How to Improve Your Sales Skills as a Small Business Owner

Improve your small business sales skills video

Using effective sales skills in today’s marketplace is imperative if you want to be successful and close deals of every kind.

The old school of hard selling practices as a salesperson has all but disappeared and been replaced by clarifying and meeting the prospect’s needs.

As a sales professional, if you begin to use the term “serving” rather than “selling,” you will feel much more confident in this process.

Replace the old-style thoughts of high pressure with a focus on creating a deeper relationship with your customer. Using listening skills first, enables you to define your prospect’s needs in better detail, covering their pain points.

While using this sales process, you will experience much quicker, and more effective results in the sales cycle. In addition, using practical sales skills that provide the most relevant solutions to resolve customers’ issues will create a natural desire in them to buy from you.

In the past, many business owners hated the idea of selling as it had a reputation of being hard-sell, aggressive, devious, or downright dishonest.

However, it does not need to be like that at all.

Successful Selling Begins with Natural Conversations

Let’s face it, many business owners who have not had sales training shudder at the thought of having to meet their customers and sell them something.

However, the fact remains that they must sell their products or services to pay the bills and enjoy an income.

The truth, is that being natural with customers is the first sales skill you need to consider. You do not need a degree in public speaking; you just need to build rapport with them at the beginning of your sales presentation.

Why You Need to Develop Skills in Sales

Being a Sales Rep may not be your chosen career path, but the old saying still applies: “nothing happens in business until somebody sells something.” Of course, this applies to all sales businesses, so, like it or not, this is the truth.

Consider just what selling actually is. It is an exchange of goods and services for money.

You are giving something back to someone who has given you money for that product and service, so hold your head up proudly as you have nothing to be ashamed of.

With this mindset, you could be a competent sales manager and lead a sales team.

If you can, start reflecting on changing your mindset about sales.

You are the decision coach for your customer. You are there to solve the specific problem that they face.

Selling matches what you have to offer to your customer’s needs.

This can be a short process where your sales presentation is a one-time affair, or it can be months in the making with larger products and services.

Depending on your type of business, you’ll use sales skills in various settings, from telephone, or face-to-face conversations, to small groups or online meetings and webinars.

You may also have different types of customers, such as other companies in a business-to-business (B2B) environment, or individuals in a business-to-consumer (B2C) setting.

Excellent sales skills will benefit you in all situations.

Attributes of a Customer-Focused Salesperson

A customer-focused salesperson always puts the customer’s needs first throughout the sales process.

They are always looking for ways to improve the customer’s experience and ensure they are satisfied with the product or service. They are always willing to go the extra mile to ensure the customer is happy.

The concept of customer-focused sales is designed not only to get the sale but, more importantly, to create ongoing sales and keep the customer coming back for more.

The top sales skills of customer-focused salespeople are:

  • Committed to customer success. (This should be the number one sales goal.)
  • 100% confident in their product or service and in themselves
  • World-class communication skills
  • Enthusiastic educators with negotiation skills
  • Effective problem solvers with presentation skills
  • Efficient at building and managing relationships
  • Excellent coaches

It is essential to know your strengths and weaknesses when looking at this. You need to look at improving your sales skills wherever necessary.

You may be strong in some areas and need help in others. However, as long as your commitment to the customer and your product is strong, you can develop other sales skills and traits as you learn.

Every sales rep should master these critical sales skills.

Developing a Mindset to Enhance Your Sales Skills

Why Selling Feels Difficult

Old-school selling techniques that make you feel sleazy, manipulative, and immoral will make selling feel difficult.

The new essential sales skills we have discussed teach you to match your solution to your customer’s needs.

However, your own self-image will influence your selling. This is an important truth, especially for those in the service industry selling their services, like a hair stylist, architect, or personal coach.

Look, everyone has times in their lives when they doubt themselves. But low self-esteem can genuinely affect your ability to sell.

Sales Skills and Low Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is the value you put on yourself. You can judge its level by how quickly you recover from a setback, such as a storm of criticism or a launch that flopped.

If you pick yourself up quickly and carry on with a light heart, this shows a high level of self-esteem.  Your self-esteem is low if you can’t continue your business because of it.

