There are so many quotes from people that I’ve met that I’ve stayed with over the years. I’ve attended countless trade shows, networking events, professional mixers, online webinars, etc. to stay engaged with small business and diverse vendor/supplier inclusion communities.
Beverly Kuykendall said years ago “I want to be the most attractive person when I walk into a room.” She went on to explain that the attraction was in what she knows and how she’s able to convey that simply by walking into a space. She has earned millions in contracts for her business and her clients. #Confidence attracts others, whether business or personal.
I want to talk about confidence boosters that could help you grow your business.
You may not know this, but my company #GuidedBusinessPlan is all about #entrepreneureducation. We are the creators of the GUIDED Business Plan™ books series that has more than 10 editions to guide an unemployed person to start, grow, and become a corporate or government contractor.
We started this blog series for all small businesses, but especially for those smaller companies that are pursuing corporate contracts and need to build their proposal toolkit. Read on to know more!
Sales: Turn transactions into reactions
Sales in general is one of the hardest things to master if you keep putting mental roadblocks in your way. When I first started out, my hands would shake at the thought of making cold calls. When I finally got up the courage to start dialing for dollars, I was so exhausted every time. I wasted time with mental insecurities.
The roadblock that I had was the fear of the word “No”. Dwelling on the negative erodes confidence and procrastinates the journey. Ty, a past trainer, would say “embrace the suck”. I believe it is Pam Isom, founder of ICE Safety Solutions, who said “No equals New opportunity”. I’m guessing you have your own mantras to help you get over the note. But I tell you it took years for me to really understand what sales is about.
Sales is not forcing your wants on others. Sales is not forcing your desire to make a buck by bullying someone into trading dollars with you. Rather, sales is about turning a transaction into a reaction.
It sounds like somebody else must have said that before, but it just came to mind. I think about a recent purchase I made where I really didn’t need what they had to offer but, I wanted to support. As soon as the transaction was over, the salesperson was on to the next person barely acknowledging my presence. My reaction was pretty negative in terms of how I viewed her company.
I can tell you that I had very low confidence in my sales process overall for years, which is why I spent more time writing than sales and marketing. Now when I attend trade shows, I have conversations with prospects, which led to meeting requests. I was approaching the right people with the right solution that they were looking for and just having a conversation about it, as if we were already working together.
Boost your confidence by treating the sales process as if you were talking to a friend. That doesn’t work in all cases, but if you struggled like I did, it’s a starting place to get more comfortable growing your small business faster.
Pricing: Determine your true value to a customer
When it comes to pricing, it is extremely important to be confident in this area.
There is so much more to pricing but here are two quick tips:
- If you have a product-based business, determine your costs and then how much profit you want to make from each item.
Once you have that as a foundation, do your research to find out what your competitors are charging. Do you want to be perceived as a premium item meaning more expensive than the average rate because you offer more value? Or do you want to be considered a budget-friendly option meaning a little bit less than the average rate? Of course focus groups and data should also be used to confirm that you are charging the right prices.
- If you have a service-based business, then you want to figure out what it would cost your prospect if they did not use your services…or services from a similar company. A small business owner that spends 2 months reconciling their receipts (let’s say 60 hours of their time) could have saved opportunity costs if they hired an accountant who could knock it out quickly. The accountant in this scenario could price what it cost the small business owner to DIY it and price accordingly.
When pricing your services, know the value that you offer to your customer and factor in other costs that you incur to deliver that service. There’s a lot more to it and there are a lot of resources to help you, such as the U.S. Small Business Administration resource partners who offer no cost counseling for small businesses.
Toolkit: Create proposal content now
When you have a proposal tool kit that is ready to go, you are more confident to bid on projects. A proposal toolkit could consist of a Capabilities Statement, Continuity Statement*, a past proposal that you have already put together, resumes from key team members, references, client case studies, intro videos/pitches, etc. Essentially, it’s having the tools that may be requested by a prospective client in order to move forward to the next step in this sales process.
Bring it all together
Confidence is about having connections. Those connections could be someone who believes in you and gives you positive advice to keep pressing forward. It could be colleagues that are doing what you want to do…mimic them to find an easier way to get there.
Boost your confidence by 1.) showing up to virtual/in-person events to expand your professional network and have conversations, 2.) by having a proposal toolkit so you are ready to go, 3.) and by appreciate the value you bring to a project. Know your business by heart and it will give you impressive results, attracting potential clients and vendors who want to support you.
If you want to have a confidence boost while doing sales, I suggest you also listen and learn lessons from well-known keynotes speakers about sales. Here are some of the names to check out:
- Todd Cohen
- John Hall
- Liz Strauss
- Keith Ferrazzi
- Jill Rowley
As a business owner, you likely wear many hats. You may feel like you don’t have time to work on your confidence or that it’s just one more task to add to an already long list. But if you can find ways to boost your confidence – even by a little bit – it will go a long way in helping you grow your business. We hope this blog has given you some ideas about how to do that. And if you need more help, be sure to check out our online course and community, GUIDED Plan with Peers™. With the help of our community of entrepreneurs and experts, you can get the support and guidance you need to reach new heights in your business ventures.
We help small businesses and diverse vendors create different components of their proposal toolkits via our work sessions and GUIDED Plan with Peers™ community.