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Photo Credit: Ryan O'Connell

Entrepreneurs and Business Owners Divulge Their Best Sales Tips – Even Without the Secret Password

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The arena of sales can be a tricky place if you’re a newcomer to the game. Knowing which advice to trust and which will give you a leg up in the market is what every entrepreneur is searching for. Of course, knowing your client and their needs is a huge focus for any sale, but there are also some extra tips which might help to make or break that sale you’ve been hounding for a while. Below are some collected samples from entrepreneurs and business owners on what their best sales tips are.

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Photo Credit: Daniel Offer

Photo Credit: Daniel Offer

Monkey see, monkey do

Over the years I’ve worked in high street electronic sales, wholesale distribution and in the promotion of internet businesses and the best tip I have is actually probably the simplest. In game theory they call the strategy “monkey see, money do” however complicated this may seem the strategy suggest that you should copy your competitors (i.e. the best) before you start to innovate. Copying what seems to work is a lot less risky a strategy than innovating straight away. By copying you are able to identify what works, and then further improve by split testing to optimize what is working and what is not.

Thanks to Daniel Offer, Facebook Cover Maker

 

Photo Credit: Jenny Finke

Photo Credit: Jenny Finke

Just listen

My best sales tip is to LISTEN. Often we go to a meeting with a prospect and tell them everything we know to show them how smart and talented we are. But we do this without truly understanding what they even want. Ask lots of questions, listen to what they have to say, and run some thoughts by them to get their reaction before giving them any information about your business and how you think you can help them (or not!). Remember, those who listen carefully to what their prospects say will be able to formulate the best recommendations and likely get the job!

Thanks to Jenny Finke, Red Jeweled Media

Related Post: What Makes Up a Great Salesperson?

 

Photo Credit: Ryan O'Connell

Photo Credit: Ryan O’Connell

Don’t fake it

Don’t be fake or make up ways to relate to a potential client or lead. If you are genuine and try to connect without forcing a relationship or common ground, you will gain more respect from a potential client. The goal should be to gain trust and credibility, not fake it.

Thanks to Ryan O’Connell, Digital Talent Agents

 

 

Photo Credit: James Chitty

Photo Credit: James Chitty

Availability, Accountability & Effort

Availability, Accountability & Effort, AAE. This is a motto I came up with a few years back and have been preaching ever since. Availability- You can’t make a sale if you aren’t available to answer the phone or respond to that late night email from a prospective client. My business is 24/7 and often clients call in the middle of the night, if I answer the phone I am already one step ahead of the competition. Accountability- I always tell my clients to judge me when the something goes wrong. I am in a business in which many things like weather are out of my control, its how I react when the odds are stacked against me that show my true worth and keep clients coming back. Effort- No one will out work me, my clients know I will turn over every stone to ensure they are receiving the most efficient options for each scenario. It is that effort that separates’ me from my competitors.

Thanks to James Chitty, PlaneClear LLC

 

Photo Credit: Jeremy Irvine

Photo Credit: Jeremy Irvine

Keep it simple

As a business owner and consultant, the thing I have learned very quickly is to keep things simple in sales. Be prepared, do your homework and research your potential client; know their brand because by empathising and understanding, your chance of building rapport with them increases. Secondly, listen to them – and watch their non-verbal cues. Have them talk about their needs, their expectations and themselves – guide the conversation but be prepared to listen actively and engage positively. Thirdly – don’t make it about you and the sale – make the whole thing about them and their needs.

Thanks to Jeremy Irvine, Harris Irvine Media P/L

 

Photo Credit: Julie Ashton

Photo Credit: Julie Ashton

Always follow up

The key to successful sales conversions is to follow up, follow up and then follow up. If you make a promise to do something for a customer, make sure you do it and exceed their expectations as well. For example, if you said you would call them by 4, then call by 3. The ‘polite resistance breaks down resistance’ approach is a great mantra when following up on sales leads.

