Diane Helbig has written an excellent little book for small-business people about how to make the sale. Lemonade Stand Selling does precisely what the title suggests: it makes the process of prospecting for customers, networking and retaining customers “lemonade stand selling.”
Diane is one of our cadre of Small Business Trends Experts. I was honored when she showed me her manuscript and asked me to write the Foreword. I could identify with her book, because like many of us who start our own businesses, I had to learn how to sell, as I note in the Foreword:
One of the most terrifying parts of leaving the corporate world and starting your own business is the sudden realization that no money will be coming in the door unless you bring it in.
Eeek! YOU are now responsible for sales.
The old saying “Nothing happens until somebody sells something” takes on alarming new meaning when that somebody is you.
I’m not kidding when I use the word “terrifying” because that’s often the reaction when reality hits you. That was my reaction when I started my business.
Then I go on to talk about how the book takes away your fear as a business owner. Once armed with knowledge about how the entire selling process should work — from prospecting to managing existing customer relationships — you will be confident and equipped to make those sales:
Fear is your worst enemy as a business owner. Fear plays with your head. It chips away at your confidence. It paralyzes you with self-doubt.
To be successful, you have to overcome fear and all the baggage it saddles you with. As a business owner, you need to feel invincible as you start each work day. You need to feel like David taking on Goliath. You need to feel that you know exactly what to do today – this day – to ask for and get the order!
One thing I’ve learned: to get to that invincible feeling you must master the sales process. When you feel in control of how to get clients and payments, your confidence will skyrocket.
This book lays out a sales system designed expressly for the small business owner/salesperson. It breaks down common scenarios, step by step, into techniques just about anyone can employ.
Lemonade Stand Selling is a short book — exactly 100 pages. Now, if you’re thinking the book uses examples of kids at a lemonade stand … well, it doesn’t. It is not campy. The lemonade stand is merely a metaphor for simplicity.
Diane’s advice is always elegantly simple and clear. (Go here to read a few of her popular articles and sample her style of communicating.)
This book is all about simplicity. You’re not forced to learn some complex sales system, with a special set of terminology. Rather, Lemonade Stand Selling addresses the sales process as everyday situations any business person may find himself or herself in. For instance, Diane explains:
- how to conduct yourself at networking events;
- how to phrase a 30-second elevator speech;
- what to put in a sales presentation;
- how to grow relationships with existing customers; and
- why you need to be conscious of how you appear to others.
I especially liked the examples she offers of business owners and salespeople just like us. She points out what they did right — or wrong. The main example throughout the book is “Matt the print broker.” But you also run into “Judy the donut shop owner,” and “Kate the virtual assistant,” and “Dick the car dealer,” among others. They are presented to us in the sorts of situations you may find yourself faced with each week.
If you want to get better at selling so you can grow your business, pick up a copy of Lemonade Stand Selling. It will help you know what to do more of and what to change — so you can grow sales.More in: Small Business Growth