Nurses who want to venture into business are often most afraid of one thing…sales!
Although I got started as a nurse entrepreneur as a per-diem clinical educator for a medical device company which felt like I was just taking on a 2nd nursing job, as I look back now on that experience I realize that even in that role I was not only teaching what I knew about products, I was also learning…and what I was learning about most was sales (even though I would not have called it that back then).
Sales require you to connect a solution to a need. The need may be known or unknown. My favorite thing is selling to an unknown need, some people call this a concept sell. A concept sell is a situation where you first must educate someone about a new concept. Once they have acquired this new knowledge, a need that wasn’t there before is created, and then you can offer the solution. I’ve been helping sales reps do concept selling for incubators and brain monitors for babies in the newborn ICU for more than 15 years now. As a nurse consultant, I would travel to a hospital, teach classes to the doctors and nurses (or in-services), and create a need for the company’s product through education. Now I use these same skills when I teach about using essential oils as natural remedies and as non-toxic alternatives to skin care, personal care, and cleaning products. Teaching is easy for me, I love creating the interest and curiosity for a new concept, but since I didn’t have a sales rep who was following up after I did the teaching, I needed to learn how to close the sale to be successful in my essential oil business, where I need to be both the educator and the sales rep.
If the idea of teaching seems fun, but the idea of sales seems scary, then I want you to know that you are not alone! As nurses we want to help others, but we don’t want to feel like we are stalking our potential customers (and if you are doing direct sales or are involved in a network marketing company this means you don’t want to feel like you are stalking your friends and family), you don’t want to make tons of calls, hear people say no, or use high-pressure sales tactics. Neither did I!!!
So after 3 years of educating others on how to use essential oils, I was feeling stuck when it came to my skills in selling. But luckily someone shared a sales training program with me and it has changed everything!! The sales training is called “Direct Sales Foundation” by Emerge Sales Training and is designed for people selling products through a network marketing companies (like doTERRA) or direct sales (like Mary Kay LipSense) but honestly, I have applied their training to my other nurse consulting businesses as well.
Since I have been such a fan of their sales training for my business, I recently asked them if I could partner with them to offer a webinar just to teach nurses how to sell without feeling “salesy” and without having to do weeks and/or months of following up and stalking friends!
Emerge has identified 5 major hang-ups that most people (even nurses) have about sales, and they covered these during the webinar:
1. Selling on the fly.
What this means is that you try to teach everything you know to someone about your product and service in the break-room at work or in line at the grocery store. You need to treat your business like a business and make appointments with people where you and they can be 100% focused.
2. Focusing on you and not them.
Concept selling is all about teaching something new, creating a need, and linking your product and service to it. It is not about telling your story or sharing everything you know.
3. No clear agenda.
People don’t want to meet with you because they don’t know how long your presentation is or what you will go over. (Have you ever been to a timeshare presentation??)
4. Too many options and too much information.
We are often so excited about our product or services that we overwhelm people with too many options and so much information that the people we meet with want to do more research before committing to anything.
5. Asking for the sale.
I think this was the biggest a-ha moment for me… I was so used to doing the educating and having the sales rep doing the selling that I would just teach and teach but I would never sell!
When I realized that with just a few simple techniques I could completely transform my essential oil business… I jumped in and have not looked back since!
If you’d like to watch the recording of this webinar it is still available below and I’d love to share it with you! Nurses can be super successful at sales, we just need to learn a few simple skills and we can take off!