Crash Course in Sales Tactics for Small Business Owners
The reality of owning a small business is this: whatever inspired you to start your company, it is unlikely that it was sales. Instead, you likely had a passion for a product or a service, but without the support of a large sales team, a lot of the sales pressure is going to fall on you. It’s easy to be intimidated by this, but you shouldn’t be. Instead, you should realize that as the owner of a small business, nobody who only has experience in sales is going to be more qualified to sell your products or services than you are.
People often bring themselves down, listing the characteristics or perceived personality flaws that they think makes them less qualified to sell their products or services. It’s time to bust out of that mindset, and instead consider the strengths and techniques that can make you your brands most valuable advocate.
- Don’t waste time with less than ideal customers. The mistake made by many sales people who are just learning is that they want to go after every fish in the sea. This is a mistake. Instead, you need to identify what type of customer is your product or service truly right for, and which ones of those are most likely to make a purchase. These are the people you need to be targeting. Create lists of these highly eligible sales targets, and be sure to use a CRM system of some kind to track all of your contacts with them. This is the way to start figuring out the patterns and trends in your industry, and who to target with your sales pitches. It may seem counterintuitive to spend more time selling to fewer, instead of more prospects, but in the long run it is going to yield much better results.
- Be all knowing. No one starts their own business in order to sell people products or services that aren’t valuable. They do it because they believe in what they are making or doing, and you need to channel that belief into your sales pitches. Find ways to articulate every benefit of your products and services, and stop worrying about closing every sale. Instead, take on the role of an educator, letting prospects know exactly how what you’re offering could improve their lives or businesses. This is the way to get people truly interested in your brand.
- Create listening opportunities. The biggest rookie sales mistake is spending your entire conversation talking. This is colossally unhelpful, and instead, you need to find ways to turn the conversation around so you can listen to your customers instead. Practice crafting questions that invite your prospects to tell you more about their business, and encourage them to talk to you about yours. The more you can turn any sales exchange into a conversation, rather than a pitch, the better it is for your business.
- Expect the unexpected. The longer you sell and interact with customers, the more accustomed you will become to unexpected questions that take the conversation in unpredictable directions. Get used to these lines of inquiry, and even practice with your staff, friends or family to prepare for any unexpected questions that might get thrown your way. The more adaptable you are, and the readier you can be for these types of unexpected detours, the better your sales talks will go.
- Be ready to close at any time. You don’t ever want to put yourself in a position where a customer is ready to make a purchase and you’re unable to put their purchase through immediately. Being able to take mobile payments in various forms is a great way to assure that as soon as you agree on a price and product, money can exchange hands and the deal can be closed for good.
- Broaden your horizons. We all have our interests and hobbies in life, but the truth is that your prospects interests and hobbies have to be important to you to. Being able to make small talk and to communicate about the things that interest your customers is a critical sales tool. Start reading webpages, listening to news, and following stories in areas that you normally wouldn’t follow in order to give yourself a broader knowledge base and comfort zone for discussing a wide variety of topics.
- Always have a goal. “Having a sales conversation”, is not a good enough goal for when you contact a prospect. You need to set specific, actionable goals for each and every sales call to keep you on target and focussed. For instance, your goal might be “find out who is the current provider the prospect uses”. This gives you a clear piece of information to pursue and will keep you always moving towards the ultimate goal: making the sale.
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