowing that your product can actually help your customer. If you’ve built confidence in your product, your process and yourself, you can more effectively sell and promote your product and business.
This article was first published in Entrepreneur.