If I ask most small business owners, they will tell me how brilliant they are at sales. All they need to do (they will tell me) is get in front of the perfect client and they’ll turn them into a sale.

I can tell you from working with many, many small business owners over the years, that there is rarely such a thing as sitting down in front of the perfect client. In reality, a small business owner will need some degree of sales skills in order to turn a potential client into an actual client.

So my question today is what should be in your sales kit so that no matter what the potential client throws at you, you have all the tools in your arsenal in order to deal with it.

A good sales kit doesn’t necessarily need to be materials that you take along with you but ideally you should have thought these through and be prepared before you go along to a sales meeting.

In my sales kit I have the following:

  • A good pen and some sort of good notepad so I can record what was said
  • Sales literature such as brochures, flyers, business cards etc
  • A list of frequently asked questions so that I know that no matter what the question is I can answer it
  • Diagrams and exercises so that I can demonstrate a technique or idea to a potential client
  • Active listening skills so that I really hear what a potential client is telling me
  • Proposal templates so that I can quickly get a proposal back to a potential client
  • Ways to close the sale or ask what the next step is
  • Always having a chat on the phone first to properly qualify the potential client – is it worth my time going to meet them?

The fact is, when I first started my business, I was really rubbish at sales. I didn’t listen to the potential client and just sat there and told them how we could help rather than listen to what they wanted.

It was only after a good deal of lost sales and opportunities that I realised that clients would very often tell you what they wanted if only you would listen to it.

Once I started to do this, and put together great ways of answering the questions they asked. Believe me answering the question “why did you study Psychology at Luton University?” with “Because I didn’t do as well in my A levels as I wanted to” does not impress a potential client. I know as that’s what I once said.

Now I have ‘political correct’ answers – answers that sound great and can really sell my products and services no matter what is thrown at me.

I have also developed diagrams and exercises so that I can visually explain to a client what we do. Although I don’t have these formally created (as I want to keep the meeting informal), I do have these in my head and can bring them out at any moment to explain a difficult concept to a client.

So do you have all of these tools in your sales kit and how good are you at using them?

A good question to ask yourself is: if you had 10 potential clients, how many of them (being really honest) would you turn into clients? If your answer is anything below 8 out of 10, there is definitely room for improvement.

Thank you to Exceptional Thinking for this blog.