Selling is one of the most important functions of your business. But it is getting more difficult with the myriad of options available and customers becoming more sophisticated.
There are numerous articles on sales and lots of new research being published (see Hot New Tips to Boosting Sales ) on how to improve your tactics. But what is right for you?
Sales today is changing and you need to change along with it. Here are some easy and simple strategies for successful sales to making you a highly successful sales professional.
Selling today is a Partnership
A good way to think of successful selling is like a journey on which you are leading your customer. If the customer does not understand where you are headed and why she should come along, she will either choose not to take the trip, or wander off in a different direction midway through.
All you have to do is get her excited about the destination, tell her all the beautiful things she will see along the way, and answer any questions she has so she feels safe and can enjoy the route.
It is important to remember that to be successful in sales, you don’t close a sale you “open” a relationship. And the key to that relationship is effective communication.
- It’s all about them—focus on their wants and needs
- Make a compelling statement that will grab their attention
- What you say means nothing; what the customer believes is everything
- Don’t just sell – educate
- Establish regular communication strategies
Implement These 7 Simple Strategies
Successful sales should be easy when you have the right product for the right customer. Here are seven “make it happen” steps to making sales an easy process:
- Cut to the Chase
Start talking about your product right away and tell how you solve their problem. You need to understand what stands between your customers and their goals in order for you to quantify your value. Whether it’s online on on-site, no one wants to listen to lots of fluff and filler. Just tell them what they need to know.
- Skip the Jargon
Find a simple way to explain your product so anyone can follow. Customers don’t want to need an explanation—they want to understand right away. And many people are too embarrassed to ask for a clarification—so they won’t. It can cost you a sale.
- Paint a Picture
Learn how to describe your product in a way that anyone who has never used it can imagine what it is and how it is a solution to their problem. This is even more important if they didn’t know it was a problem.
- Get Curious
Concentrate on finding out about the customer instead of making your pitch. Ask open ended questions such as “What frustrates you with…” The answer to this question should lay out the path where you can show them how you provide the solution.
- Make it Matter
Your product may have lots of benefits, but are worthless if customer doesn’t need it or is not interested in them. Learn to reframe those product benefits so the customer in front of you understands the direct impact it could have on their world.
- Follow Up
In today’s ocean of noisy communication, it takes more than one contact to gain someone’s attention. It normally takes anywhere from six to twelve contacts to obtain engagement.
- Have a Closing Strategy and Fallback Position
Your primary closing strategy is based on the main objective of the meeting—a follow-up meeting, demo or negotiate final purchase terms. Your fallback position are specific alternatives you have prepared ahead of time in case your customer rejects your primary close strategy.
Remember to ask for their business!
And make sure that you have a Unique Selling Proposition to answer the question “why should they buy from you.”
Why Follow-Up is So Important
As stated previously, it takes numerous contacts with a prospective customer before they engage with you. Here are some important sales statistics from the National Sales Executive Association that you may find eye-opening:
- 48% of sales people never follow up with a prospect
- 25% of sales people make a second contact and stop
- 12% of sales people only make three contacts and stop
- Only 18% of sales people make more than three contacts
Even more importantly their research also has shown what makes for a successful sales strategy:
- 2% of sales are made on the first contact
- 3% of sales are made on the second contact
- 5% of sales are made on the third contact
- 10% of sales are made on the fourth contact
- 88% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact
Focus Selling on Retention and Revival
Many articles on selling tend to focus on obtaining new customers. Yet there is so much potential sitting in your client base. Research has shown that retaining just 5% of your customers can add from 25% to 90% to your profits, depending on the industry you are in. Just as important, it takes from 7 to 10 times more resources to bring in a new client than it takes to maintain a customer.
So focus on bringing back the “lost sheep” in your customer database. It is the low hanging fruit that many just let rot on the vine.
25% to 60% of dormant clients will be receptive to your attempts to regenerate their business. Use your selling strategies to approach each of your former clients with the right products/services. This is where a Customer Segmentation Analysis can be a real help.
A Customer Segmentation Analysis is the practice of dividing a customer base into groups of individuals or businesses that are similar in specific ways relevant to marketing. For example:
- Market – Manufacturing, technology, business services
- Location – local, regional, national, international
- Age – Baby Boomers, Millennials
- Gender – Female, male
Once your clients are divided into groups, you will then list the products and services that were purchased by each of your customers. This will show you what products and services are needed by each specific group and how well you are cross-selling and up-selling. It will also provide you with information on the issues that each particular group is dealing with and how you can approach both new and old clients.
The way consumers make buying decisions seems to be constantly changing, so it is important that you continually reevaluate your approach to selling with your staff. But if you follow these effective approaches you will find that you will be closing your sales—and opening more relationships—faster and more successfully.
Diane Weklar, the Authority on Accelerating Business Growth, is the CEO of the Weklar Business Institute. She is the author of the award winning book, Mastering the Money Maze: 10 Secrets to Winning Business Financing,which is also an Amazon #1 Best Seller. This book provides practical insight to build a successful business and the practical steps to raise capital to help your firm grow. She can be reached at Diane@Weklar.com.