Most people are somewhere in between.

Do you find yourself asking:

  • Am I worth what I am charging for this sales job?
  • Who am I to know that my product will really help people?
  • What if they say no?

Just turn them around to figure out what a positive spin on these statements is.

  • I’m worth every cent of what I am charging.
  • I’m an expert in my field, and I know my offering helps people.
  • It’s okay if they say no. It’s important to know that my offer isn’t suitable for everyone.

Be aware of these thoughts, as they can trip you up when selling. For example, discussing and believing in your pricing will be hard if you doubt your worth. Or you’ll price your products and services so low that they will be seen as worthless.

Can you see how these internal questions prevent you from selling successfully?

If you don’t value yourself and your work, you can’t expect customers to see the value in what you’re selling.

One of the best ways to stay on top of the trends today is to develop strong communication skills. Then, it will be easier for you to conduct sales presentations and demos.

Time to Change Your Mindset on Selling

If you’re stuck in a negative mindset, it’s time for a change if you want to have successful sales.

Negative thinking can lead to self-doubt, anxiety, and depression. It can hold you back from reaching the full potential of your sales career.

To change your mindset, start by identifying the negative thoughts holding you back. Once you’re aware of them, you can start to challenge and reframe them.

Instead of thinking, “I’m not good enough,” try thinking, “I can do this.” Then, when you catch yourself thinking negatively, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you’re in control of your thoughts.

With practice, you can train your brain to think more positively and command the skills you need to master.

Clinging to negative ideas about selling will be one of the significant roadblocks holding you back from sales success.

To enhance your sales skills, you need to change your mindset about selling and learn the reality of today’s hard and soft sales skills.

You want to be a service/help in solving your customer’s issues; therefore, you should call yourself a problem solver and not a salesperson.

Focus on some of the sales successes that you have had as opposed to remembering the failures.

The reality is that you are going to or have already experienced the truth about selling, and that is, you will get a lot more “no’s” than “yes’s.”

Effective sales relationships are the “new” part of the sales process.

Guiding yourself through this mindset change requires asking yourself challenging questions such as:

  • What was the situation?
  • What led up to the success?
  • What specific sales skills did you use to bring success?
  • Were there any negative consequences? (E.g., the person retracted, canceled the contract, etc.)
  • If so, why was that?
  • What might you do better next time to enhance your relationship-building skills?

As I mentioned, you probably have experienced more “no’s” than “yes’s.”

No one in sales has all the essential sales skills required to get a yes from a customer every time. This just does not happen, and this is a huge stumbling block for many salespeople as they take things too personally and become angry and disappointed.

Realize that rejection is inevitable, and it is up to you to discover how to reverse the effect that this rejection will have on you.

You will want to move on to feel confident, not discouraged – a big order but reasonably achievable with a new mindset.

Tips to Build a Positive Attitude Towards Selling

We’ve put together a few tips to help reframe your mindset towards being a salesperson:

  • Don’t take the sales experience personally. Come on, get over yourself. It’s your offer they are rejecting, not you personally.
  • Reframe it and put it into context. Think of all the exciting and interesting things in your life and the world. Someone saying ‘no’ one day to one offer is nothing compared to that.
  • Learn from it and identify the specific skills you need to work on. Perhaps you didn’t get the match quite right between what the customer was looking for and what you were offering. Next time make sure this doesn’t happen. Discuss sales stories with others, and you will learn quite quickly that others share your same stories except with different customers. Only the names have changed.
  • Use any feedback about your offer. For example, if a customer questions the price or the features, then use that information to rethink your offer.

Here is a link to more tips on developing your mindset.

You may decide not to change it, but at least you can understand why that person said they weren’t interested.

Everyone experiences setbacks in all types of sales. It’s the choice you make after you fall that makes the difference. For example, highly successful salespeople don’t dwell on their self-doubt because they know it serves no purpose.

Instead of doubting yourself, cultivate ways to bounce back.

I have always said that “knowledge is power.” Therefore, the more you know about your service/product and how it can help your customer, the more it will assist you in making a mindset change possible.

Learning the essential skills to make the change will help you hit your sales targets and become a great salesperson for your business.


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