Persian immigrant Javaneh Hammet has made her mark in her new home of Nashville by creating a line of American hummus.
In the ten years since she graduated from business school, Hummus Chick founder Javaneh Hemmat has sold everything from insurance to her brand of hummus. Her theory of sales, she says, is that “sales is really about buying an emotion. It’s really not about the product; it’s about how it makes you feel. You’ve bought more things from people you like than people you really didn’t care for. At the end of the day there are not enough scripts to follow to sell something; it really takes that human and unique quality to connect with a client and to find out what exactly are their needs and how can you meet them.”
Here are Hemmat’s Top 10 tips for creating a successful business.
1. Grow Your Prospect List by Networking. I got started by selling my hummus at a local farmer’s market. The farmers market experience wasn’t just selling, but meeting and learning from other vendors who have more experience and who either know people that know people who have stores.Somebody always knows somebody!
2. Always Make An Appointment. Show your prospects courtesy and respect their time. This way they’ll know who you are; they’ll expect you and will make time for your presentation.
3. Bring Samples. This is especially important in the food business. It makes your sales call an event for the customer’s entire team if there are product samples to try.
4. Be Thoroughly Prepared. I like to set up appointments two or three days in advance to make sure I’m prepared.
5. Stress the Uniqueness of Your Product. The newness or uniqueness of your product is what grabs the attention of the end user. Remember, retailers and shoppers have a lot in common. The retailer wants to have something that makes their shoppers excited about coming back.
6. Pitch Your Value Proposition. Understanding what the customer needs is more important than having a script. Most of the prospects that I visit already have my farmer’s market customers going to their stores. So I highlight the value that Hummus Chick products can bring to them in extra traffic, even though it’s a small brand. That one extra customer or three extra customers a week pushes the products off the shelves.
My sales strategy is not to be pushy because I’ve learned that pushiness eventually creates resentment.
7. Ask for Their Business.
8. Don’t worry about rejections or objections. My sales strategy is not to be pushy because I’ve learned that pushiness eventually creates resentment. I’ve had some store owners who initially said no and later came around. What is the psychology of seeking the approval of somebody that’s rejected you? Not just from a personal standpoint but a business standpoint. When somebody rejects me, I’m thinking, there are 100,000 other stores I can approach. Why am I focusing on just this one?
9. Cultivate Your Current Customers. Focus your energy on the yeses rather than on one small rejection. Ask yourself; are you spending enough time with the customers you already have?
10. Be Patient. I try very hard to pace myself and understand the next step versus the three steps ahead. It’s so exciting to have a new business; you have all these goals and you want to reach as fast as you can, but the truth is, it will fizzle if you don’t take your time. Plan for tomorrow, but take action right now, and go to the next step.