When you run a small business, you always have a very long list of tasks to complete, whether you have staff working for you or not.
While it may be tempting, then, to put off focusing on the sales process if you’re not a fan of this element of business, you must keep in mind that it is an essential strategy and it can make all the difference between a small business that thrives over the long term, and one that dies.
If you need to boost your venture by concentrating on sales today, read on for some simple, yet effective sales tips for small businesses you can follow.
One of the first things to keep in mind is that salespeople, whether you’re doing this role yourself or have someone to handle it, only have a limited number of hours in the day to interact with current and potential customers. As a result, it is important to prioritize leads so that the available time is spent working on the most promising options; that is, those most likely to convert into a sale.
Inbound leads are those leads that come from a potential customer contacting your business directly to make an inquiry, and they should be focused on first and in most depth. You know that these people are already interested in something your venture sells, so they are more likely to spend money with you than the people you cold call.
In addition, when prioritizing time, don’t be worried about calling your worst leads from your list either. Contrary to what a lot of people think, more leads doesn’t necessarily translate into more sales, because you can end up wasting a lot of time on people who simply aren’t interested in your wares, or who don’t have the funds available to spend money with you even if they are. Get rid of your least-likely-to-convert leads from your list, and you’ll actually free up more time to pursue promising leads instead.
When analyzing leads, keep in mind that you’re more likely to make sales when selling to people (or businesses) who would actually benefit from your core offerings most. By focusing on those who you can try to build a long-term, mutually-beneficial relationship with, and not worrying about those who may be better served by another business or who are really just looking for something else, you will be much more likely to increase revenue.
Listen, Ask Questions and Solve a Problem
Next, remember that being a good sales person isn’t about talking a potential customer’s ear off, or “tricking” them into buying. Instead, the best sales people are those who know how to keep their mouth shut more than they open it, and who keep their ears open and listen instead.
In particular, in the first few minutes of any sales interactions, it is important to not talk about yourself, the products or services you’re selling, or your elevator pitch. Rather, you will get better results if you allow those you’re interacting with to provide information about themselves and their needs to you.
If people don’t offer information willingly, you must ask questions to find out what their current pain points are (that is, what is a problem for them that you could help solve), and/or what benefits they are looking to have provided (e.g. do they want more free time or to save money).
Instead of instantly trying to sell your products or services to prospects, you should instead determine what it is they’re after, and if your wares will help them out or not. Understanding their needs and wants, their current lifestyle, and the like, will also help you to work out what information to provide them with, or how best to demonstrate how your wares work.
Sell Via Various Channels
Lastly, it is important to remember that there isn’t just one channel to sell on, but many, and that if you broaden your methods you will be much more likely to increase your sales results. If you and/or your team currently deliver most sales calls via the phone or email, start conducting more in-person, face-to-face meetings where you can connect more personally with prospects.
Similarly, if you typically go door to do to see customers, add some cold calls and direct emailing to your methods to increase your scope.
In addition, be aware that technological advances have created new ways of going about making sales. For example, you can set up Skype calls and live chat conversations, as well as interact with people via numerous social media channels. E-newsletters and text messages are other alternative options to add to your repertoire.