It’s game time! In the world of business that’s when you are going in for the sale. For me, it was my first networking event. I was rocking my white, quilted, motorcycle jacket, my perfect fit, powder blue trousers, and my four-inch, neutral pumps. I checked my teeth to make sure there was no lipstick on them. My hair was flawless. On the outside, I was ready. My insides? Not so perfect.
Q: Why do we fear asking people for what we need?
A: It’s the possibility of rejections.
I won’t go into all the cliches of, no just means there is another door open elsewhere. At the time you hear it, none of that matters. No hurts. Like hell, sometimes. The worst part is we remember the no’s better than we remember the yeses. That is how that pit in our stomach develops. All that work preparing, building confidence and knowing we have the answer to everyone’s problem, just to be told no thank you.
All that positive thinking didn’t pay off. That’s because, the truth is, it takes more than thinking positive and wishing/begging for it to work in our favor. Sometimes, no is inevitable.
Five steps closer to yes
Step 1 Be Ready!
Preparation is key. Not just the outfit you are going to wear. Know your prospect. Know what their needs are. I know that seems simple, and like it should be common sense. When you are starting out, some people only think about what they are selling. In our technology world today, there is no reason to not know more about the person AND their company. Be able to show why your product is the answer they are looking for. Show you did your homework so they know you aren’t just trying to land this one time sale, but you are in it because you genuinely care.
Step 2 Practice!
It feels crazy standing in front of the mirror giving your spiel to your imaginary friend that looks just like you. Do it anyways! Practice it a few times. Then practice different versions of it so you sound conversational and not robotic. It’s okay to have it memorized. Just learn how to make it flow. It helps prevent you from stuttering and it instills confidence in what you are saying.
Step 3 Listen and Learn
It’s going to feel like your heart is beating loud enough for the whole room to hear it. Take a deep breath. I promise you are the only one that hears it. And if it is beating, that is a good thing. Right? Take your mind off of yourself and put your attention on the person or persons in front of you. You want to be listening for key points to follow up on later. You will be following up with them, so you want them to know they were heard.
Step 4 Follow-up
Whether you are networking, cold calling or on a sales call, the follow-up is important. Communicating with your perspective clients keeps you fresh in their memory for not just their needs. If they are out speaking to someone who has a need that you can help with, they can say, “hey, I know a person”.
Remember in step three, you are not just listening but you are learning about that person. Your interactions don’t always have to be a sales pitch. Don’t come off phony either. What did they teach you about themselves? Send them a copy of an article that you think they might find interesting. People like to feel important.
Step 5 Bravery Box
Last, but not least, pat yourself on the back. You did it! Add that to your list of victories. You got out of your comfort zone, alive! As you continue to network or make/go on sales calls, you find it gets easier. That pit shrinks. Confidence is not a born trait, but a learned one. You learn by doing.
Keep going. The more you do it, the better it gets.
And one more thing
Be open to making mistakes, as long as you are willing to learn from them. Starting a brand, building a business, landing clientele; all of this takes time. As long as you are prepared and are listening, you should have a lot more yeses coming your way.
Don’t forget, you are so worth it!