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 asked some entrepreneurs and business owners for their tips or advice when it comes to sales.
#1- Always remember to serve not sell
We have thousands of clients across the United States and every time I have started a sales call, I always think, serve this person first and the sale will come later. The worst thing you can do is focus on the selling itself and try and use canned lines and closing tricks to try and get someone to do what they already want to do, if only you would truly serve their needs first.
Thanks to Gary Cubeta, InsuranceforFinalExpense.com!
#2- Ask personal questions
If you get to know people, you understand what their problem is and how you can help solve their pain. Sometimes that means you don’t sell something to them; you just become a trusted advocate. Once you earn someone’s trust they will come back to you when they do need your help.
Thanks to Elizabeth Chapman, Art Unlimited!
#3- Stay consistent
My #1 sales tip for anyone would be to make sure you stay consistent with a prospect without seeming annoying. Sometimes when a sale doesn’t immediately happen we assume the prospect is not interested, when in fact it means that the prospect may not be ready to buy yet, due to budget constraints, or just bad timing. It helps to use a CRM that reminds you to follow up every week to check in with the prospect.
Thanks to Kamil Faizi, Challenge Coins 4 U!
#4- Listen to the consumer
Listening allows you to understand their needs. The more you understand, the better equipped you are to meet their needs and nurture and engage the lead. When you listen and understand consumer needs, you’re better able to provide other solutions that your company offers which may also include upselling other offerings.
Thanks to Deborah Sweeney, MyCorporation.com!
#5- Respond really fast to new leads
Research shows that between 35-50% of sales go to the first-responding vendor. Furthermore, lead qualification drops 10x if you wait longer than 5 minutes to respond, yet only 7 percent of companies respond within 5 minutes of a form submission. So, response time is crucial for sales! Prioritize timely responses to new leads and you’ll land more sales.
Thanks to Jayson DeMers, EmailAnalytics!
#6- Tell a story
We’ve been telling each other stories since the dawn of time. The reason storytelling is so effective in sales is that stories are a universal language. They trigger a response deep in every human being. In a nutshell: we’re hardwired to hear stories. And that’s why clever sales pages use storytelling. But here’s an important point: the story on your sales page needs to be about your customer, not about your product. When the story is about your customer, it pulls the reader in. All good stories have three key elements: (1) a character, (2) a conflict, (3) and a resolution. And that’s why the story on your sales page needs to touch on these three questions: (1) What does your customer want? (2) What’s stopping her from getting it? (3) What will her life look like when she does (or doesn’t) get it? On your sales page you need to connect with your reader. And the best way to do that is through storytelling.
Thanks to Rob Powell, Rob Powell Biz Blog!
#7- Ask about their biggest dreams/fears
We sell an experience so my #1 sales tip is during our initial discovery call I simply ask the client what is most important to them and what is their biggest dream/fear related to their event. Then I customize my response to alleviate their fear and give confidence we can deliver their dream. It sounds so simple, but you’d be amazed at how many people sell their product or service based on what they think clients need & want to heart instead of just asking what’s important to them and then selling simply that. Remember, if a potential client reaches out the have already demonstrated buying signals and are likely about 60-90% sold on what you offer so the sale is yours to keep or lose depending on if you speak to their needs personally and make it easy for them to say yes.
Thanks to Lee Dyson, Hey Mister Dj!
#8- Pre-qualify, pre-qualify, pre-qualify
All leads should not be treated as a sale. Your primary goal as a salesperson starts by determining if the person has a need, can afford your services, and what challenges they face in the sales process. If you don’t prequalify, you spend a large chunk of your time presenting to people that are not buyers. This leads to frustration and poor performance.
Thanks to Travis Price
#9- Stop trying to get people to say “yes”
Even when you want to say yes, it often feels stilted and forced. It feels dirty. We’re too used to telemarketers following the typical “Getting to the Yes” strategies here they ask us leading questions like “Do you like water?”. Instead, get the speaker to say “No”. Saying “No” gives the speaker the feeling of safety, security, and control. It rolls off the lips. You use a question that prompts a “No” answer, and your counterpart feels that by turning you down, he has proved that he’s in the driver’s seat. This has hundreds of applications in sales. For instance, when you call a client, don’t say – “Is this a good time?” – and force them into a “Yes”. Instead, ask: “Is this a bad time for you?”. The “No” will fly off their tongue. Or just as commonly – you send an email to someone you’re trying to do business with, and they ignore you. Then you send a polite follow-up, and they stonewall you again. So what do you do? You provoke a “No” with this one-sentence email: “Have you given up on this project?”. Watch as the lost-aversion in your client’s mind kicks into gear. Their natural inclination is to reply immediately and disagree: “No, our priorities haven’t changed. We’ve just gotten bogged down and…”. And just like that, email magic.
Thanks to Blake Sutton, Electrical Knowledge!
#10- Always trust in what our customer believes and not in what we say
You can have the best sales presentation in the world, but if the customer is not certain of your proposal, then you don’t stand a chance. You have to take some time to engage with the customers. Ask them sales related questions and let them tell you their perspective and needs. Listen to your customers. Yes, many times they don’t know what their needs are and you’ll have to guide them, but in the end, if they don’t believe it, you don’t have a chance. Other tips include never going into a sales call without knowing how we’re going to close the sale, having a dedicated time set aside either daily or weekly to-do your prospecting, and most importantly showing up on time.
Thanks to Jennifer Wilnechenko, Etia.Com!
#11- Sell yourself first
As I mention in my book, before you sell any product or service you have to sell yourself. People don’t buy from companies, they buy from those they like and trust. You only have a few seconds to make that good impression. Otherwise you’re just another sales rep coming through their door.
Thanks to Chris Castanes
#12-Up-Sales and Down-Sales!
