Many social enterprises have a hard time with sales and acquisition. Typical beliefs written to me via email or in my online survey (which you are welcome to join) are:
I can’t sell. Nobody believes me.
The good news is that in most cases this is not true. (Almost) everyone can sell, because the only thing you need to bring to the table and can’t learn is a basic love of people.
I’m not good at negotiating. How do I convince others?
Interesting objection. To the first part: negotiating can also be learned, of course. How to convince others is an interesting question because it suggests that negotiation is a power struggle. But it isn’t. Negotiation is always about balancing interests, but too often people just haggle over positions. This is wrong and contradicts the 4 principles of fair negotiation.
I don’t know how to write a good proposal.
I also like this belief because the difficulty is easy to fix. The more you know the market, and especially the customer, and have asked his interests, the easier it is to write a good offer with options. How such an example should look like is part of my Online Implementation Program. .
How should I know what the customer wants?
Ask questions. Questions, questions, questions. Talk little, let the customer talk a lot. Above all, ask open questions like who, what, when, why, where, etc. For deeper inquiries, use question words such as “in what way”, “to what extent…”. And then listen well!
Money is evil and I want to do good, not make money.
This is something that only a few people say directly, but which resonates everywhere and often hits me when it comes to sales. Since this is about an internal attitude issue, I’ll address it in another post.
Sales is uncomfortable. I don’t like to chase people. I don’t like to be pushy.
Surprise: acquisition doesn’t have to be unpleasant and when you sell, you don’t have to be pushy! However, because many bad salespeople are, Sales has a bad reputation. The good salesperson is actually a helper. He or she helps the other person to solve a problem or to satisfy a need, receiving something in return.