14 May Ethical selling: how to be a more confident sales person
How do you feel about selling?
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a ‘sales person’? For me, my mind fills with images of dodgy second hand car salesmen, double glazing or Del Boy!
As consumers we’re often overwhelmed by advertising, sick of being on the receiving end of pushy outbound sales techniques and surrounded by greenwashing – so it’s no wonder that thinking about being on the other side of the process doesn’t feel great.
It’s safe to say that the idea of selling doesn’t sit too comfortably for many of us.
Personally I used to hate the idea. Despite years of working my way up in corporate marketing, then starting and running 2 successful businesses, I would never consider myself a sales person.
I could create all the content, attract and nurture a relationship with my ideal customer and talk about all the product benefits – but when it came to asking for the sale I’d freeze up, get all awkward and spend hours cringing about it afterwards. I hated the whole experience!
It wasn’t until one of my marketing clients was looking to hire a full time sales person and he said he wished he could hire me that I started to have confidence in myself and believe in my sales skills.
I shifted my mindset, focused my efforts on service over sales and aligned the process to my ethical values. I built my confidence, transformed the sales experience and started believing in myself, and guess what? The whole process became more enjoyable and I made more sales as a result!
So how can you become a more confident sales person?
If you’re anything like I was, you’ve got a fantastic product or service to offer the world, but when it comes to making the sales you’re filled with nerves. You struggle with impostor syndrome and the whole process feels uncomfortable.
You’re active on social media, doing everything you can to market your business, but you’re just not converting the number of sales you need because you’re not comfortable ‘asking for the sale’.
You have no problem recommending products to friends when you know they’ll find them useful, so why is selling your own product such a struggle?
Overcome the cost barrier
Ethical products have an extra barrier to overcome when it comes to sales – the ‘true cost’. There is a strong stereotype that ethical products are more expensive and are a luxury item that not everyone can afford.
As ethical issues are becoming more mainstream this will gradually change, but justifying the cost is still a barrier that ethical business owners need to overcome. (We discussed this in a live panel at our recent Fashion Revolution event – watch the replay here).
The problem is that we’re so used to products being mass produced and sold cheaply (at a cost to people in the supply chain and the planet) that we’re not used to paying a fair price to ensure that people are treated fairly and environmental impact is minimised.
When we’re trying to sell ethical products at a higher price point, we need to explain the reasons behind the costs and re-educate the consumer. Ethical fashion brand Everlane pride themselves on ‘radical transparency’ and break down their costs and markup as a way to achieve this:
Tell your story
One in three customers rank trust in brands as one of the top factors in their buying decisions.
The ethical market is growing and studies suggest that people are willing to pay more for ethical and sustainable products – but there’s a lot of misleading information and greenwashing out there. To get the ethical sale, you need to focus on building trust.
As in any relationship trust is built over time as we get to know each other. As a business owner and brand your job is to get to know your customers and let them get to know, like and trust you.
The more transparent you can be about your ethical and sustainable credentials, working practices and the impact you’re making, the better. When we’ve discussed this in the #EthicalHour community as consumers and business owners we’ve also often agreed that we don’t mind if a company isn’t as ethical or sustainable as they could be in some areas of their business, as long as they are open and honest about their limitations and include their customers in their journey.
You can also use external certifications to validate your ethical credentials and build this trust, such as Fairtrade certifications or the Social Enterprise Mark.
Understand the customer journey
When you launch a website, promote your products on social media and start getting the word out there it can be disheartening if the sales don’t start rolling in as quickly as you’d hoped.
Building visibility and credibility takes time and sales is a complicated process. The fast paced online world has fooled many of us into believing it’s easy and that there are quick wins to be had. Unfortunately, that’s just not true.
Ethical consumers put more consideration into their decision making than most and credibility, trust and reputation will all be important factors for them. Research suggests that it takes between 7 and 11 ‘touch points’ with a brand before customers are ready to buy, but this varies significantly depending on factors such as what the product is for, price and ethical credentials.
If the sales aren’t rushing in as quickly as you’d hoped, don’t feel discouraged. Instead you need to map out your customer journey and understand exactly how you’re nurturing relationships and building trust with potential customers at every stage.
By focusing on serving your customers instead of selling to them, solving their problems and building a relationship with them, you will become a more confident, natural sales person. You’ll align the process to your values and those that you share with customers, and it won’t feel like an uncomfortable process.
If you truly believe in the product or service you’re selling and the positive impact it can make to your customers and the wider world, you’ll know that selling comes from a place of service and care – so no more cold sweats and uncomfortable conversations!
What are the biggest barriers to more sales – either externally or in your own mindset?
If you’re ready to become a more confident, ethical sales person, attract customers that you know will benefit from your product and grow your business with authentic, trustworthy sales techniques, then join our online sales masterclass this week!
In this workshop I’ll be sharing with you the tools, techniques and strategies I used to shift my mindset, improve my sales techniques and get comfortable so I could start selling with confidence.
We will explore how to:
- Overcome your fear of selling
- Beat the imposter syndrome and sell with confidence
- Shift your mindset to make sales more comfortable
- Understand your customer journey and nurture those sales!
- Come from a place of service and care, so you can sell in a way that aligns to your values
Overcome your fears, feel comfortable and confident and start selling in a way that aligns with your values. If I can do it, so can you! Book your tickets now.