19 Tips on How to Increase Sales for Your Small Business
How to increase sales
Secrets of increasing and closing sales:
- ask questions and listen
- showcase your full potential
- assume the sale
- understand what motivates your customers to buy
- always over-deliver
- set customer expectations
- overcome common objections in sales
As a small business owner, you know that closing a sale is crucial to your growth and success, and many other small business owners wonder if there is something specific they can do to raise their close rate.
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Secrets of closing the sale
Ask questions and listen
Product Specialist Josh Gillespie, from PandaDoc, says that it’s extremely important when qualifying, that you make sure you "peel the onion" and ask as many relevant questions as is appropriate.
"Often times, your prospect will withhold information from you that they don't think is pertinent to the conversation, but the more you know about your prospect and the intricacies of their company, the better chance you have of showing value." - Josh Gillespie.
The types of questions matter
You may have heard this before, but when you talk to your potential customer, try the approach of asking questions as if they have already bought your product or service. Don’t ask them if they’d like to buy but how they will be paying. Ask whether they will use your product or service at home or in the office.
Showcase your full potential
When you share results with your potential customers, it allows them to see how they can grow and scale their operation or satisfy their personal need; it makes it easier for them to buy what you’re selling because they’re seeing results. This is when customer testimonials come in handy.
Assume the sale
One of the best secrets of closing the sale is to assume the person on the other side has already made the decision to purchase your product or service. There are a few reasons behind this:
- Depending on your industry, there’s a good chance your prospect has already done their research on your company or product, and, to a certain extent, already decided they are going to buy.
- The confidence you show by assuming the sale will make it easier to build a relationship with your client. By the time you're done, they don't even realize they've been sold.
Finding a product or service to solve a problem or fill a need is easier than ever in today’s online world. You can simply search, ask a few friends or look on social media platforms that you trust for comments about the company or product. Because of this, it’s important that your message stands out from the rest so that your prospect is drawn to you to solve their needs. Getting your potential customers choose you begin with a unique first impression.
- The message must speak to them: what is the pain they’re feeling (even if they don’t know that’s their pain yet)?
- The delivery of your message must be compelling: make sure the messages you send are actionable.
Tell your story visually
Visuals can help your message become actionable. Things like video, whiteboards, images or other pictures will show how your prospect's problem will be solved with what you’re selling. By using images you create contrast, which can create the feeling of urgency, which will help you close the sale.
Overcoming objections in sales
To the seasoned sales professional, though, an objection is an opportunity goldmine.
An objection means a buyer is engaged. A potential customer is actually considering your proposal.
Overcoming sales objections is the key to making the sales. Here are some tips and tricks that will help you close.
Objection: "You’re too expensive."
Solution: Continue the conversation.
Competition is usually a part of business. Maybe your product or service really is higher in price than that of your competitor. But should that stop you? No. So don’t let that be the end of the conversation.
Objection: "Give me more."
Solution: Present the facts.
Many customers want the perfect combination of exceptional quality, wonderful service, and low prices all handed to them on a silver platter. We all know it is extremely difficult to provide the lowest possible price while simultaneously achieving the greatest quality and the greatest customer service.
Highlight your strengths. Have a clearly articulated reason in your back pocket that clearly explains what makes you better than your competitors. Highlight to your customers what they will receive and why it is, in fact, so great. In other words, sell the value that your product will bring to them.
Objection: "Your product doesn’t meet our needs."
Solution: See things from the client’s perspective.
Empathy is a powerful tool when overcoming a sales objection.
You may be a great salesperson and you may be able to sweet talk a prospect into buying once or even twice, but in the end, if your product isn’t meeting the people’s needs, they will go elsewhere. Pause to evaluate the mindset of your prospective customers.
The main takeaway here is that when you truly see through your clients’ eyes, you can customize your approach. You’ll begin making points that speak to both their emotions and the logical part of their brains.
Objection: "I don’t want to change."
Solution: Reshape the customer's fearful mindset.
Show the potential buyer that you have a proven track record of tangible success. And give them numbers to latch on to. Point out your past successes and demonstrate why you are reliable and dependable. This approach will go a long way. Facts speak volumes, and they’re essential to overcoming sales objections.
Overcoming sales objections may take practice, but your skills will improve over time. Never panic, because it certainly isn’t necessary to lower your price to get the sale. The simple act of customizing your approach will put you on the path toward negating future objections before they even occur.
The ultimate sales machine using technology
Technology is rapidly disrupting the world of retail and sales. Five years ago, companies may have been able to sneak by without a social media presence or a website.
Use technology to revolutionize your sales is a key part of business success.
Big box stores often have retail apps that allow customers to browse inventory, check store hours, contact store staff, and more. Small companies might assume that using apps is impossible for them; after all, creating an app is expensive, and with fewer customers, the return on investment might not be sufficient.
