The following article is a contribution from Julie Steelman is adapted from her book, “The Effortless Yes“.

Want to know the real reason small businesses fail? It’s because entrepreneurs–particularly women–are averse to selling. They hate selling, fear selling, or find it distasteful or disingenuous. As a result, their revenues stay flat or decline over time.

But there’s an easy and effective way to cure selling aversion that makes the sales process both enjoyable and profitable. Here are 10 strategies that work:

 

Start a conversation.

Selling is a conversation. You start conversations all the time, so why clam up when the person next to you is a potential buyer? Talk about your products and services like you would to a good friend. Be enthusiastic and passionate. More sales are made with unbridled enthusiasm than with fancy strategies–and your emotions will be contagious.

 

Be inspirational and heartfelt.

Communicate unwavering faith in the tremendous value you have for your customers. First, recall your own “aha” moment, and then share stories about how you and others were transformed as a result of using your products or services. Believe in your valuable offerings and you’ll motivate buyers to do the same.

 

Be helpful, caring, and service-oriented.

Selling with heart means having confidence in your immense talent for helping others. Start by educating your customers on how you can help them solve a problem, get more of what they want, and feel better about themselves. Think about how you can best take care of their needs.

 

Understand the buyer.

Understanding how buyers make decisions is essential to becoming comfortable with selling. Buyers go through three stages before they trust you and are ready to buy:?awareness–noticing what they want;?education–gathering information; and?interest–asking questions about you to find out if you’re trustworthy. Each time they pass to the next stage, their desire to buy increases.

 

Claim your sweet spot.

Your sweet spot lies at the intersection of your expertise, talent, and knowledge. It’s what you love most about yourself and your business, and what you’ve become known for. Carefully craft a unique message that communicates your sweet spot–one that appeals to their head, by conveying what they’ll gain by working with you, and to their heart, by showing them the emotional boost they’ll get from using your products or services.

 

Avoid three common sales mistakes.

Three common mistakes salespeople make are: focusing on product details rather than your customer’s emotions; delivering the entire sales story in one big run-on monologue; and trying to charm the customer into a sale. Instead, stay in the moment, listen to them, help them enjoy the sales process, and always focus on how you can take care of their needs.

Craft an irresistible pitch.

Give your customer a clear, concise explanation of what you do best and how it will benefit them. Deliver an honest statement about why you care about helping them. Ask a smart, intriguing question that pulls them into conversation. Use language that appeals to your ideal customer.

Be smart with social media.

Extend your desire to serve others and provide value into the social media world. Blogs, videos, and podcasts are fine, but they’re one-way communications. Host interactive events, chats, and conversations that engage your audience and serve their needs. Provide valuable expertise. Project an online personality that’s as genuine, caring, and trustworthy as you are in person.

 

Nix the cold call.

Don’t ever make a “cold” call again. Here’s how. Make a list of the top 5 to 10 customers you want to do business with. Research them thoroughly, read their website, and find something about them you can relate to. Putting yourself in their shoes, write down what you think their top challenges are and how your offerings could help them. Then craft an opening line based on that information. When you call them, everything you say should be about why your companies have great synergy and should explain what you can do for them.

 

Overcome objections.

Did you know that customers only object when they’re considering buying from you? It’s true, so find out which type of objection is holding them up so you can help them resolve it. Are they resistant to change? Do they have confusion or misunderstanding about the value? Do they need someone else’s input or approval, such as a spouse? Or do they simply need a bit more time to decide? Just as you would with a friend, take a leadership role and show interest in what’s bothering them, and then make an honorable attempt to help them get beyond it.