I have delivered a lot of pre-enterprise courses (start your own business courses) so far this year and am constantly trying to help people get to grips with ‘selling’. Most people who set up their own businesses do not have a sales background, either they are technically expert in their area or are setting up a franchise or have spotted an opportunist business opening. Many express a concern that they do not like ‘selling’, partly becuase they have not done it before and do not understand the ‘process’ and partly because of the conditioning process.

I have been involved in selling and sales and entrepreneurial training for years and even I am now getting concerned that the entrepreneur or business person has a mistaken focus on ‘selling to a customer’. Increasingly, I am focusing in on helping the customer to work their way through their ‘buying process’. This is a different focus and I suspect would be more in tune with the needs of both customers and entrepreneurs. By this change of emphasis we change the point of the discussion from a ‘salesperson-centered focus’ to a client-centered focus’. Helping people through their buying process is more empathic and I suspect is an approach far more helpful to the programme participants I am seeing at the moment.

Over the next few postings I want to explore this different approach and see how we can be of more assistance to our customers in a fashion that is more comfortable for them and us.