As maternity leave is coming to an end and my return to work is creeping closer, I've realised that I have completely forgotten how to do my job! Oh no! Time to read everything on the Internet about selling and business development!
Thankfully the first article I came across, by Len Foley, reminded me that selling is so simple if you get on a human level with the person you're speaking with. I'm no guru, but whenever I'm wearing a sales hat and I just focus on connecting with people and understanding them, everything just falls into place. If my focus is purely to get my pitch out then I may as well not have picked up the phone.
When selling, the most important thing to do is to explore your prospect's situation, if you can get them to open up and share with you what their objectives are and what is important to them, it will make your job easier. You'll know if the product will solve their problems, you'll know if it will help them achieve their goals, and you'll hopefully get them over the line and excited rather than pressured and feeling 'sold to'.
Pretend you're on a first date with your prospect. Get curious about them. Ask about the products and services they're already using. Are they happy? Is what they're using now too expensive, not reliable enough, too slow? Find out what they really want. Remember, you're not conducting an impersonal survey here, so don't ask questions just for the sake of asking them. Instead, ask questions that will provide you with information about what your customers really need. When you learn what your customers need and you stop trying to convince or persuade them to do something they may not want to do, you'll find them trusting you as a valued advisor and wanting to do more business with you as a result.