Whether you like it or not, if you are running a small business, you’ll need to get your hands dirty and drive new business growth. Selling instils a fear in even the most hardened and experienced professionals (and take it from me, even experienced sales people have a fear which is hard to overcome).
In my 25 years of Sales & Marketing experience either selling my own wares or those of my employer, I’ve learned to keep things simple. Read below for 5 really simple tips to increase sales outcomes
1. NEVER EVER MAKE A COLD CONTACT
Know who you are calling and something about them. With LinkedIn and Social media, everyone has something written about them online so there is no reason for a cold introduction. To be able to connect the prospect with something you might have in common will instantly build a connection which increases the chance to move through the conversation easier.
For example, “Hi, this is Stu from Social Seedling. I was hoping to chat about your social media strategy, but before I do, I noticed you recently ran in the Melbourne Marathon…how was it running into the MCG”.
2. Respect them and their time
Whenever I speak with someone for the first time, I will always ASK if the time is OK and THANK them for their time. By asking if it’s a good time, they have the choice to agree or decline. If they decline, you simply confirm ‘absolutely, I’ll give you a call tomorrow if that’s suitable’. And then diarise and make sure you do. That shows organization, commitment and respect.
3. Structure the sales conversation
At the time of discussing your offering with the prospect, having an agenda will ensure you stick to the path. Introduce your agenda so there are no surprises. The person is EXPECTING you will sell something to them but by walking them through a process which is mutually agreeable will increase their comfort levels and ensure you address all topics.
For example, “thanks for your time this morning. Jan, I’d like to take a few minutes to ask you about your current situation, things you like, things you might like to change so the content is highly relevant. Is that OK?”
4. Perfect World
Identifying the one thing that frustrates your prospect about their current supplier / product is enough to open the opportunity to see them buy from you. The best way to get to this point is to ask ‘if there was one thing you’d like to see with your current provider, what would it be’. The ‘perfect world’ scenario will usually identify a pain point.
The part most people avoid. Ask for their business. They expect you to. You want the business. You have to ask for it. But ask in a way which shows your commitment to improving their situation. For example, ‘if I can help you with ABC issue, is there any reason why you wouldn’t partner with our business?’. When they say yes, it’s a forgone conclusion and if they say no, then there’s a reason they aren’t ready. So ask some more questions.
A ‘NO’ is simply an indicator that there’s more to discuss so welcome the ‘no’ and prepare for the ‘YES’!