Do you loathe selling?

I speak with many entrepreneurs and small business owners who are really passionate about their business, but selling is not their favourite task.

They find self-promotion awkward and embarrassing.

Selling is absolutely critical to the success of any business.

If you have an aversion to sales you’d better get over it fast!

A critical part of the selling process is qualifying your sales leads.


Build a profile of your ideal customer


Start by building a profile of your ideal customer.

You know what you do well and who will get the most benefit from your services.

Knowing the characteristics of your most profitable and regular clients will help you to identify those traits in potential clients.

Over time you will become practiced at noticing whether or not a new contact will be of value to you and this will help you to ask the right questions to confirm this.


Don’t waste your time chasing the wrong people


You’ve got better things to do than waste your time and effort chasing after people who are unlikely to do business with you.

People who are serious about using your services generally ask a lot of questions as they try to fit your offering into their scenario.

If their questions are vague or general in nature, they’re probably not interested.

If there are too many objections, excuses or time management issues they may never move forward.

A word of caution.

If these types of prospects ever do come on board they have the potential to turn into major headaches!


Ask, then stop talking and listen


The process of qualifying prospects involves asking lots of open-ended relevant questions.

It requires very good listening skills on your part.

Don’t make the mistake of launching into a pitch about how good your service is in the hope you’ll convince the prospective buyer that they will want to do business with you.

Your job is to uncover your prospects’ needs, their motivations, and their most important issues.

You want to be able to identify and solve problems that create real value.

Even if you’ve been in business for a long time and you think you’ve heard it all don’t be tempted to simply assume you know what your prospects’ needs are.

Let them tell you, rather than you telling them.

Most people love to talk about themselves and are willing to share information about their current situation, their challenges, their likes and dislikes.

All they need is a little encouragement.


Differentiate yourself from your competitors


What sets you apart from your competition?

What makes your service unique or special?

You need to communicate this to your prospective customer.

If you don’t the only thing left to compete on is price.

And when you compete on price, everybody loses.

Give your qualified prospects good reasons to do business with you rather than with someone else.

The promise of customer service second to none is always well regarded, as long as you follow through!