Selling is something beautiful. You help make people’s lives better by giving them something that they need and will make them more successful. Whether you’re selling to a business (B2B) or an individual (B2C) – the sales process is always the same.
But then, why does it feel so hard? Why isn’t it easier to sell?
I’m the CEO of a Personal CRM app called Nat and in this article, I’ll share from my experience in sales to help you become great at selling.
What selling is (and what IT IS NOT)
If you’ve watched the Wolf of Wall Street, you probably remember the “Sell me this pen” scene. I love this scene because it makes the exact point I’ll make here.
Selling is not a trick. You’re not trying to force someone to buy something that they don’t want (in this regard, the mentioned movie might not be a good example).
When you’re selling something to someone, you’re not doing it against them. If you manage to sell them, you haven’t “won” and they haven’t “lost”, you both won!
When selling a business, you can (and should) only sell the company something they really need. The challenge is that sometimes we don’t know we need something until someone shows it to us. A famous example is Jeff Bezos who asked his team to buy knee pads instead of packing tables (story).
To summarise, selling is the art of convincing someone to buy something they need.
How to find people who need what you sell
As a startup founder, one of the first challenges I was confronted with was to figure out who was my target audience: Who needed my product the most. This is something every salesperson should be thinking about, a lot!
The reason a sale is slow and painful is that you’re selling to the wrong person. I’ve experienced this firsthand. I initially tried to sell our software to venture capitalists and it was so hard! I would get no’s after no’s – I hated it. When I later changed my target audience and started to sell to business owners, things changed dramatically. I suddenly got many yes’s, even when I increased prices!
The secret that we salespeople have to keep for ourselves is that sales are not that much about the salesperson. If someone really needs what you have to offer (called Product-Market Fit in the startup-land), they’ll buy it even if you’re really bad at selling.
Once you’ve found a niche that needs what you have to offer, you’ll have to think of the best ways to reach them and since this is specific to your niche, there isn’t much general advice I can give on this.
People buy from people they trust.
Let’s get another secret out of the door: People buy from people they trust. If a company needs to hire a consultant, they’ll choose the consultant they know best over the best-skilled consultant every time.
I get messages on LinkedIn every day (TODO) from people trying to sell me something (that I might need!) but because I don’t know them, I just ignore them.
If instead, someone I knew came to sell me the exact same thing, I’d listen and might buy it if I need it!
Let’s combine the two secrets we’ve learned:
- We buy from people we trust
- We buy what we need
So all you have to do is to be trusted by people who need what you sell. Trust is simply built through relationships. We trust the people we know. Instead of cold emailing people – make friends. Build a network of people who need what you sell.
You can’t fake relationships. There is no trick. You have to be genuine, and honestly, why wouldn’t you. People who need what you sell are most likely the kind of people you enjoy to be close to as you have many things in common.
Our personal CRM app was built exactly for this purpose – to make it easy to grow and maintain a network.
Be trusted by people who need what you sell.
How to close a deal? You don’t need to close anything.
If you’ve been properly indoctrinated, you’ll be thinking: “But how do I close the sale?”. You don’t need to. You now have a network of people who trust and know you! Guess who they’ll call when they will experience the problem you can help them with?
And you won’t have to discuss prices 🙂