Marie Rodgers – Change Your Approach To Sales To Ensure Business Profitability

By Isabelle Giroday

In this interview, Sales Mentor Marie Rodgers explains how coaches and entrepreneurs need to take a new look at sales to effectively ensure the profitability of businesses.

In the current competitive economic climate, 20% of small businesses are closing within their first year. Business Insider claims that figure rises to 44% within the first four years of operation. Marie says that these alarmingly high rates can be turned around with a new, disruptive approach to sales

I spoke with Marie recently to learn more about how her clients get their sales of fire.

Isabelle Giroday: How did you find this new successful approach to sales?

Marie Rodgers: When I started working in sales, I began by looking at what people were doing, looking at the offer, which was advertising at the time, and I thought “it has to be done my way.” So I did things a little bit differently and I realized very quickly that sales isn’t about selling, sales is literally being able to ask really good questions and help people realize where the gaps are and what they need to do to fill them and actually present the product or service in such a way that people understand why they need it.

Once I had that self-realization my sales really took off, but in a way where people were really happy with what they bought. I just became really easy to buy from. 

It was a win/ win situation and I went on then to teach that and that is what I’ve done consistently over the last 27 years.

Seven years ago, I started my own business and created actual campaigns that have produced over £28 million of the sales from my clients.

And then I came online and I did the exact same thing. I don’t teach people how to sell because that’s with your own agenda, I teach people how to be really easy to say yes to, so that sales happen as a result of that. 

What I do offline and online is disrupting from what everybody else is doing but it’s getting results a lot quicker and a lot easier for people who are going, “Oh my God I don’t have to sell.” 

Isabelle Giroday: What are the common problems that you help your clients with?

Marie Rodgers: The number one problem is fear. Fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of looking stupid, fear of not delivering, fear of undercharging, fear of not knowing what you are doing. That fear then creates a set of beliefs, well actually it’s a bit of a chicken and an egg situation, does the fear come first or does the confirmation bias come first?

Now I’ll explain what I mean by this because again we all suffer from it in different areas of our life. But when you have a coaching business, fear of sales can literally kill your business, it’s too dangerous to have.

A confirmation bias is where you have an opinion and that opinion could be anything “I hate flying” or “I don’t like spiders” or “I’m no good at this” or “I’m no good at that,” “I’m no good at sales,” “I don’t want to be a salesperson,” so you form an opinion for whatever reason, then you create a list of justifications around that opinion, so I’m no good at sales and the reason for that is that maybe, I don’t want to be salesy, I don’t want to be pushy, I don’t want to be manipulative.

So you create all these beliefs about it and then what you do is you actually spend time gathering the evidence to support this opinion and this belief system that you have created and every time you get another setback, you are like “see, I told you,” and what you are actually doing is you are creating all these barriers and sales limiting beliefs that are literally stopping you.

You want people saying yes to you consistently but you have convinced yourself that you don’t want to sell, there is a disconnect there, between what you want to achieve and you can’t do.

Isabelle Giroday: So how do you help your clients?

Marie Rodgers: I have a Client Conversion System that I have kept on improving over the last 27 years. There are 7 steps to my system and I have found that, even in some of the most professional sales teams I have worked with, there are 3 steps that tend to be missing. I will go through the 7 steps very quickly and point out the ones that are missing.

So, the first step is to connect, we are pretty good at connecting.

But the second step is lead, and leading a conversation doesn’t mean that you have your own agenda, it’s about guiding people to a decision and I find that well over 90% of people don’t know how to confidently lead a conversation and it can feel awkward.

The third step is about what people are struggling with and the fourth is where they want to be, the desired reality. 

Then there is the urgency, is now the right time to buy? That’s also something that people don’t take into account. 

After you cover time-frame, you then must know how you present your offers and how to do it in an irresistible way.

But even at that point there are 3 possible outcomes, there is yes, there is no and there is not now.

Out of all of the seven steps, the one that I feel is really missing a lot of the time is nurturing people, you nurture people even if they are a yes because you want them to be happy and satisfied and potentially buy from you again and even nurture some of the no’s in some way because who knows what will happen.

The ones are not ready but have been interested in what you offer you need to keep them close, you need to make sure that they think of you when maybe a crisis happens or they are just ready for a change and they don’t go elsewhere.

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Isabelle Giroday

A long time international journalist (Knight Ridder Financial News/Reuters), Isabelle Giroday is a contributor for the Huffington Post, Small Business Trendsetters, CNN iReport, USA Today and Talk Show Host at Business Innovators Radio. With over 15 years of helping businesses with communication and PR, she is an educator and advocate for women entrepreneurs.