When you’re the owner, president, CEO, or head honcho of any small business, chances are that you’re also the Chief Salesperson. Sales are one of those tasks that are essential but often feel uncomfortable for many. Sort of like flossing. (Why can’t we just brush our teeth and be done with it, we ask?)
Regardless, I’ve experienced a few sales ‘encounters’ recently that made me step back and think.
After spending an hour with a prospect and feeling that I had a good connection and understanding of their needs, I dutifully created a proposal for services and sent it over. I had put a good amount of time and effort into the proposal, but ultimately got turned down. I was encouraged by a mentor to ask “Why?” And here’s the answer I got: your hourly rate is the same that I charge my customers and I couldn’t pay that.
By that logic, does that mean they’d never hire a doctor, attorney, or CPA because they make more money per hour than said prospect? I’ll let you answer that one.
For me, my answer was to do a better job of listening and asking questions to find out if the prospect values what I bring to the table and is willing to pay for it.
In the second sales encounter, the roles were reversed and another professional was pitching their services to me. After some pleasant small talk, they told me about their expertise and process, showed me their tools, and said that a usual commitment was for six months of service. Most importantly, they told me that they select their clients for a good fit, not the other way around. The firm knew their value, knew their customer profile, and clearly communicated their value.
Another mentor pointed out to me that this approach is something worth learning. As I continue to hone my sales skills, I will keep these two experiences in mind.