By the year 2020, 40 percent of the United States workforce will be freelancers. And the number is only expected to grow from there.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur, solopreneur, or whatever-preneur, it’s going to become more and more critical for you to learn how to grow your business the right way. This means you will need to become better at influencing others.
Great solopreneurs need to be great salespeople. Regardless of the type of business you run, most of what you do on a daily basis will involve influencing others. The better you are at this, the easier it will be to get more customers.
As you already know, the issue isn’t whether or not you need to be able to sell more effectively. The issue is what you need to do in order to become even better at earning more business. How much easier will it be to grow your business when you know how to get others to do the things you want them to do?
Below are proven tips that will make you better at selling. If you practice these solopreneur sales tips consistently, you will find it much easier to earn and retain more customers.
Solopreneur Sales Tips
Being great at sales means realizing how important it is to be as helpful as possible to your prospects and customers. By providing more value, you will be able to stand out from your competition.
When it comes to building profitable relationships with your prospects and customers, it’s all about giving value. The amount of influence you will ever have over a person is directly tied to the amount of value you provide. When you become valuable to your prospect, you establish a more favorable position in their minds.
This is what you want. The more they value you, the more you will be able to sell them.
Of course, when I talk about being helpful, I’m not talking about washing your prospects’ cars or picking up their dry cleaning. Unless of course, you’re into that kind of thing.
I’m talking about finding ways to make their lives easier that don’t necessarily involve selling them your product or service. There’s a few ways to do this, but the easiest way to provide value is to use your expertise. Since you’re already knowledgeable in your industry, you can use your knowledge to help your prospects.
One of the most effective ways to do this is by using content marketing. The reason content marketing works so well is because of the fact that it involves providing tons of value in a way that is easy for your prospect to consume.
If you have a website for your business (and you should), you would be well-served by consistently publishing content that can help your audience. Not only will this help your prospects, it will help you establish greater credibility. Content marketing is also a great way to show that you have authority in your field.
One important thing to remember about content marketing as a strategy is that it is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. It’s a more long-term approach. But when you do this right, you will stand out from your competition.
Focus On Relationships
Patricia Fripp said, “You don’t close a sales, you open a relationship if you want to build a long-term, successful enterprise.”
Let’s face it. Consumers don’t want to deal with a company that is only interested in getting into their wallets. As an entrepreneur, you have to focus on something more than just winning the sale.
When you focus only on the sale, you are taking a short-sighted approach that will damage your sales efforts in the long run. It’s very likely that you’re robbing yourself of a great opportunity to earn more business and impact more people.
Here’s the thing. Your overall objective shouldn’t just be to make one sale. It should be to transform your prospect into a die-hard long-term customer who is eager to tell others about what you offer. While you may not be able to turn every single customer into a brand evangelist, focusing on the relationship will enable you to maximize the amount of people who are willing to tell others about your company.
What this means is that you have to learn how to sell without being pushy and impatient. This can be more difficult at first; many people become eager to start explaining the benefits of their offering.
But you have to be patient.
Build some rapport. Get to know your prospect. Let them get to know you. Anyone who is in sales know that people buy from those they know, like, and trust. Building this type of relationship takes time, but in the end, it’s well worth it.
Establish Your Online Presence
The fact that you will need to establish and develop a strong online presence goes without saying. Most businesses can’t survive if they don’t have a way for their prospects to interact with them online.
As I stated earlier content marketing is a great way to provide helpful information to your audience. But when it comes to actually engaging with them, you should consider using social media.
When developing a social media strategy, you need to create a viable strategy first. Here’s some questions you should answer before executing a social media strategy:
- Who are my ideal clients? Why?
- Where do these ideal clients “hang out” online?
- What types of content would be the most helpful to them?
When you have an understanding of where your ideal clients spend their online time, you will know which social media platforms are the best for you.
Another key benefit of social media marketing is the ability to listen. Social listening involves watching various social media channels to see what your potential audience is saying. It’s a great way to find out what people are saying about you online.
Also, social listening gives you yet another opportunity to position yourself as an authority. Find out what questions your potential customers are asking. Find out what they are complaining about.
Then, use your expertise to answer their questions. Develop content that addresses their pain points. Remember, it’s all about being helpful.
What Is Your Value Proposition?
