How To Win New Business When You’re Not A Natural Salesperson
Dec 04, 2020
It all starts with your thoughts and language ...
Some Founders & CEO’s have a particular description of what ‘sales’ is and a particular image of what a ‘salesperson’ looks like.
They describe sales as ‘influencing and convincing’ and the image of a ‘salesperson’ as having one or more of these attributes:
- A natural (at sales)
- A self promoter
- An extrovert
- Well connected (have a ‘black book of prospects’)
- Able to convince
- Relentless at following-up
The problems with this description and image are three-fold:
1 - Sets an Unhealthy Sales Philosophy & Culture
If your definition of sales is ‘influencing and convincing’ then you're setting on a trajectory where your marketing ‘voice & tone’ is ‘pushy’ and ‘salesy’ and your sales culture becomes ‘get a sale at any cost’.
A sale at any cost - usually results in:
- The wrong customer, for the wrong terms and at the wrong price point
- No ‘winning case studies’ and ‘strong advocates’ in your customer base
- Higher turnover (churn)
- Lack of cooperation and collaboration in your sales team
2 - Causes (Sales) Leadership Imposter Syndrome
If you (as founder &/or CEO) don’t personally identify with the image of the ‘salesperson’ described above, in fact you think you are the opposite of this image (and secretly despise this image) of a salesperson - then you are leading your sales with a massive handicap.
Every time you approach ‘sales’ you are not doing so with mental and emotional comfort and confidence as in the back of your head you are thinking ‘this is not me’.
This absolutely shows up in your energy, body language, tone of voice and is definitely sensed by your team and your prospects.
3 - Guarantees Wrong (Sales) Hires
If you (as founder &/or CEO) decide to hire a sales person or business development person who fits the image of the ‘salesperson’ described above to pursue the particular description of ‘sales’ (influence and convince), then in 6-12 months time you are likely to discover the person is not working out.
You are likely to feel ‘cheated or fooled’ by the salesperson.
You may by now have even observed
- they are not a team player,
- they have a massive ego,
- they promised a lot but delivered little (if anything)
So this further validates your resentment of this ‘image’.
Now you need to let them go and start again, the problem is you're again looking for the same thing (but hoping for a different outcome).
How To Win New Business If You’re
Not A Natural Salesperson
Not A Self-Promoter,
Not An Extrovert,
Not Pushy &
Not A Closer
1 - Reframe Your Definition of Sales
- Your pre-sales activities are intentional in building trust and adding value
- You have a product or service that solves a problem
- You are pricing in a way that creates a great value exchange
- Your post-sales service and support is exemplary
- You don’t lock in customers unreasonably into contracts they don’t want to be in
- You are enabling a purchase and conducting a value exchange
(reframed definition of sales)
Which also means your previously identified ‘attributes’ of a salesperson also can be reframed:
- pushy -> seeking clarity on their goals and needs
- closer -> project managing to ensure you can deliver to their goals and needs on-time, on-budget, on-quality
- self-promoter -> helping the prospect in the buyer journey to get to know, like and trust you
This reframed definition of sales will also now help:
- Set a healthy philosophy and culture for sales in your business
- Guide how you communicate internally and externally
- Ensure your marketing content is 'on message'
- With the right hires in marketing and sales
- Approach sales without thinking you're an imposter
2 - Refocus Your Attention From The Sales ‘PERSON’ To The Sales ‘PROCESS’
Taking your newly reframed definition of sales (enabling a purchase and conducting a value exchange) you can now take the pressure off either being the right person or finding the right person and instead focus on creating the right process.
This way you build something sustainable and repeatable, rather than relying on any key person.
Sales process considerations
- Who, What, Why & How
- Who are the personas we care to serve
- What are they trying to achieve and solve
- Why are they trying to achieve this (what’s the bigger strategic driver)
- How will they go about trying to solve their problems and achieve their objectives
(While this looks like a simple list of questions, many founders and CEO’s struggle to articulate this simply.
- What does the buyer journey look like?
- What and how do we communicate at each stage of the buyer journey?
- How and when do we qualify deals?
- Sales is not a dirty word, it’s a value exchange
- The magical salesperson is a myth, focus on serving and a process to enable a purchase
- When creating a sales process it shouldn’t be painful, long or require any communication or action that is not authentic and aligned to your values.
- Don’t overthink it. Start. Keep it high level and simple. Over time review and refine.
- Use this post as a guide to having an internal conversation with your team about reframing the definition of 'sales' and refocussing your attention from the sales 'person' to the sales 'process'
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