We are all in sales.  Whether we truly get the best from sales depends on how much we embrace this truth.
So – what should you expect when you’re in sales?

Expect to be strategic
Your customers can research their needs any time of the day or night, thanks to the internet.  So, expect to be strategic when you want to get in front of them.

Expect to have to work for the sale
How many websites do you see where the business says something like ‘We need a total IT overhaul.  Please call us very soon.  We have a budget of $500K.’  Not very many.  If you want to pull in big sales, you’re going to have to put in the work to proactively build relationships founded on mutual trust.  Once you’ve done this (and it can be done relatively quickly if you get your research right) – then you’ll be privy to your customers’ deepest needs.

Expect to be proactive
Unless you want to rely solely on Inbound Sales (which by the way, are also excellent to develop!), you’ll need to be proactive.  This means actively approaching ideal customers in your target market, building relationships, uncovering customer needs and providing solutions to your ideal customers’ problems.

Expect to become a better writer
It’s busy out there.  Many potential customers let their telephones go to voicemail as they go from one meeting to the next.  Well-written emails and proposals, with supporting graphics, will speak for you when you can’t physically talk to the customer.

Expect to follow up
It’s a rare customer who says ‘Yes’ on the first approach.  In some industries, it can take up to three months or more just to get a meeting with the right person.  When you follow up, you demonstrate commitment and belief in your business.  You also blitz the competition right out of the water – many of them will give up too easily.

Expect that the competition will be fierce
There are so many options for our customers these days.  The internet has vastly increased competition as geographical borders cease to limit us.  The competition for your customers’ dollars has never been greater.

Expect your customers to be busy
Any customer worth having will be busy, because they’re working hard in their own business.  Make it easy for them to buy from you.  Well-designed sales processes will help smooth their onboarding customer experience.

Expect that you’ll need a new sales approach compared with 20 years ago
Huge changes in sales in the last 20 years!  The internet means that customers can do so much of their research and comparisons online.  Often you won’t hear from them until they’re ready to buy.

Expect to work closely with marketing, or that you’ll need good marketing
Customers who start their sales journey on the internet are checking out your marketing.  Align your marketing and sales activities to grow your sales.  A good digital marketing strategy, combined with some excellent search engine optimisation, will set you up for success.

Expect that customers are no longer just buying your product or service, but your story
Yes – Finding your Why, as the great Simon Sinek says.
Share your story, how your business came to be, the gifts that you share with your customers and the world.  Tell them what you’re so passionate about that makes you get out of bed even on cold mornings.

Expect your customer to be very knowledgeable
Customers who check you out online know all about you, and your competition.  Being able to quickly assess where the customer is on their customer journey is vital for you to give out the right information at the right time.

Expect to be ready to close when your customer approaches you
When they ask about price far too quickly, it’s because they’re ready to deal with you now.  Get your contracts and documentation ready.

Expect your customers to be on social media
If they’re not on social media, they’ll know someone who is.  Take great care to give your best to all your customers, even the challenging ones.

Expect to deliver excellent customer service and a great overall customer experience
This one goes without saying.  If you want repeat customers who give excellent feedback on social media, give them something great to talk about.

Expect that to get outstanding results, you’ll have to do something outstanding for your customers
Like most business owners who want to grow their sales and grow their business, you’ll need to win new business from customers who are currently dealing with your competition.  Where can you differentiate your offering, or your delivery to win prospective new clients?  How can you lead the way in your industry to make clients want to switch over to deal with you?

Expect that your customers are people, not robots
Just like our first ancestors who traded fish on the lake shores, people buy from people.  Treat your customers like people who matter to you – they’ll love you for it.

Expect that your customers want to win just as much as you do
Everyone likes to win.  Don’t win sales that make your customer the loser.  Is your customer unhappy?  The way you respond to challenges is a better marker of your company than almost anything else.  What can you do today to add value and ensure that your customer is winning just as much as you are?

Expect to have fun!
Yes – that’s right – Sales is Fun!  It’s fun meeting new people, helping them solve problems, and growing both of your businesses at the same time.  Remember to have fun while you’re selling!