Our last post discussed the importance of strategy and goal setting in the development of a successful business. It also gave you some good advice on present moment awareness. In this post we continue to the discussion on strategy and on closing contracts.
Week 3 saw me back in my base office ready to take on the world. My confirmed client schedule well defined and a list of prospects looming on my whiteboard just waiting to be called.
Not a Natural Salesman
I am not a natural salesman. The thought of getting in front of someone to ask them for money in exchange for a product or service is not something I crave. Like most people of a technical background there is a small sense of fear that their rejection of my product or service is in fact a proxy for a rejection of me. However a funny thing happens when sales is no longer a hobby, no longer an intellectual curiosity to be viewed from the sidelines. No, now my business success rides on my ability to ask for the sale and close the deal.
It was funny how smoothly I was able to make the transition. Not that I am particularly good at it yet. Just that I had no problem doing it right away. In week three I would close two new coaching contracts that brought me ever closer to my monthly revenue target. It was exciting to do this and to gain the confidence that I could do this.
What did I learn?
Sales is a Relationship sport
Selling to someone you do not know is infinitely harder than doing so with someone who knows and trusts you. As a coach selling in a high trust context this is especially true. The maintenance of a trust based professional relationship cannot be over stressed. Since I had these in place my first several contracts in the first month were relatively straight forward to close. Not easy in any way just straight forward. It is clear to me that the development of a relationship will continue to be an important aspect of the process. Now it should also be said that referrals are a great proxy for an established relationship. When someone refers you, you enter into the sales discussion with the referrers credibility. If you maintain professionalism and passion for your service and can in fact meet the prospects needs you stand a very good chance of closing these deals as well.
Confidence in your service is crucial
Have you ever tried to represent something you did not quite believe in? You just can’t give it everything you are can you? Deep down you know that your integrity cannot fully support this thing and must hold back. Holding back comes through in our behaviors and ultimately in the confidence or lack thereof we demonstrate. No you must believe in what you are selling in order to be effective especially in the high trust environments of personal services. As a coach I have a deep confidence that I can help my clients. I have too many success stories to think otherwise. I am blessed with helping people to transform their lives into higher levels of productivity, capability and confidence. No for me I know that I know I can help my clients and my prospective clients. It is easy to be in front of them and discuss how the process can help them transform their lives.
GO ahead make a mistake or two most people will give you grace anyway
Okay many of you get this already and my technical brethren will appreciate this as I do, sometimes you need to just go and do something. The act of executing a “good enough” plan is infinitely more important than a “perfect plan” waiting to be executed. Sometimes we need to just go forth and DO, make mistakes, stumble a bit and figure things out. I have found that people have grace for you if you are not quite polished, not quite perfect. In fact it makes you more human more approachable more credible. Not that we should manipulate this to our benefit but whatever you do waiting until the perfect plan has been birthed is a strategy for FAILURE. Don’t fail, make mistakes learn and grow. Its good for the soul and the cash flow…
So these are my thoughts on week 3. Next post we talk about week four and closing out a month.