Thanks to Julie Ashton, Dynamic Business Academy

 

Photo Credit: Tegan DeClark

Photo Credit: Tegan DeClark

Be authentic

Every business had a degree of sales, regardless of industry, product or service. There is a certain amount of skill and knowledge which make a great salesperson, but the most valuable is being genuine. I learnt that being authentically me when speaking and negotiating with clients, customers and people I have contact with is about being transparent, honest and natural in business. Authenticity is actually something which has to be natural to be effective, this comes with having to control and channel your emotions and opinions, but authenticity is drawn from within using your unique qualities and personality. Any salesperson who is pretending to be interested, knowledgeable or empathetic come across instead as untrustworthy, lacking confidence, or otherwise unreliable. Body language is naturally synonymous with your speech when you are authentic, which goes a long way so client know they can trust you and what you are telling them.

Thanks to Tegan DeClark, Ray White Toowoomba

Related Post: What Does Being an Entrepreneur Mean to You?

 

Photo Credit: Danny Lenartic

Photo Credit: Danny Lenartic

Always arrange a second meeting during the first

Always ask for the sale or arrange the second appointment during the first. You are then in a position to talk about next steps, workout how serious the prospect is, address any other concerns (in the first meeting), gauge the level of commitment and find out if the person you are talking to is the key decision maker. Commitment is key – I used to walk away from a meeting without asking the prospect to follow through on something for me and then call them back in a week and they couldn’t even recall the conversation. Now everyone knows why I’m calling and if they choose to ignore me – I know they are not serious, if they do engage then I know I’m well ahead.

Thanks to Danny Lenartic, Sussex Media

 

Photo Credit: Frances Pratt

Photo Credit: Frances Pratt

Remember to pick up the phone

Want to know what your customers really think about you? Ask them! One of the biggest mistakes that non-sales people make is forgetting to pick up the phone and touch base with prospective or existing customers. They want to hear from you, and if you ask, they are normally very happy to tell you their thoughts on what they like about your business and areas for improvement. There are so many reasons that they may not have called you …. but you won’t find out what it is unless you speak with them. If you make this behaviour part of ‘what you do’ you will have much better understanding of what your clients want and that makes it more likely you will be able to connect what you do with what they want …. and that is when people want to buy from you. Often people will email and wait for a response. It is so much more powerful to speak with them and there are logical reasons for this. 1. In verbal communication more than 80% of what people hear and remember from the conversation is in your tone and implied attitude. So that’s less than 20% in the actual words that you use. So much easier to get your point across and also to understand where the other person is coming from. 2. When you have a conversation, you get to ask questions and listen to what the other person has to say. In this way you can actually answer questions that they have or correct misconceptions. You can get to an agreement much more quickly and easily than playing email tennis. But more importantly there are emotive reasons for this: 1. When you make the effort to pick up the phone, it says to the other person that you care enough to do that. They feel better than receiving an email from you. 2. In the tone and attitude you can learn about the other person and also help them learn about you and how you feel about what you are talking about. So … if you need to sort something out and want to really understand what the other person wants or where they are coming from don’t email, speak with them!

Thanks to Frances Pratt, KISS to Sell

Related Post: Don’t Just Sit There. Go For It!

 

Photo Credit: Rick Reynolds

Photo Credit: Rick Reynolds

Don’t make assumptions

Sherlock Holmes once told Watson, “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.” The same rule applies to sales. It is easy to assume that you know what your customers want; uncovering the truth requires much more effort. However, the return on investment is worth the effort. Don’t let your own biases and assumptions stand in the way of your next sale. Fully understanding a prospect’s needs is only possible when you remove all of your own biases and assumptions and come to the table with an open mind instead of a pre-packaged solution.

