The Sunday Mail
Dr Kudzanai Vere
Most successful entrepreneurs worldwide are maintaining their pole positions due to innovation, value addition and their ability to sell that which they would have innovated or value added. Similarly, businesses the world over are in existence because they are managing to successfully convert their products and services into money through sales. To that end, without sales, there is no business to talk about. Your ability to sell determines how far you will sail in your entrepreneurship and business journey.
No matter how good your product or service can be, if you do not have the mental disposition to convert it into money, then you have to sit down and keep quiet when real business people are talking. Learn and master the art of selling.
We do not order, manufacture or import products in order to count them at the end of the day, week, month or year as closing stock. They are meant to be quickly converted into cash through sales. This discussion points to the importance of selling in business.
The reason most companies have a snailish growth is, the founders and the chief executive officers would have prematurely delegated the selling function to an incompetent team. As the owner of the company, never retire from selling. This is what Estée Lauder of the Estée Lauder Companies Inc, an American multinational manufacturer and marketer of health and beauty products, had to say on selling: “I have never worked a day in my life without selling. If I believe in something, I sell it, and I sell it hard.”
Back home, we do have our own renowned entrepreneur Tinashe Mutarisi and others who continue to use both physical and the digital space to sell their products to the masses. Talk of the vibrant and upcoming entrepreneur, author of The Chartered Vendor and founder of M&J Consultancy Jerry More Nyazungu, the man continues to be actively involved in exposing his brands and closing sales.
Having seen the centrality of selling in the entrepreneurship arena, I will share the 10 commandments of selling that every entrepreneur, existing or aspiring must keep at heart and implement.
The 10 commandments of selling
◆ Thou shalt understand thy market
A market is generally defined as the sum total of all the buyers and sellers in the area with an interest and desire to buy your product or service. We understand technology has broken geographical boundaries such that you can sell any product to anyone in the world. You will find that within the same area, there can be a market for product A and product B. If you try to sell product X in the same market, it might possibly not move. An understanding of the market and the customers assist in giving you the type, quality and quantities of products that you can move within that market.
◆ Thou shalt understand thy customer.
If there is anything to study carefully and understand if you want to make a sale, it is the customer. All businesses are there because of customers. Like I often say, businesses exist to solve customers’ problems. You, therefore, need to understand the types of problems your target customers are facing and provide the right solution to them in the form of that product or service. Information as to your customer needs is key in the determination of the product or service to give them, its quantity and quality. Of equal importance on customers is an understanding of their buying behaviour.
The fact that you miss one sale does not mean you will miss the next. You have to continue trying until you strike a deal. I like this statement by B. Smith: “I have stood on a mountain of Nos for one Yes.”
◆ Thou shalt know thy product
The reason behind studying customers and markets is to determine the exact product or service that satisfies their needs and want.
In the event that you are the one who has produced the product or service, all will be fine because you have all the specifications and uses customers need to know. Often times, we buy and sell products that we do not even have a clue of where they were manufactured. Under such circumstances, you need to have sufficient knowledge about the product so that you can explain to the customer on the specifications and uses. How many times have you gone into a shop and asked one of the sales persons for a price of a particular product and they start asking their colleagues the price or specifications?
◆ Thou shalt appreciate thy process
Every business activity has a well-spelt- out and defined process that it follows. You might be selling your products online and someone shows interest and asks you how the process goes? A good sales person must be in a position to respond, telling them the whole process. Payment can be physical or online. If online, you need to have the online payment details handy so that you do not waste your client’s time.
◆ Thou shalt be authoritative
When selling your product, you must demonstrate authority and command over your area. Such authority comes from product, market and expert knowledge that you would have acquired. Customers tend to listen and respect you when they see that you really know your stuff.
◆ Thou shalt be persuasive
Selling is all about convincing a customer to buy your product. If you are experienced in sales, the price of your product or service will not be a big issue as you would justify it with the benefits they will get from the product or service.
◆ Thou shalt always smile
to thy customer
A smile on your face opens up the heart of a customer. They feel loved and welcome if you greet them with a smile. We all know that a customer is a king, so there is no any reason for withholding our smiles to our kings.
These kings have the power to fire the whole company including the chief executive officer if they are not treated well. So a smile and some kind words softens their spirit to an extent of wanting to fork out more money from their wallets.
Thou shalt keep learning
In life and business in particular, continuous improvement is an imperative. There is no way you can remain the same person if you stop learning. Customer needs keeps changing and so should be your approach to them as well as your product or service offering.
Thou shalt build trust
In business trust is built by always doing what you say you will do. If you sell a product to a customer, your product carries a promise that it will work in the same way you explained to the customer. If that doesn’t happen on their side, trust will be lost. Trust is built over time as you continuously interact with your customers.
Thou shalt Close a sale
The overall objective of learning and understanding the market, customers and knowing our products is to sell. If at the end of the day money didn’t flow our direction then we would have failed. After all is done, you must close the sale. You have to continue luring and convincing customers until the product is taken.
These are the Ten Commandments which when put to use will assist in selling your product or service. Regardless of your position in the organisation, you need to have selling skills.
Determined to engage, inspire and transform generations in the areas of entrepreneurship and personal development.
The writer, Dr. Kudzanai Vere is an entrepreneur, author of four books, business and personal development, multiple award winning entrepreneurship and business coach. Dr. Vere has coached more than 5000 entrepreneurs globally and continues to impact people in the areas of entrepreneurship, business and personal development. He is the founder & CEO of Kudfort, Transformational Mindset Institute and the Institute of Entrepreneurs Zimbabwe. Contact Dr Kudzanai Vere for transformational entrepreneurship and business coaching and training on [email protected] or +263 719 592232