I was recently attending a talk from Helen Colley, an entrepreneur who managed to sell her business (Farmhouse Fare) for £10million just four years after starting to sell hot puddings into supermarkets.
She told us her classic story about collaring Sir Terry Leahy in front of 200 people when attending a business school lecture, as to why he didn’t stock her product.
“I was terrified but I knew I would only get one chance, so I plucked up the courage, stood up and asked the question.”
It led to a very lucrative deal.
Why do so many of us find the thought of being this bold and assertive when selling our products so hard? I had the opportunity to ask some questions. One of her answers was key. ‘My goal was to get the products into all the major supermarkets, and Tesco’s was one I hadn’t cracked yet. So I took the opportunity.’
Many organisations and individuals struggle to sell their products and services. Especially when that service is yourself. And yet in today’s society we all need to be salespeople.
So what can we learn from Helen?
Know what you are trying to achieve
Be clear about your objectives, but make the goals SMART (ie I am going to supply all 5 major supermarkets within 3 years… strategic, measurable, achievable, relevant and timebound)
Be clear about what the benefits are for the purchaser
This may involve some serious listening, positioning and research, but ultimately if you have the right product or service and they are looking for it, why wouldn’t it be a match? Helen knew that she had a new product (at the time), which people wanted to buy.
Seize the opportunity. What is the worst that can happen? If they are not ready to buy today, they might be in the future and they need to know you are there and remember who you are.
If you or your team are struggling with sales, if you don’t feel comfortable, then know you are not alone. We will be running regular courses that you can attend to find confidence in your own style.
The next one is running on Wed 25th Jan near Kendal in Cumbria. To find out more, click here.Back to blog