Chatbots on Facebook Messenger
Customers expect there to be rapid—if not immediate—responses to their inquiries on social media. In general, if they do not get an immediate response, they will abandon their inquiry, which often means going to your competition. But keeping someone on Facebook Messenger all day is expensive and impractical.
Instead of paying someone to monitor every social media channel, companies can use chatbots that they either create themselves or hire a programmer to create for them. According to experts, business messaging apps are used as much as 9 times a day by the average consumer.
Chatbots can answer basic questions and forward more in-depth inquiries to customer service. This can help companies preserve those precious interested customers.
Deep learning—or artificial intelligence—are rapidly becoming a crucial force in marketing. After all, most websites sell a vast number of products; being able to recommend just the right item to a customer is a skill. In some ways, this is the most crucial piece lost when retail transactions move from the brick and mortar store to the web storefront.
The human element is still important in sizing up what a customer is looking at and making a suggestion about what they might like as well. In person, this process is called up-selling.
For all but the biggest companies, this kind of data analysis is too big to do in-house. Businesses are springing up, however, that will process this information for their clients.
When businesses are willing to disrupt their business model and try something new, they can often leapfrog the competition and create a new way of connecting with their customers.
Increase sales with customer service
While selling and making a profit is the ultimate business goal, leaving room to serve can help make sales happen for you. What you need is to learn how to increase sales through serving your customers.
Don’t fear giving away too much upfront
Sure, you need to be compensated for your time and knowledge. But far too many business owners, especially those in the professional service industries, don’t give enough education and information upfront. When you give more information than you’re comfortable with, you are empowering your customers and actually drawing them closer to your business.
Understand what motivates your customers to buy
Invest time to learn what motivates your customers (or prospects). Take the time to know their needs, challenges, concerns, and fears. Serve them first, and your interests will be served in turn.
As you learn about your customers, you are also investing time to better educate your customers to help move them farther down the sales funnel at the same time. People buy because they have some pain, or need. Understand your customer's need, solve that need, and you’ll have a much better chance of making a sale.
Set customer expectations
Often companies don’t set clear expectations for the customer. These expectations need to be set by you (the salesperson) and your company and shaped around the product or service. If you don’t set expectations for a customer, they’ll set their own expectations.
Push for a decision
"Maybe" is a terrible place to be. It’s not good for you, and it’s not good for the customer. You’re left unsure if the customer is (or will ever be) ready to buy, and the customer is in limbo waiting for a solution. When you know that prospects have enough information to make a decision, push them to make one.
The next time you’re in a sales meeting with a prospect, don’t ask them to buy from you – just ask for a decision. There’s a difference. And regardless of what that decision may be, find a way to serve them.
If you want to ensure that customers buy from you again and again and that they tell others about you, over-delivering is critical. It does not mean that you have to do something "big" that causes you to lose money. It can be something small to you, but maybe big for the customer. Over-delivering can be accomplished in different ways.
- An unexpectedly pleasant experience
- A product that wows
When delivering great service to customers, don't think of it as a short-term transaction. Instead, make a long-term investment in your customers, and build up the opportunity for repeat business.
Customers new and old should get the same experience, no matter how big or small your business is. Consistency can be one of the most crucial elements of service for your customers. If you commit to serving your customers and prospects (beyond just selling to them) not only will you realize increased sales, repeat business and happier customers; you will also achieve a less erratic sales processes.
Chet Holmes ultimate sales machine
Chet Holmes International has assisted over 200,000 businesses worldwide to grow faster, better, smarter. Based on the methods of its late founder, Chet Holmes, and his NY Times Best Selling Book "The Ultimate Sales Machine." CHI has been in business for 25 years expanding to 100 countries with 78 different training programs.
Chet Holmes insights on how to double sales in 12 months:
There are always a smaller number of ideal buyers, rather than all buyers, so ideal buyers are cheaper to market to and yet bring greater rewards.
A magazine used this strategy to double sales in 15 months flat.
They had a database of 2,200 advertisers that they sent promo pieces to each month. After learning this strategy, they did an analysis and found that 167 of those 2,200 advertisers bought 95 percent of the advertising in the competitor’s magazine.
This concept is called "The Dream 100," a concept where you go after your dream prospects with a vengeance. This magazine sent the 167 (best buyers) a letter every two weeks and called them four times per month.
Who are your best buyers?
If you sell B2C, chances are, your best buyers live in the best neighborhoods. If you are a consultant, dentist, accountant, chiropractor, real estate broker, financial advisor, or a restaurant, consistently go after the folks who live in the best neighborhoods. They are the wealthiest buyers who have the money and the greatest sphere of influence. If you send them an offer every single month without fail, within a year, you’ll have a great reputation among the very wealthy.
If you sell B2B, it’s usually fairly clear that your best buyers are the biggest companies. So what are you doing, every other week, no matter what, to let these companies know who you are? There’s no one you can’t get to as long as you constantly market to them, especially after they say they’re not interested. People will not only begin to respect your perseverance, they will actually begin to feel obligated.
The secret is to never give up. Just keep going after those companies again and again.
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