Thanks to Rick Reynolds, AskForensics

 

Photo Credit: Shawn Greene

Photo Credit: Shawn Greene

Prepare and ask questions

You hear that the prospect should do most of the talking, that you should uncover pain, offer solutions, be needs-focused… How do you do all of that? By preparing and asking questions. Create questions that can help you uncover information pointing to a fit between what prospects want and need and what you offer. Put them in a logical order so this part of the sales conversation flows well. Bring the cheat sheet with you (prospects won’t mind). Begin higher-level questions with phrases like, “Tell me about…” and “Walk me through…” This encourages prospects to talk even more fully. Since you’re prepared and are asking questions, the prospect is not only doing more of the talking, you’re also demonstrating a positive consultative approach.

Thanks to Shawn Greene, Savage and Greene

 

Photo Credit: Aisha Singleton

Photo Credit: Aisha Singleton

Focus on the mutually beneficial relationship

Focus more on a mutually-beneficial relationship with your potential client than the money they will bring in. Think about their short-term needs and long-term goals and assess how you can assist them achieve what they want to achieve while partnering with you. I am a firm believer in the old-school ideology that your word is your bond and business is sealed with a (now proverbial) handshake. I don’t see it as “getting something”, I see my clients as people with whom I am in a professional relationship, and like any relationship, mutual-respect, and carrying your own weight is key.

Thanks to Brenda Della Casa, I Am Staggered

Related Post: How to Land Your First Client

 

Photo Credit: Jayme Self

Photo Credit: Jayme Self

It’s not about your product, it’s about what they need

Nobody wants to hear you talk about whatever want to sell, no matter how exciting YOU think it is. However, everybody wants their problems solved. A great sales strategy is all about talking to the client about how you will solve their problem – the benefit itself, not what fancy features you have. If you don’t spend the time to understand their need, whatever you’re talking about will be irrelevant, and you’ll just come off as an annoying, stereotype salesperson. A great salesperson doesn’t make the client feel like they’re being “sold” – they just tell the client how they will fix their problem… and here is where you sign.

Thanks to Jayme Self, English Edits

 

Photo Credit: Matthew Jones

Photo Credit: Matthew Jones

Go out and try

My best sales tip, especially for new entrepreneurs is to actually go out and try to make a sale! I know this sounds really basic, but you’d be amazed at how many people struggle with this. At the end of the day every market is different and the psychology of every type of customer is different. Research is good, but nothing beats experience. Go out, try to sell something, fail, figure out what went wrong, then try again. Eventually you’ll hit your stride! It’s a lot better than sitting at home obsessing over what your customer MIGHT be thinking…

Thanks to Matthew Jones, ShizDiz DJ

 

Photo Credit: Jason Hawkins

Photo Credit: Jason Hawkins

Passion matters

In our business, I speak with many business owners face to face. While we are capable of selling by phone, there is a unique advantage of selling face to face. Due to our sales process, we have closed over 85% of our appointments, and have been offered numerous positions by the CEO/President during the process. How are we capable of producing such great numbers? *Pure conviction.* If your struggling in sales, and do not absolutely love/believe in what you are selling – your prospect will know it. This will directly impact your closing ratio. When we speak, it is with enthusiasm, we share our verifiable & current accomplishments, we go into the future of our industry and why it matters to choose a company that works not only for today, but also for tomorrow, and are extremely realistic with all prospects. Our business model is extremely favorable because we identified in our industry, many clients are a number. Our well-known references *rave* about our services and this, without a doubt, helps seal the deal when references are checked. They know we are hungry. They know we are not the cheapest. Yet they choose us, I believe due to the positive energy we bring, conviction, and real world results we provide on a daily basis to many business owners throughout the country.

Thanks to Jason Hawkins, No Risk SEO

 

About Gresham Harkless Jr.

Gresham Harkless is a Media Consultant for Blue 16 Media and the Blogger-in-Chief for CEO Blog Nation. CEO Blog Nation is a community of blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners. Started in much the same way as most small businesses, CEO Blog Nation captures the essence of entrepreneurship by allowing entrepreneurs and business owners to have a voice. CEO Blog Nation provides news, information, events and even startup business tips for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners to succeed.
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