Does the thought of selling make you want to run for the nearest emesis basin? For many nurse entrepreneurs, selling is the most difficult part of running a business. But without selling, you don’t even have a business.
You can actually develop a love of selling, if you have the right mindset and understanding of what it really is.
Let’s examine what you’re really doing when you sell.
Listen to Your Prospect as You Would Your Patient
Sales start with listening. You listen to what your prospects are telling you about their pain or problem. Don’t assume they aren’t interested in buying from you. On the contrary, your product may be exactly what they’re searching for!
In order to be a successful salesperson, you need to be a good listener. You need to understand your prospect and their needs. Nurses are great listeners and communicators, so it stands to reason that they can excel at selling. Think about it: you listen to your patients when they tell you their symptoms, fears, and questions.
Your prospects are doing the same thing. The only difference is, they’re telling you the problem for which they need a solution, their fears if they’re unable to find a solution, and objections that may prevent them from buying.
Nurses are acutely aware of the importance of informed consent. And how do healthcare providers assist patients to make informed decisions? Through education. It’s no different with prospects.
Once you know what solution your prospects are in search of, it’s time to reflect back their needs, fears, and objections, using the same language they use. Educate them about your product or service and how it can provide the solution they seek. Remember to emphasize the benefits, that is, what their life will look like once their problem is solved.
Make it Personal
Some consider sales to be just impersonal business transactions where people are simply numbers. It's a numbers game, pitting quantity over quality. The more prospects you pitch, the more cold-hearted sales you make.
But good salespeople connect personally with their prospects. You start off by making a personal connection. Then, together, you work to find solutions to their problems. Think of it as the nursing process for business.
Selling is Helping Your Prospect Solve a Problem
An obstacle to viewing sales in a positive light is when it’s seen as manipulating a prospect. They shudder at the thought of trying to convince someone to buy something they don’t want, and using slimy sales tactics to do it.
When you offer a product or service that's actually helpful for the prospect, there's no manipulation involved. In fact, you're actually "serving" them as you know you’ve got a solution to their problem or need. And isn’t that what nurses do?
Use the nursing process to assess your prospect’s needs, make a “diagnosis” based on your findings, decide on the appropriate “interventions,” and evaluate their effectiveness.
Your diagnosis is based on the need as your prospect expresses it. This part is important! If you misdiagnose their need, your sales messages will miss the mark, as they won’t clearly reflect what your prospect is asking for.
For example, let's imagine that you're selling coaching sessions to help clients improve their health. You’ll miss the mark if you try convincing a prospect to sign up by emphasizing your skills and credentials. That’s not what they’re searching for. Instead, speak to their desires and their picture of success.
Offer a free session where you teach a few crucial things they can apply today to get results. Once they try what you taught them, they'll realize the value of what you offer.Your sales “interventions” are the ways in which you communicate your offer, overcome objections, and demonstrate to your prospects how your product or service offers the best solution to their problem.
Remember to follow up with your prospect to get feedback about your offer. Without this vital information, it’s impossible to pinpoint what caused them to either say “yes” to becoming your customer, or “no, I think I’ll look elsewhere.”
Build Your Self-Confidence
Could there be something deeper that causes you discomfort at the thought of selling? Perhaps the possibility of rejection is the real cause of your avoidance. There’s no doubt about it: rejection hurts. Intellectually, you know it's not a personal rejection. But it can still be painful when your offer is rejected, despite your best efforts to communicate your product or service’s benefits to prospects.
Be assured that your confidence will grow through these experiences. The more often you face rejection, the more you’ll recognize that it isn’t a rejection of you, but a choice made by your prospect to seek a different solution. You can also gain confidence by knowing your product well, and being able to effectively communicate to prospects how it can benefit them.
Let me know what you think. Do you have an aversion to selling? Or do you proceed confidently, knowing that your product or service is a great help to your prospects?