Most salespeople spend their preparation time boning up on their products and learning all they can about its features, potential benefits and advantages. In doing so, however, they often overlook the most important aspect of their sales presentation –– themselves.
Veteran sales pros understand that before a customer will even take a serious look at a product, they must have confidence in the salesperson. Without that confidence, sales are difficult, if not impossible to make.
National Federation of Independent Business Toolbox has a nice post about the importance of selling yourself as a means to selling your products or services - People Don't Buy Products, They Buy You. The article is intended as a reminder to salespeople about the trust they engender with customers through their behavior, attention and appearance. It is also excellent advise for the small business owner who should never neglect the opportunity to sell his clients, customers, vendors and suppliers on the values of his business. What applies to the salesperson goes also for the owner.
- Listen well - owners need to step back occasionally and ask for and receive feedback. Salespeople have to understand customer's need to sell effectively. Business owners need to take the time and just listen to their staffs, vendors and customers to get an appreciation of how the business is performing, how things can be improved and what problems the owner is uniquely positioned to remedy.
- Enthusiasm - customers buy when excited about a product. Those within and outside of your enterprise buy-in to what you are trying to accomplish by seeing your passion and enthusiasm for the business.
- Image - customers and vendors like to deal with people like them. The image an owner projects is a reflection of not only the business but everyone within the operation. Taking care of appearances is critical to projecting an image that everyone in and around the business can respect.
- Preparation - a salesperson ready with an answer to a customer question builds trust. Small businesses are a lot of work and often owners find themselves so busy running the place they don't think about much less prepare for the future. Preparation and planning is critical for a business to move deliberately forward. Targets, goals and objectives have to be articulated and understood by everyone within and key suppliers or vendors on the outside.
- Product knowledge - the salesperson's edge is knowing the benefits/values of a product or service. Owners have a need to articulate the value/benefits of their business model and operations to anyone at any time. Keeping track of the metrics that matter for their business success are critical.