You may not feel cut out for it. You started your business with one purpose, having one goal in mind: to do what you loved every day while having the freedom to work on your terms. As a small business owner, you’ve spent years developing your skill set and learning how to do what you do. You’ve trained and studied from the best, attended conferences and seminars, and uncovered new strategies from experts in your field. You’re so focused on your business and what it takes to run it that you neglected the development of one crucial element: your sales technique. Sometimes entrepreneurs are dreamers. They imagine a world where shoppers will flock to them like a herd of cattle and buy up all their wares without making any effort at sales. But in the real business world, it doesn’t work this way. If you want customers, you have to go out and find them, and if you want to increase your profit margin, you have to make it happen. In this article, we’ll give you some sales tips and advice you can immediately implement to help you get started. These will work whether you’re an expertly trained salesperson or a novice new to the world of selling. Don’t Expect Too Much Too Soon Sales is a process that takes time. Think of it like a first date. You wouldn't go from saying hello and greeting each other one minute to planning your wedding and picking out china patterns the next. The same thing is true with sales. The sales cycle is like a courtship. Customers need time to get to know your company, understand your offer, and make sure you're the perfect fit. Your selling strategy should include nurturing the prospect so they develop loyalty and trust in your brand. Don’t expect people to convert the moment they hear your elevator pitch. Expecting too much too soon will often set you up for failure. If we go back to our first date example, it would be like proposing marriage on a blind date right after you’ve said hello. You may get someone to agree, but 9 times out of 10, the answer you’ll receive will be a firm no. Identify Your Competitive Advantage Why should customers choose your solution over all the other options that exist on the market? What's so special and unique about the services you provide? If you want to stand out from competitors and win over other companies, you have to show prospects what’s different about your business. Give them a reason to choose you. This is commonly referred to as your unique selling proposition or your USP. It sets you apart from the pack and expresses the value you offer. Your USP should also list specific benefits that make your solution the obvious choice. This can be anything from price to 24/7 customer support to an extra special feature of your product or service. What you decide to use as your USP is up to you. The only thing that matters is that it must be something important to customers. Don't just pick any feature of your product and make it your USP—go with something customers care about the most. Uncover the Pain Points of Your Audience Before you can do this, you have to know the challenges of your target market and understand what they're struggling with. Then, you can demonstrate how your solution addresses those needs. Find out what motivates your customers to buy. Take the time to dig deep and uncover their needs, challenges, goals, and concerns. What do they want out of life? What issues keep them up at night? The more you understand your audience, the better off you'll be. Your research will be your guide, leading you as you develop all your marketing messages. You won't feel the need to guess what they want or imagine what they need. By uncovering their pain points, you'll have data showing what they want so you can tailor your strategy accordingly. Know How to Handle Rejection Rejection happens to everyone, no matter how good of a salesperson you are. You just have to accept it, move on, and not let it discourage you going forward. Just because you get rejected doesn't mean you did anything wrong. You may have entered your prospect's office, dressed in your best smile, and delivered a flawless sales pitch. Maybe you did so well that you even impressed yourself. But to your surprise, they still said no. When you get rejected, don't take it personally. It often has more to do with the other company than it has to do with you. Maybe they're at a pivotal moment in their business. Or maybe it's just the wrong time for them. If you hear the word no, don't beat yourself up. Accept that rejection happens to the best of us, and move on to another prospect. Set Realistic Goals As a small business owner with so much to do and so many fires to put out, it's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day activities—and lose sight of your vision for the future. Set goals and key performance indicators (KPIs), then hold yourself responsible for meeting each of them. Think about where you want your business to be in 1 year, 5 years, and 10 years. Decide on the business-building activities you want to accomplish. Then, revisit your goals occasionally to make sure you're staying on track at each milestone. Smart Strategies to Increase Sales The business world is highly competitive, no matter what industry you’re a part of, which makes the need to stand out greater than ever before, especially when customers can find products and services similar to yours in a matter of seconds by performing a simple Google search. It’s OK if you don’t have sales experience; not all business owners do. But if you develop your technique and get better at sales, it will help you succeed. It will also help you grow and thrive. And it will help you stand out from the hundreds of other businesses competing for the attention of your customers.