When you run your own business, you are in “sales” whether you like it or not.

Whether you provides services or products, the key to success is persuading people to buy from you.

Even if you have a team of sale professionals working for you, as the business owner there are going to be times you are called upon to “sell” yourself an what you offer.

But if you are like me, the words “sales” and “selling” bring to mind the pushy double glazing salesmen of old who refused to leave your house until you’d signed up for those £20,000 bargain windows!

It all feels a bit yukky.

So, what can you do to sign up new customers without the hard sell when you are not a salesperson?

Sales does not have to mean a “hard sell”

The best way of approaching any type of “selling” is as a conversation with your potential customer.

You need to make a connection and build a rapport. Talk enthusiastically about what you offer by all means, but equally you need to ask questions which uncover the problems they are having that your product or service can solve.

Listen to what they are saying, invite them to ask questions and learn as much as you can about what it is that motivates them.

The more you can understand them – what drives them and the problems or issues they are experiences – the easier it is then to “sell” them a solution.

Of course it’s OK to talk enthusiastically about your product or services, but the key to securing a sale is demonstrating to your potential client how it will meet their needs.

Everyone is interested in “what’s in it for me?”, so instead of focusing on how great your product is and its features, focus on how those features will benefit them. How much time will it save them? Will it save them money? How will their lives be better because of your product?

Features are boring, and people have to think quite hard to see the possibilities within them. But when you translate those features into benefits, you make an emotional connection with your audience.

What makes you better than the rest?

Unless your product or service is totally unique, chances are you have competitors also vying for your potential client’s business.

Their decision on who to do business with will probably be based on a number of factors, including who they “like” the most and the cost.

But you have one more weapon in your arsenal that could sway the decision your way.

Your unique selling proposition is the thing that sets you apart from your competitors. It’s the thing that in a market of several similar businesses, only you can provide.

People “buy” the best solution that fits their needs and their budget, so make sure you know what your USP is and then focus on making it clear how that benefits your customer.

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