Do you dream of having your own home-based business?
Do you have a great idea, product, or service and wish you could connect with the people who need it? Are you a great coach, therapist, or other professional without clients? You’re not alone!
According to DigitalMedia January 4, 2012, 51.6% of small businesses are home-based—and the Small Business Administration reports that 50% of small businesses fail within the first 5 years.
Among the top 10 reasons for failure is low sales and that’s no surprise, considering the negative stereotype our society holds of sales people and how many of us carry it within our own hearts. I hear people say, “I’m a great coach but I hate feeling salesy,” or “I’m a terrific jewelry designer but I know nothing about selling.” Or “I’m just not pushy enough to sell.”
This sales-phobia is real and there are often good reasons for it.
You may feel you would be imposing on your friends.
You may feel any effort to promote yourself and your ideas will seem “pushy.”
You may not know how to start.
Or maybe just hearing the word “sell” gives you chills.
The bottom line is that no one benefits from all you have to offer until something is sold! So here are 3 tips for getting started:
1. Understand your self and your own story:
Why do you want to be in business? And why did you choose to offer this particular service or product?
If your first answer is to make money, dig deeper: what would having that money allow you to do?
Do you want the freedom of being self-employed so you can spend more time with your family?
Would that money help build an emergency fund or a college fund?
Would it pay for a great vacation?
Then begin understanding your potential customers and their stories.
What do you believe you have to offer them? Great service? Good products? What is your commitment to them?
The best way to do this is to think of 3 scenarios where what you offer can help someone achieve their own goals. For example, do you sell jewelry? Or do you sell confidence.
Would your expertise in accessorizing help your client feel great about that date? or a job interview? or a big presentation?
Do you sell health products? or do you sell energy and well-being?
Would your products help someone have more energy to do all the things that are important to them? Less stress? Pain relief?
Remember, you first need to understand your customer and what’s important to them and only then do you know whether what you offer can help.
2. Spread the word.
Don’t want to lean on your friends? You can spread the word about what you offer using Facebook or LinkedIn. You can build a newsletter list to spread the word when you have something new to offer and some important event coming up. Best of all, you can donate your time to people who would benefit but can’t afford to pay you right now. Volunteering builds your confidence and gives you a better understanding of how what you provide helps others. For example,
How about taking your knowledge of accessorizing to Dress for Success?
How about offering a brief talk on stress reduction at a senior center?
Reach out and be generous with your time and always ask your audience to let you know of anyone they think would be interested. Pass around a sign-up list. When you bring people value, they talk about it.
3. Follow up!
Write thank you notes. Send your card. Build your email list for news and promotions. And let your customers know they are important to you.
It’s still true, even in this age of the internet and social media, people buy from people. Be the person they want to buy from by understanding and caring about their goals.
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Prepared by Bob W.
Editor: Lynn Hasselberger
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