The blessing/curse of many mom entrepreneurs is that we are accidental entrepreneurs. We took the “necessity is the mother of invention” route to starting up our small businesses. We weren’t seasoned CEO’s or sales rockstars that decided to go solo. We are more commonly bootstrappers and self-taught marketers.
What else do mom entrepreneurs have in common? We’re not the best sales women. It’s not for lack of skills, but lack of “how to sell” training. Our background isn’t putting together compelling sales sheets, knocking out 8 hours/daily of cold calls, or pros at stalking decision makers.
For those of you looking for how to sell advice that gives you a competitive edge without turning you into a used car salesman, here are my tips.
Make Yourself Visible
Image via CrunchBase
Who are you trying to sell to? Find their name, company info, location and build a “buyer profile”. Once you find this info you can track them down in social media such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Make yourself known by re-tweeting them, commenting on their blog posts, joining linked in discussions and support their efforts. Your interest and generosity will be noted and they may potentially reach out to you if they see synergy.
Be consistent in your efforts and only attempt a sales pitch AFTER they have joined in a few online conversations with you. I think of it as a “meet me halfway” approach to business development and mom entrepreneurs are naturals at this. Nobody wants to feel bombarded by a complete stranger spewing a desperate sales pitch. Take the time to build a relationship first and it will be perceived as you reaching out to “help them”. That’s win/win in the how to sell world, your ideal scenario for generating loyal customers.
Learn From The Media
Generating publicity and building relationships with the media is critical to your small businesses success. I wrote about his in detail here: Why Publicity Matters for Mom Entrepreneurs. A major bonus is the valuable lesson it can teach you about how to sell. Once you secure a glowing review, analyze the piece. How did they present your company? What benefits did THEY chose to highlight? What was the reader response?
This can give you valuable clues about what you should be including in your sales pitches and marketing collateral. We’re too involved with the day-to-day of our business to see the big picture. It can be enlightening when a fresh pairs of eyes take note and point out features/benefits you took for granted.
Encourage Customers to Find Your Leads
This how to sell tip is common sense. We all KNOW this is a good idea, but few of us actually use this strategy to our advantage. To build a recommendation engine into your lead generating efforts incorporate incentives for your existing customers.
A couple suggestions to get you started: include a “15% discount for referrals” promotion in your email blast, add a “forward to a friend” link to your online presence, pack a “friends and family” coupon in shipments for customers to hand out, encourage “shares” in social media, contests that reward re-tweets, add an “I’m never too busy for your referrals” button at the bottom of your email signature, and cross promote with other mom entrepreneurs. All of these methods add up and will give you a well of warm leads for your business to tap into.