How to increase sales? It’s the question that’s on every entrepreneur’s lips almost constantly. And when a business is in its start-up phase the question is even more prevalent.
You’ll have identified a need for your product or service while creating your business plan and you should also have a good idea of the customers you need to target. But selling doesn’t come naturally to every new business owner, and finding a technique that works for you and for your business is key.
Marketing is a big help when it comes to aiding your sales. Your marketing strategy will help you to channel your energies into the right areas and to funnel customers towards you. Once you have your customer in front of you though it’s a good idea to have a plan on how to sell to them – to convert their interest into a sale.
As well as developing a sales technique that you’re comfortable with (you may not like to use pushy sales tactics or you may feel a soft sell is just not effective) you need to be able to read the people you’re selling to and to work out just how far you can push them.
While you were creating your business plan and your marketing strategy you will have done some work on profiling your target audience and you can use this, to a degree, to understand why they need your product or service and how they may react to it. But everyone is different and you’ll need to tailor your approach depending on the customer in the room.
Here are some tips to help you do just that:
Warm them up
Finding those ‘warmed up’ prospects is a great place to start and once again your marketing will help with this. Whether they’ve seen or heard some advertising about your business, or if they’ve been recommended by a friend, a prospect with a little knowledge and interest is far easier to sell to.
Make it a dialogue
When selling to your prospects never let the conversation be just one way – simply a sales pitch. Instead, discreetly ask leading questions about your customer’s lifestyle and let them see your enthusiasm for how your product or service could help them. You’ll learn from them as you go.
Developing your sales dialogue into a customer relationship is a natural step. Finding out just a few personal details and remembering them, for future conversations, can go a long way to ensuring your customer returns for more and recommends you to friends and acquaintances.
Every time you speak with a customer or prospect it’s a good idea to record any information about them you may have learned. Storing this in a database will allow you to easily bring this to mind during your next conversation and to contact the customer at better times for them.
Make it an experience
If you can, allow your prospect to actually experience your product or service – this may be through offering a tester or a try before you buy offering. Do bear in mind the cost to acquire your customer though, and if this outweighs your profit then a free trial may not be suitable for your business.
Build your brand
Remember that every time you are in front of a prospect or customer you have an invaluable opportunity to build your brand. Make sure you keep the ideals and values you have in mind for your business at the top of your mind, each time enhancing your customer’s perception of your company.
Your business – Your way
Whether you’re selling your products or services, or if you’re selling your business to potential investors, it’s important to remember that one of the key things that differentiates your business from the competition is your distinct style. You are the greatest advocate and believer in your business and your enthusiasm for it will inspire others.
Key things to remember in your sales dialogue include:
- Don’t stretch the truth or lie about your product or service.
- Understand when the time is right for your customer.
- Know your product or service and the benefits that they will deliver.
- Don’t use jargon or technical speak – be led by your customer on their understanding.
- Listen to your customer and understand their objections before responding positively to them.
- Negotiate but remember it shouldn’t just be about price – add value in other ways too.