Modern mankind can smell a sales pitch from miles away. Every person in the world sells something to someone at some point in time.
Whether it’s a little boy who is convincing his dad to buy him ice cream in return for finishing the homework on time or one of your friends who talks you all into cycling to a far off lemonade stand instead of the one nearby just for the quantity served, a sale has happened in both the cases.
Thanks to telecallers who promise something on the call and deliver something else to customers after taking their money, the word “Sales” has clearly lost its trust. So whenever you meet a sales person, you are under the impression that he/she is just there to take your money.
The solution to this perennial problem is not rocket science. It is to put value first before money. That’s the reason why all the leading SaaS startups give you a free trial before they ask for a penny. Not just Startups, even LinkedIn offers the taste of a premium account or a Learning feature free for a month so that you experience it and then take a decision on whether your life or business is better off without it.
This will work like a dream for product companies but for services, providing value first almost means putting work first before getting paid which will affect the business. Here are the recommended steps for service-based startups to sell without selling.
1. Study their Buying Patterns
Understanding customer’s buying patterns is smart work and yields more results. Most of the big firms finalize their vendors before / just after the start of the financial year. Creating a good first impression during that time can give you an edge over your competitors.
When your lead’s competitor has just spent a significant sum in a service similar to what you offer, then it’s the right time to show your lead what you are capable of.
Right place at the right time scores big time
It is easy to sell when you are perceived as an expert in the domain by your target audience. This explains the surge in firms looking for speaking opportunities as avenues of Marketing to take their product/service to a bigger audience.
Create speaking opportunities amongst your circles. Whatever you learn running your business, put it together in the form of a presentation and share it with newbie entrepreneurs or fellow entrepreneurs. You will be surprised to find the amount of value that you would have added to their lives.
Sharing best practices with fellow entrepreneurs is often a two-way street. The more you give, the more you will get back. The secret is to give without expectations. Before you know it, there will be a big group of people who will recommend your services in their circle like they have worked with you for years.
One great thing to do with good advice is to pass it on
Patience is the most important skill that will take you places in your Sales journey. Most of us wait for the due date to pay our bills though we will have money to pay from the day the bill arrived. We are all wired that way. Whenever you pursue a lead, they will take their own sweet time to convert. But when they have a requirement and reach out to you, you will have time to only say yes.
The moment you run out of patience, even your emails/text messages will reflect that you are rushing the customer into making a decision. Always remember there are many other leads whom you can focus on and eventually the older leads will come back to you.
Your Sale is under construction and you can wait with a good attitude
4. Build the Relationship
After you have exchanged pleasantries and got their interest, understand the exact pain points of the lead by engaging in a conversation. If you have the right service that solves it, then it’s time to check if the lead has the resources to pay for the product.
It’s not wise to ask anyone how much they earn but you can always ask them how much they are willing to pay to solve the problem at hand. If you can arrive at a number that works for you and the customer, the deal is through.
Asking the right questions to understand more will always be appreciated.
Customers love the straight shooters
5. Be a trustworthy confidante/friend
Once you have brought in the business, check with the customer now and then as to how happy he/she is through the process.
If you can solve his / her problems by working with your team, you become their go-to-guy whenever his friends / his family have a similar requirement.
The way they refer you to their friends will change from “ I know a person who does this“ to “ I have a friend who is the right person for this“
It’s always easier to get more business from the same customer than acquiring a new customer.
People always buy from people
People buy from people whom they can trust. It’s not only about the price every time. But it’s always about the people.
Think of your last few buying decisions and you will see it.