You wanted to open up a mechanic shop, a photography business or restaurant. You love working on cars. You can find the beauty of how light should reflect off the subject you are photographing. Your friends have been raving about your chef skills for years and you never have leftovers after a night in the kitchen because everyone eats it all like it’s their last meal. Whatever your skills are, you have now accomplished the dream of opening up your own business. Now to keep that dream alive, you realize, you have to sell that dream to investors for money, your coworkers to work hard and your customers because you need their consistent business.
In this article, you’ll get the basic fundamental tools you’ll need to learn, or at least get comfortable selling for business owners.
More than just hello, the greet starts as soon as the customer sees you or your business. Clean appearance, dressed for the occasion and an organized look even before saying hi will get you started on the right foot. Make eye contact, shake hands sternly, and say “pleasure to meet you!” After pleasantries, the most important aspect is to ask an open ended question, meaning, ask a question that can’t be answered with a “yes or no” response.” For instance, if you’re a photographer, and someone ask what are your rates, before answering, get the customer invested by asking some simple question such as, “what kind of pictures are you looking for me to take, who are you giving them to, and what inspires you to take these?”
When the customer answers your questions, don’t interrupt, but listen. Absorb as much as you can and find things to build on. Find what the customer truly wants from her interaction and experience with you and find a way to deliver the desired results.
Think, think, think – it’s okay if you don’t have an answer right away, just make sure you are asking questions to drill down as deep as you can to find what your customer wants. Gather all the info, confirm you have everything correct and then think about how you can match your service to her expectations.
Now you have a few options to suggest and suggest away! It’s best to give customers a few options, at different price tiers so they can make the decision on how much to invest. Perhaps you baseline package offers what the customer wants, but a premier package solves a customer’s future issues making it easier for them in the long run. Always suggest based off what they ask for and mention as valuable to them. Never guess or assume what they need or don’t need as you are still trying to gauge a customer’s level of interest and readiness to buy.
You’ve listened, you offered different packages and now you know what the customer is interested in. Time to take action. This is the step most people are often afraid of. They don’t want to come off as pushy and aggressive, but at the same time, you know you’ve offered a great deal and the customer just needs some reassurance. To go along in our mock example, a suggestion could be during the negotiation process, to start snapping a few fun photos of the person on the spot. Show, sample and give them the fun, light hearted feeling of working with you. Show the pictures to them share some more ideas and ask “what day do you want to take pictures?” or “a deposit today will lock in your date, do you want to use cash, check or card?”
The customer still isn’t ready. That’s okay! Rome wasn’t built in a day. If it still doesn’t work, list out the entire customer’s request again, and explain how each request is solved by your product and service. Suggest they look up your reviews. Offer them a low cost incentive for purchasing today or within a 24 hour period. Tell them to talk it over with their spouse but make sure they have all the info in a clean offer letter with an incentive to purchase sooner rather than later.
Great news, they purchased. Your work isn’t done yet. After fulfilling your customers request and making sure they are satisfied comes round 2. Ask them if they know anybody who could use your service. Perhaps even offer a discount or finder’s fee. Ask to be tagged in their photos on social media. And last but not least, ask them for a review of your services on your website or social media accounts. Always ask for a referral.