If you own a small business or are working within a small team and facing your clients directly, you have to sell. Whether that is a product or your services, its a pretty important part of the whole business-and-making-a-living thing.
But, being a seller can be uncomfortable. And, being sold to, also makes people uncomfortable. I personally hate that pressure - no matter where I am or how much I love a product you can feel the energy shift.
Building authentic relationships is the foundation of a strong and sustainable boutique business
Recently, I got a call from my bank asking me about my business. Unfortunately, it was clear that the person on the other end of the phone was simply reading a script and had no real interest in my answers. Within 30 seconds they were asking if I wanted to buy some add-on service. My immediate reaction was – unsurprisingly - NO. Thanks but no thanks. I can’t even remember what it was they wanted me to buy, I just remember feeling pressured and immediately became defensive.
Now, if that same person asked me about my business, showed interest in my answers, then made a smart judgement about whether what they were selling was a good fit for me… well, the conversation could have gone a whole different way.
The underlying problem was that I had no trust in the person on the other end of the phone. They didn’t know anything about me, they didn’t know how their product would help me.
We can learn a lot from this
First off, get to know your clients. Who they are and what they do. To build trust and credibility you have to show an interest and understanding of their needs. That’s the foundation of building a strong relationship. Be open and honest about what you offer. It’s up to you as the service provider to join the dots between what you offer with what your client wants. That is, how you can best help them to get the most out of what you offer.
Taking the time to invest in your “sales” process is valuable. Greeting a new client warmly as soon as they enter the studio, making them feel welcome and part of your community, helps to build trust. How you choose to spend those five minutes at the end of a session has a big impact on whether a client chooses to return.
Whether you are a realtor, a restaurant owner or a pilates instructor. You’re selling something and your success depends on how well you do just that
Last week, I visited a new dentist. I was greeted professionally (eye contact and with a smile) and immediately felt taken care of. Every step of the process was explained to me - I felt like I was in safe hands. They asked me about my life, how I spend my time, what my goals were for the visit (yes - really!). I was introduced to the different parts of their business and the layout of their office space. So when they suggested a treatment plan, I didn’t really hesitate to make the appointment. Why? I felt comfortable that I knew what I was getting. Their investment in building a relationship had really helped establish trust and credibility.
Top Tips on Selling Without Selling
1. Don’t underestimate the value of expressing a real interest in your client and their needs and goals.
Get to know your clients, ask about their weekend, discover their habits. It will help you help them.
2. Don’t expect clients to feel as comfortable in your studio as you do.
Make a point of letting clients know where they should leave their personal items, the general studio etiquette and how they should book their sessions.
3. Get clear on the best way for your clients to use your services.
If 3 private sessions is not feasible for your client, then suggest alternative ways they can access your services. For example, a combination of privates and classes, tell them about the most affordable pricing package or consider writing a personal do-at-home workout plan.