Sales is the lifeblood of any organization. You don’t have to like it, but sales is one of the essential skills and actions entrepreneurs need to have successful ventures. While a lot of people shy away from sales, we wanted to ask some entrepreneurs and business owners for their tips or advice when it comes to sales.
#1 – How many times we step into the Batter Box
I tell every salesperson that we can only adjust our batting average up slightly. What we can adjust tremendously, however, is how many times we step into the batters box. In sales, the more people you call, the more likely that you’ll make a sale.
Thanks to Bob Bentz, Advanced Telecom
#2 – Be Totally Prepared
One of my best sales tips is to be totally prepared for the call or meeting. That means doing my homework and reviewing their website including press page, social media, google standings, etc. Really review this too and if there are videos, listen to them. You want to connect with that potential client and that’s the best way to do so. Also, review what they might need.I do PR and marketing and coaching, so I’ll review what their marketing or coaching needs might be, then I write down exact ways I feel I can help. I normally have this all written out prior to the call. I will bullet point items so I can easily review while speaking with them and not sound distracted. During the call, I make sure not only to let them know this information, but truly listen as well. And finally, I let my personality shine though. I want them to know that working with me will be productive and awesome, but also fun as well.
Thanks to Diana Ennen, Virtual Word Publishing
#3 – Be Bold
Whatever you say in a pitch to a non-decision maker will be diluted so much that it will barely resemble your presentation once it reaches the top. Be bold and ask for the CEO, you’ll be surprised how often you can get them on the phone! Most people are afraid to ask for the boss, so if you do get them on the phone, they’re usually far worse at getting you off it than, say, their Marketing Director who gets calls like this all the time. Being able to reel off your well-honed sales pitch to one CEO a week is better than pitching 100 marketing assistants a day. After all, they have the final say! ….Oh, and don’t be afraid of speaking to the CEO either – what’s the worst that can happen? They hang up on you? Big deal!
Thanks to Pascal Culverhouse, The Electric Tobacconist Ltd
#4 – Meeting Customer Needs
Selling is all about meeting customer needs. The more you know about your customer and his or her needs at the beginning of the sales process, the better you’ll meet those needs. My best selling comes when I’ve thought deeply about my customer’s needs. I craft a repeatable process to guide them through discovering which of my products best meet their needs. It’s a time-tested adage in sales that you have one mouth and two ears for a reason. Use your listening powers to discover your customer’s motivation; the stuff that lies behind their words. Near the end of the sales process, create a low-pressure closing path that allows the customer to cross the threshold and make the right decision about their purchase. Don’t be afraid to wave off if you know the product isn’t right for the customer. It’s better for your business, in the long run, to meet people’s need authentically than to make a quick buck today.
Thanks to Andrew Shinn, The Craft of Entrepreneurship
#5 – Ask Yourself How You Did
The best preparation for making sales calls is making sales calls. After every call, no matter how well you did-whether got the door figuratively closed in face or you closed a million dollar deal-ask yourself how you could have done it better. Get just a little bit better at making calls every time you make a call, and how can you not become incredibly successful.
Thanks to Barry Maher, Barry Maher & Associates
#6 – Consultation
Having spent much of the last ten years pitching to potential customers, established accounts and advertising agencies, I can safely say that the biggest mistake a salesperson can make is to do all the talking. I think the term ‘pitch’ makes salespeople feel like they should talk at their audience. Too many sales professionals will enter a boardroom or meeting room, plug in a laptop and bore the room with a Powerpoint or baffle their audience with a swirly Prezi presentation. I’ve seen it happen more times than I care to remember as I watch a junior salesperson lose their audience to thoughts of what to have for dinner, what to watch on TV later, etc. By far the most effective pitches start as a consultation whereby the salesperson gets the potential customer talking about their needs, challenges, what’s worked well, what hasn’t worked so well in the past. Only after they feel listened to and consulted will your audience truly listen to what you have to say, and only if they feel it is relevant to them. This is not the salesperson’s cue to fire up aforementioned Powerpoint and ramble through it. Only talk about the things that will be of interest to this individual customer. You can then agree next-steps, outcomes and timelines knowing that you have much greater buy-in.
Thanks to James Rice, Wikijob
#7 – Embrace the word “Selling”
We need to remove the stigma that we associate with the word “selling.” People don’t naturally fix small problems; they fix big ones, and that can scenario can create tragic results. When we learn to stop telling our clients what they need to do, and learn how to ask questions that allow us to better understand the challenges that fear of change has kept these clients from addressing on their own, we *earn the right* to offer solutions. Ask questions and listen, and you’ll earn trust. Study the problem and not the solution, and you’ll create urgency. Help others past their fear of change and you’ll save businesses. If you can do that you and your client will also embrace the word “selling.
Thanks to Robert Jolles, Jolles Associates, Inc.
#8 – Clearly Define your Sales Goals
It is important to clearly define your sales goals and make strides toward them as you grow your business. My first tip is to know your audience. Clients know what they want, where their pain points are and don’t need you to “convince them otherwise”. Many people make the mistake of pushing and overselling without understanding the true need of the client. They are looking for you to cure a problem they may be experiencing, not overpower them with bright, colorful brochures. My second tip is to take initiative and to show them you are willing and able to do things that are not particularly your responsibility. They want a vendor to take ownership of situations that come up and put fires out with minimal interruption to their day-to-day business.
Thanks to Darren Williams, Anago of Washington DC