When your customer already decided that he want to buy from you. The easiest way to make more revenue per customer is to make him pay more at the checkout. Give your customer a better “value for money” offer via a discount for buying a higher volume of your product. Same in Down-Sales, if the customer didn’t want your Up-Sale, offer him a Down-Sale (but still, make it higher then
the original offer).
Thanks to James Miller, Photographer Touch!
#13- Ditch the abstract aims
Talk about tangible outcomes and not broad, abstract aims. For example, if you are selling a purse, talk about how it completes certain looks – it is a semi-formal purse that goes well with semi-casual looks and pairs well with dark neutrals colours like black, navy, slate and rich chocolate. When you are talking to a customer, they really will not be interested in vague promises. What they want to know is whether what you are selling will make a difference to them. Will it solve a problem they are likely facing? Is it going to add value to their lives? Orient your pitch along these lines, and you have a better chance of make a successful sale.
Thanks to Avinash Chandra, BrandLoom!
#14-Share case studies
Business is built on trust. And if you compete against much larger businesses, you often don’t have the brand recognition that your well-established competitors do. But there is a way to break through: Customer case studies. When I meet with new clients, I share several 1-page case studies of similar companies that we helped achieve a positive outcome. Rather than a generic list of features and benefits, a case study describes specific details of an engagement and shows the prospect that we’ve helped companies just like theirs. This helps us move more quickly towards a client relationship.
Thanks to Chad Pavel, Pinewood Consulting, LLC!
#15- It’s an inside job
QUESTION?… How do two different sales associates, that sells the same product, at the same price, using the same marketing material, and that retrieve leads from the same source… Get distinguishingly different results? This is what I asked myself when I was working with my mentor. How is it that we both are selling the same exact products, for the same price, but end up with different outcomes? To add fuel to the fire, my mentor split a list of her leads with me. She literally torn the list in half, gave me one-half and she kept the other half. Her results stayed the same, some brought, and others didn’t. My half… No Sales~ That experience explains my #1 Sales Tip…which, without a doubt, will increase Your Sales If You Try IT! …. Selling is an inside Job. And many people, even salespersons don’t like selling. But Guess What?… Your customers instinctively can sense your apprehension. They can smell your fear, insecurities, and undeserving feelings. Hence, you get exactly what you permeate or expect…NOTHING…. No Sale…Zilch… SALES TIP #1…. WORK ON YOURSELF… STRENGTHEN YOUR PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT… AND ALL OTHER ENDEAVORS WILL FALL INTO PLACE!
Thanks to Deborah Pretty, PYTalkBiz.com!
#16- Get the right kind of people on you blog
The right kind are folks that want to buy whatever it is you’re selling. So, determine who your ideal target audience is. And then figure out a way to introduce exactly those people to your business. This is much harder as you’ll be going targeted instead of going broad, but going extremely targeted means that everyone you do get to match with their ideal product is going to buy. In the short run you win as you get some cash flow. In the long run you cement your wins as satisfied customers become your brand’s evangelists, and they do the promotion for you. And this start to bring in new business automatically.
Thanks to Nikola Roza
#17- Two tips
Cross-sell to current customers and up-sell to new customers. Cross-selling and up-selling can generate more sales, increase revenue while maximizing profitability. It’s important to track this on a weekly or fortnightly basis in a relevant CRM.
Thanks to Lennart Meijer, The Other Straw!
#18- One idea/task at a time
When you have a conference call or a meeting you have to be really concise in what you are saying and don’t go into details too much! You have to bring only one idea/task to the potential client at a time. Only one really important task to be done. For example, usually, I communicate with business development teams from the client’s side. They are not interested in hackneyed or recondite pitches at all – for example, they usually don’t care about technical details or technological advantages. They want to know how our product will help them reach their KPIs. So, the major idea to bring to them is to show potential revenues. And to get a pass to the technical departments through them.
Thanks to Ksenia Shirokova, Sarafan Technology!
#19- Solve their problem
My number one sales tip is to show genuineness with customers and clients, and truly work towards their goal and not your own. Your client/customer isn’t a paycheck. You are a problem solver and they have a problem to solve. You sell something they need. Help them solve their problem to the very best of your ability, making it such a great experience that they recommend you to everyone they know. Then, nurture and cultivate that relationship so that they come back when they have another problem for you to solve.
Thanks to Robyn Flint, InsuranceProviders.com!
#20- Strengthen current client relationships
One important aspect of this is checking in with current clients. Ask if their goals have changed since you last spoke and make sure you’re still meeting their needs. This can help reduce the number of clients you lose to competitors. Take the feedback you get from these clients and use it to improve your product or service, which can help you gain new clients and sales. Ask for client testimonials or case studies from your happiest clients, which can go a long way toward getting you new clients as well.
Thanks to Michael Bacon, Moxie Media!
#21- Place yourself in the prospect’s position
More specifically, you need to understand to things from the prospect’s POV: the problem you intend to (or claim to) solve and the solution you are offering, i.e. your own product. Understand where your product is likely to fall short: pricing, after-sales service, payment options, warranty, product range, brand image… Understand things from the prospects’ position. Understand how your product can best serve the prospect. Your sales pitch stands the best chance when you have completed this exercise.
Thanks to Mayank Batavia, QuickEmailVerification!
#22- Be organised
When people talk about sales tips, they make the mistake of focusing on merely the client. With that said, my number one sales tip is making sure everything on your end is adequately organized. One of the most effective tools we use to execute is a daily game plan. This includes our monthly goals (and where we stand relative to them), a list of daily activities, our meetings for the day and a prioritized list of tasks. We start the day by updating our daily game plan, and this guides our activity for the day. By doing so, we’re much more prepared when talking to our clients and our potential ones.
Thanks to Derek Cosgrove, seoplus+!