His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy
There's vomit on his sweater already, mom's spaghetti
He's nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready
To drop bombs, but he keeps on forgettin'
What he wrote down, the whole crowd goes so loud
He opens his mouth, but the words won't come out
He's chokin', how, everybody's jokin' now
The clocks run out, times up, over, blaow!
Yes, that was the lyrical genius of Marshall Mathers, but it’s literally a visual depiction of my efforts making a sales call in earlier years. You see, I was never the “sell an iceberg to an Eskimo” type of gal. In fact, if you would have told me that I had to make calls in order to build a clientele for my corporate event child care company, Party Sitters, I probably would have never left my cushy corporate job. Now, I’ll tell you the type of gal I am. I am an implementer. I’m a builder of solutions. I create. And once I’ve spent hours designing something that I think is so dope, so revolutionary, I hide it away in a closet (in the back of a notebook, saved in a file on my computer, you name it) because I’m terrified that someone won’t like it or someone won’t see its worth like I do.
Well, you know what!! After 10 years of making calls, I still get a little nervous. But over the years I’ve realized that no one is going to benefit from my gift, product, or service if I’ve got it hidden. So here are 5 things that I’ve learned over the years that have helped me take the leap to make the calls.
1. “NO” is actually not that bad. It’s a qualifier. The word “No” can let me know 1 of 2 things: either you don’t know you need me yet and you don’t understand how I benefit you, or you’re just not my client- because everybody is NOT your client.
2.Think of it as wanting to build a new relationship (more on that in my next blog) and call with questions first. It’s better if I go in asking, “Hey what is your biggest pain point right now?” Rather than, “Hey, I’ve got something that I built that I want to show you!”
3. Focus on being a solution, even if the solution is not you. If I share a pain point that your solution can’t solve but a couple days or even weeks later you come to me with a name and number of someone reputable that I can call- first, I’m going to say, “This person cares and they listen.” Then I’m going to keep you in mind for next time or figure out how I can connect you to someone who does need your services.
4. Speaking of Referrals... ask for them. Listen, you might get a “No” from the person you’re talking to but if you get a “No, but that’s a great idea.” Your next follow-up question should be, “Well, can you do me a favor? I’m trying to grow my business with highly qualified clients. Would you refer me to 3 people you know could use my help?”
5. Remain in touch. So they said “No”. It doesn’t necessarily mean, “Go away you Jerk! I never want to talk to you again!” (Unless they really did say that then you might not want to call them back). But again, it goes back to your qualifiers. If it’s a “No, not right now” kind of “No” then ask if they mind if you check in from time to time to see how else you could help. That offering goes a long way.
Most people aren’t “Sales-y” people. But most people are relationship people. Once I figured that out, I was really freed from the word “No” and my sales began to climb. I’ll share in my next blog how I get more inbound calls now than I do outbound calling.
*Bonus* One of my all-time favorite “non-sales-y” books about sales is “Go For No” by Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz