Beyond the Build

Customer Relationships

Business Owners: Get Past “Selling Hang-ups”

Last week while looking though Entrepreneur, an article titled “How Entrepreneurs Can Conquer Fear of Selling”  caught my eye. Carol Tice lists “owners who hate selling” as a primary reason businesses fail.

While I am not sure it is a primary reason, the brand of a small business is intertwined with the persona of the business owner(s). To me, directly or indirectly, business owners are always representing their brand–selling– whether we mean to or not. If you are the primary spokesperson for your company, good representation is job number one.

A few thoughts that Tice suggests we remember:

  1. Talk about your products and services as you would to a good friend.
  2. Remember why you started your business and relate it.
  3. Focus on customers’ needs and emotions rather than delivering a canned monologue.
  4. Make “warm” calls.
  5. Identify obstacles that would prevent a sale and think of ways to overcome them.

To me, the most important is #4. I’m a big believer in initiating frequent touch points with our contacts (or relationship customers). This is very individual to the relationship. I often share newspaper articles, draft short notes or enjoy meals with people I hope to stay in touch with. The benefit is two-fold: our business stays top of mind, whether they need us now or not, and customers often become friends. Those personal relationships are our primary business plan.

How do you overcome your reluctance to sell? What works for your business?

Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.