26 Feb HOME-BASED BUSINESSES: SELLING THROUGH A NEGATIVE ECONOMY
Home-Based Business ownership is growing in leaps and bounds…every day I either read about or meet someone who has worked at home for years or is about to embark on self-employment….this is an amazing transformation about how business is conducted in this country…we are finally getting it! If there is going to be an economic revival, it all depends on me and you….we are our own stimulus package! We’ve got to go out there and stir things up…we must create the business environment we need.
This is the third time I have experienced a negative economic downturn in all the years I’ve been in business; the first time was very upsetting to me as I a new-comer and could not see past the difficult business atmosphere; the second time around I was much better – I re-affirmed myself by remembering that I survived the first time and that things always turn around. That was when I began to emphasize to my clients and to my students my famous truism: ALL BUSINESS IS CYCLICLE. Business goes up and business goes down…it’s the nature of commerce. Once you accept this, understand it and live it, you will have armed yourself with a great piece of armor with which you can manage your business.
This time around, with the economic being so stagnant and indeed in some respects it seems that it is moving backwards, I stay focused on the words I have printed on a post-it and stuck it on my computer….the words are: What Recession? I refuse to participate…I proceed with Business As Usual. My clients are precious; I continue to treat them well. My students are prized because they are the future and I want to help them as much as I can. I continue to market my services and products; I continue to reach out to new marketing and networking opportunities; I continue to plan for the future. Why not? If I stop now, I stop forever….and I’m not willing to do that.
The one thing that does not stop, ever, for any business is the need to generate sales. So I thought I would spend some time today going over some guidelines about Sales and how to concentrate all your efforts towards Successful Selling. I’ve broken down this topic of Sales into 2 groups: the first one is about sales and having good selling techniques; the second one has to do with the overall spirit of entrepreneurship that leads to good salesmanship and a successful business.
The basis of all sales is attitude. The difference between a regular salesperson and a super salesperson is their positive and optimistic approach to selling. A long time ago I heard a story that illustrates this point totally. A young man embarked on a sales career selling widgets. An older salesman was assigned to take him under his wing and show him the ropes. As they were driving around in their territory, the young man pointed to a story that he felt would be a good candidate for the widgets; but the older salesman told him that he called on that guy a month ago and the answer was no. A little bit later, going past another store, the young man said he wanted to go in and try that place; but the older salesman said he didn’t think they would be interested. This continued all day and by 5:00pm they did not make any sales. The young man was disheartened. He reported back to his boss and shared the experience and that was when his boss sat him down and explained to him what the fundamental principle was about selling….it is to be confident in yourself and your product. Everyone loves to be around positive, upbeat people. When customers see that you feel good about yourself and the product you are selling, they will buy.
Okay, so the first thing is a good attitude…this is followed by a back-up by a couple of characteristics that you must have. You need to be a good listener…you can’t possible know everything there is to know about your customer and what their needs are all the time; things change and with those changes you will have to acquire new knowledge… so, after you listen, you must ask the right questions. The questions qualify the needs of the customer as well as the finances. Be prepared to face their objections…what they don’t like is just as important as what they do like. If they can’t afford to buy at the moment, what can you do to help them buy smaller quantities or buy on a payment as you go plan. By listening to what the customer is saying you will be able to provide the solution and make the sale. And of course, what good listening also means is that you don’t talk too much. It’s not about you…it’s about them.
So, since it is about them, you need to be a friend. People prefer to buy from someone they know and like, so be that person. Find a common link – what you both enjoy, what you both believe in, where you both come from…all of these things create a relationship. Learn about their family, where they live, what they like to do for fun, how long have they been in business, how they first got started, etc. Remember their birthday, acknowledge them during the holidays – even if they haven’t bought anything from you in a while…keep them in good standing because when they do need to buy, they will remember you.
Another good thing to realize about selling is that we should not pre-judge people. This goes back to the story I mentioned earlier; the older salesman assumed things about potential customers and closed the door on those relationships. I had that experience a long time ago, when I was a fairly young woman. I wanted to buy a new car, so I went to the dealership for the type of car I thought I wanted. I went in after work one evening so I was dressed professionally and yet, when I entered the dealership no one approached me. Finally, after I walked over to the desk and asked about getting a new car, a salesman was assigned to me. As we walked out to the car lot I told him what kind of car I was looking for…he showed me 2 cars that were next to each other. I looked them over and asked a couple of questions; he then told me that it would be better if I came in with my husband so he can make the right decision for me! At this point, I put the brochures on top of the car and said “If you knew how to talk to women, he would sell more cars.” I walked off that car lot, crossed the street to another dealership and bought the car I deserved!
Tell the truth – don’t make promises you can’t deliver. There is this dichotomy sometimes between sales and service. The salespeople are all out there telling customers they can do this and that and when service comes in to deliver the product they have no idea that the customer wanted it in blue when all they have is green! This happened to me when I was in the corporate world…I typically was on the service side of things and it was a nightmare trying to please the customer who bought something because that is what the salesperson sold them on!…and we just didn’t have it. “Overpromising” is not a good technique and it has long range ramifications. Customers may by once, but they won’t buy again. Another big no-no is bad-mouthing the competition. Why do this? It just makes you look insecure…it makes you look unprofessional and it makes you look like a jerk. It takes away all the good will you are trying to establish by being their friend.
Okay, you get the picture….go out there…make lots of friends, meet their friends….tell people about your business, be nice, be kind, be helpful….it all comes back to you in leaps and bounds – that’s how home-based business ownership is growing – just like I said when I got started on this blog today! HINT: All Business Is Cyclicle! LOVE WHAT YOU DO AND LIFE THE LIFE YOU LOVE! Helene – the Home-Based Business Expert….www.thehome-office.com and http://www.worldtalkradio.com/ THE HOME-BASED BUSINESS SHOW