Written by Lisa Toner, Senior Marketing Manager at HubSpot and a member at Iconic Offices
The one and only reason you’re not selling your products or services is because you haven’t sold yourself on the reason why you’re trying to do it in the first place. I talk to business owners all the time and I constantly hear the same excuses for why they think they can’t sell:
- I’m not persuasive enough
- I don’t like asking people for money
- I don’t have a good pitch
- I don’t have anyone to sell to
Sound familiar? I bet it does. However, here’s what I really hear when people tell me these things:
“I don’t know the value of what I’m offering.”
When you don’t understand the value your product or service can offer how can you convince someone else to pay for it? When this is so often the case, it’s not surprising that so many entrepreneurs are afraid to prospect, pitch, and persuade people to buy from them. So how do you overcome this uncertainty and fear?
Remember Your ‘Why’
You likely started on your entrepreneurial journey because you felt passionate about helping people do something better. Perhaps it’s time to get back to grips with this and remember why you’re doing what you’re doing.
If you haven’t already watched Simon Sinek’s TED talk on how great leaders inspire action, do it now and thank me later. The main takeaway? People don’t buy what you do, they buy WHY you do it.
Take some time to think about why you took the risk to go out on your own and what value you are offering to your customers.
Grab a pen and paper and complete this short exercise to get started.
The order of those columns are not there by chance. When you’re trying to sell to someone you need to start the conversation with why you do what you do, then follow by the how and the what.
Again, “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
Once you’ve done that, it’s also important to note that everyone you speak to is going to have their own unique challenges which means the perceived value can vary greatly from one person to the next. So how do you overcome that one?
Ask, Don’t Tell
When it comes to pitching a product or service at HubSpot we always start with a discovery phase. Every sales conversation starts with some open ended questions so we can identify how we can offer the most value to that person: We ask things like:
- “How are things going right now?”
- “What are some of your biggest challenges?”
- “What are your goals for this year?”
- “Where would you like to see things improve?”
From there, we can begin to uncover opportunities to help this person and position our offering accordingly. Without a strong discovery conversation, it’s almost impossible to sell so you need to listen intently, and your pitch will come from their answers.
Once you’ve uncovered the value to this unique buyer, you need to get them bought into your why, how, and what. Let’s look at how do you can do that effectively.
Paint a Picture
Whether you’re speaking to someone at a networking event, over a Skype call, or in a bar on a Friday night, your sales pitch should always be a painting of two halves: the before and the after.
This is easy to do if you’ve done a good job at step one and two above: 1) you know why you do what you do and 2) you know the challenges your prospect is facing. If those two things align, you have an opportunity to make a sale.
Your next step is to show them what life would be like after they’ve purchased your product or service. Describe to them in their own words how their current pain will be resolved and how they’ll be better equipped to achieve their goals with your offering. Then clearly pave the path they need to take to make the painting a reality.
With a clear process and next steps in place you’ll feel more confident having these conversations wherever you find yourself pitching and you will finally be confident that you can in fact sell and you can sell well.
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Lisa Toner is a Senior Marketing Manager at HubSpot and owner of ETTCH, a subscription box for empowering children and teenagers. At HubSpot, she leads a global team of content and acquisition marketers responsible for driving new business for HubSpot. She’s a regular event speaker on topics such as content strategy, sales and marketing alignment, acquisition strategy, and sales process.