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Business Unplugged™
This blog features Carol Roth's tough love on business and entrepreneurship, as well as insights from Carol's community of contributors.

Why You’re Not Selling Anything (And How To Fix It)

Written By: Matthew Kimberley | 16 Comments

You’re not selling enough, right?

If you are, then congratulations, hot shot. Have a coffee. Coffee, after all, is for closers.

But at the same time, perhaps it’s time to redefine those goals of yours and up the ante. Grow a pair and set some tougher goals.

Settling is fine. It’s comfortable. But we’re not in business to do “ok.” That’s what hobbies are for.

So if you’re either struggling, or just want to shift more of your stuff; if you’d like nothing more than a stream of hungry buyers knocking down the doors to your business, waving their credit cards and signing up for every program, course, widget and offer that you make, then you’ve got to do one single thing differently:

You’ve got to have sales conversations. 

My clients (and people who really should be my clients) tell me on a daily basis:

“You know, I’ve got everything in place. My website wins awards for being beautiful. My business cards are handmade by Nepalese widows from buffalo-hide and beetroot-ink. I’ve got a f-ing Aeron chair and a standing desk. I’ve got a small army of Facebook friends and a Twitter following that could populate a country….But still nobody’s buying my stuff.”

To which I say:

“Right, and how many sales conversations are you having?”

And the answer is always the same, “Not very many…”

So, erm, WTF?

Hanging around waiting for the phone to ring is not a grownup business-building strategy. Picking up the phone and making it ring will serve you infinitely better.

There’s a reason the sales team is the highest-paid department of every organization: They keep the business alive.

How’s your sales team performing? Will they get a bonus this year? Or is it pink-slip time?

Generally, it doesn’t work like this: Build something you’re convinced is great. Design beautiful brochures. Construct attractive websites. Talk endlessly about the features and benefits of aforementioned great thing. Hope that somebody says, “Wow, that really is great, I’d like one for myself.”

Sure, it works sometimes. But it’s weak. It’s lacking that KEY INGREDIENT: the invitation to buy.

You need to ask for the sale.

Let me say that again: You need to ask for the sale. And you need to ask for the sale multiple times a day, through multiple channels, to multiple prospects.

This means you end one-to-one conversations with “so let’s get started right now.

It means you end your emails with a “click here to get access.

It means you end your webinars with “and what you have to do next is enter your credit card details into the box below.”

Because everybody needs a nudge.

So your task for today, for this week, for the next year: Ask your prospects to buy. Never wait for them to volunteer.

As humans we err on the side of safety. Taking any step into the unknown has a degree of risk.

That risk-averseness is why we stick with the mac and cheese when we go out to eat. But when the server says, “Hey Bob, you should really try the rib eye. It will blow your mind!” Then, you know what? We try the rib eye. And we LOVE the rib eye. And we love the server for selling us on it.

So help your prospects love you: Ramp up your sales conversations. Measure them. Do more of them.

And hey! You’re selling more.

How do you start sales conversations? If you have some tips to share, please write them in the comments below so we all can benefit.

Article written by Matthew Kimberley
Matthew Kimberley is the author of “How To Get A Grip,” the head of the Book Yourself Solid School of Coach Training and a Big Deal at Daily Success Deals.
  • mike_trow

    Great article and well written. Oftentimes people struggle with starting the sales conversation. A lot is written about ‘ice-breakers’ and the like. I often say to the people I work with that the confidence needed to have a successful sales conversation comes from what you do before you pick up the phone. Know what qualifying questions you want to ask, to who, research the prospective company so you can be informed and decide on the outcome you would like from that call.

  • This is a great post, and I am going to take it to heart. I am trying to reach a SalesZilla who is on the road right at this moment, and I would guess that my outbound calls keep going into voice mail because he keeps having conversations… even while driving…. where he asks for the sale. That is what I am going to do. My metric: I want to close one three-month gig within a week. Speak to you next Wednesday. I’ve got my marching orders… Thanks for the advice

  •  @DianeDP Boom! Love the concreteness of your take-away!

  •  @mike_trow Agreed. But nothing beats just PICKING UP THE PHONE. 

  • Any blog post that includes a Glengarry Glen Ross reference is great in my book!  This was an excellent kick in the pants, thanks. 

  • PointA_PointB

     @DianeDP We’re going to hold you to that, Diane – and good luck!

  • rontester

    A great reminder, Matthew! Big thinking, bold doing!

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