If you want to stand out from your competition, you have to offer something they don’t. You have to be able to do something better than the others.
When you don’t stand out from the other brands in your industry, you’re forced to try to beat your competition on price, which means you devalue your offering. It will be harder for you to grow your business.
If you want to succeed at sales, you need an attractive brand that your prospects can believe in. You need to find a way to make your business stand out from the competition.
One essential factor in this is your value proposition. You need to identify a value proposition that shows why your prospect should choose your company over your competition. There has to be something that you offer that sets you apart?
Does your offering do it better? Faster? Easier? Figure out how you want to distinguish yourself from your competition, and it will be easier to close more deals.
Determine Your Brand’s Purpose
A strong and distinct brand is absolutely crucial to your sales efforts. Without effective branding, you’re just another “me too” company that is indistinguishable from your competition. This isn’t what you want.
The most important part of building a strong brand is determining your purpose.
This is something all successful brands do well. You need to stand for something bigger than your product or service.
It’s all about your “why.”
In his book “Start With Why,” Simon Sinek continually makes the statement that people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. When you’re trying to grow your business, the point isn’t to focus on doing business with those who need your product. The point is to do business with those who believe what you believe.
Purpose and belief transcend your offering. When you can effectively communicate why you do what you do, you give your prospects something to connect to.
People can’t connect to a product or service. But they can connect to the reason you do it. Why? Because everyone desires to feel a deep sense of purpose in what they do.
It’s part of being a self-actualized person. If you want your brand to become successful, you need to have a self-actualized brand.
Want an example?
What do you think of when you think of Nike?
Yes, you probably thought about shoes. But chances are, you also thought about their brand purpose without really even thinking about it.
Nike stands for excellent performance. It stands for pushing yourself beyond your limits and achieving things you never believed you could achieve. What phrase sums this idea up? “Just Do It.”
See what I mean?
Nike is about more than just making sneakers. It’s about inspiring people to overcome their challenges.
Determining your brand purpose can help you become a better salesperson. This is because when you have a deep purpose that motivates you, it enables you to sell with conviction.
This is important. When you sell with conviction, your prospects will pick up on your passion. It will become contagious and they’ll become excited to buy what you’re selling.
Understand Your Audience
Lastly, you need to understand who you’re trying to sell to. This seems like it should be obvious, but many people make the mistake of rushing directly into the sale without really understanding what their prospects want and need.
That’s a huge mistake.
But it’s a huge mistake that you won’t make because you’re reading this post! Here’s the bottom line: if you don’t know who your prospects are, you won’t succeed in your efforts at sales. You’re going to fail.
Because you can’t address your prospects’ needs if you’re not sure what they are. When it comes time to present your solution, you’ll be shooting in the dark. You may be able to get some sales this way, but not nearly as much as you could if you took the time to get into the minds of your prospects.
The issue isn’t just to ask a lot of questions. The issue is asking the right questions. The right questions will increase your chances of making a successful sale. The key is to encourage them to talk as much as possible.
The great thing about his is that it doesn’t just give you the information you need; asking good questions also helps you build more trust with your prospect. When they see that you’re genuinely interested in them as people, and not just a paycheck, they will trust you more.
When your prospects trust you more, they will be far more likely to buy from you. Do yourself a massive favor and start working on asking better questions. You’ll be glad you did.
With more and more people becoming solopreneurs, it’s going to become even more important to learn how to sell more effectively. The important thing to remember is that selling isn’t a skill that you have to be born with. It’s a skill that can be learned and honed over time.
If you follow the tips in this article, you will become a much better salesperson. This will make it much easier to grow your business the right way.
Value Photo via Shutterstock
If you’re a solopreneur, relationships or networks become everything. In fact, it is the only thing that will dictate whether or not you’ll succeed. It is hard to do it all alone and that’s why you need networks to help you.
You’re right. Relationships are everything! Thanks for the comment.
Thanks for the great article! By nature, I am not a ‘salesy’ person and as an entrepreneur, I’m often put off by those who are. I am much more receptive to a ‘soft-sell’ approach as you’ve described here. Thanks!
The “hard sell” approach puts me off too. Nobody wants to feel like the other person is just focused on their wallet. I typically won’t buy from a salesperson who uses that approach.
Recently, I actually hung up on a salesperson who used this approach on me. I talk about it in my podcast. Check it out!