If you have ever wondered about the best tips and techniques to increase sales, then this article was custom-made for you! We’ll give you some of our favorite tips for selling that have helped us reach our revenue goals.
We consulted with Rick Godard, a sales and human resources management expert with more than 30 years of experience serving small and large companies in various industries. When asked about sales, he describes it is an “act of constant struggle between closing and generating income versus paving the roads ahead for future revenue streams.”
Rick has important insights about the sales process and how to increase your sales. Thanks, Rick, for sharing your wisdom with us! We have summarized what he shared with us into 9 actionable tips, below.
Sales is not a one-step process. When you’re selling a product or service, you’re actually establishing yourself as a resource to your customers. You’re fulfilling a need they have, and creating a relationship based on trust. With these tips you’ll be able to increase your sales and generate the revenue you’ve always dreamed of.
- Take Advantage of Face Time
The first thing you need to make sure you (or your sales team) know is that obtaining face-to-face time with a client or lead is really hard. It’s actually one of the most difficult things to do, if not the most difficult thing to do. That’s why you should always take advantage of that time and actually use it close a deal. Trying to avoid finishing a meeting without a closed deal is a great way to maintain your sales focus.
- Manage Cold Sales Contacting
As an entrepreneur you must be aware of how time-consuming cold sales calling can be. Sometimes, it is the least rewarding of all strategies. If that’s the case for your business, figure out another way. Perhaps you could automate mailings to a purchased leads list, try social selling (which entails developing relationships with your potential customers while in the sales process, generally over social networks), or think of a better way to get your name out in any way you can other than just picking up the phone, cold. Remember that your goal must always be to get a one-on-one or face-to-face meeting. In-person meetings will always be more rewarding than a bunch of cold calls.
That being said, while having some of your emailing automated will save you time, it really is impersonal. That’s why we recommend having a good list of contacts that you’re reasonably sure will actually read your messages. Once you do, send them personalized emails, always making sure to follow up on them. That’s right, the most important step of sending out a sales email is one that tends to be overlooked: sales representatives don’t always follow up with their messages. Be sure you don’t make this mistake. Be selective about who you send email to, and once you get an open email metric or a click-through, follow up on those directly.
- Network at Events
We always recommend attending networking events, but truth be told, whether you should or not depends on the answers you give to these three questions:
- Do you enjoy them?
- Are you good at it?
- And how much time should you spend on them?
It’s a known fact that if there’s something you enjoy doing, then you’re going to be more successful at it than someone who doesn’t. Take that into account when you’re planning your networking agenda. There’re some people who are brilliant at networking in meetings and gatherings, but like everything, some people are not. If you’re not, perhaps you should send someone from your business who will get what the company needs from the meeting, in your stead. And the final thing to take into account is that you don’t need to go to all of them. Most of these events are held in the evenings, time usually reserved to your family, and often cost money. You should always have a balance, measuring your results and adjusting if necessary. Be selective. Perhaps your solution can be to schedule networking events once per week or even once per month. Fewer events can be more productive if you have your head in the game and can focus your energy and sales charisma on getting results.
- Deliver Right Value Propositions
Remember, your leads are looking for the products and services that they believe will add value to their lives. As a seller, your goal is to deliver the right value propositions to them in order to help them make the decision to choose you. To do that you must clearly understand their challenges or opportunities, and must simply articulate how you can meet those needs. Increasing your sales could depend on how well you explain the benefits of your offerings to potential customers. An important tip for selling to B2B businesses is to include a quantification of the ROI (Return On Investment) they will get with your product or service.
- Develop the Perfect Sales Pitch
The result of developing the perfect sales pitch is the acquisition of new customers. That’s why it’s so important to figure out their motivations, in calibrating your pitch. Remember there are two main motivations when it comes to customers making decisions: the pursuit of pleasure or the avoidance of pain. Discover what it is that your lead is feeling and speak to it; make your pitch circle their needs and motivations.
It’s important that you perfect your sales pitch before you deliver it to your potential customer. Don’t just offer your services or products, motivate them to give you a try. If you offer a B2B service, show your leads how their competitors are gaining spaces in the market and how your offerings can help your potential customers diminish that.
And then, pitch relentlessly. It will probably take a while. Some of your leads will not be able to afford your products or services and others will be too far from understanding the value in your proposition. But keep going — these things take a while and you can do it. Just start! If you’re afraid, write down some bullets of your script, rehearse the phone call or meeting, and do it. You’ll refine your process as you go.
A good San Francisco resource that could help you become a more effective speaker and communicator is this GGBA speech meeting with Gina Graheme.
- Use the Loss Leader Strategy
If you’re just starting out with your business, you need to weigh out the possibility of loss leaders. What are they? A loss leader is a product or service sold at a loss in order to attract customers. You may be wondering why should you sell something at loss, and we’re not saying it will be right in every case. But it certainly is a way to enter a market. Perhaps by trying it a couple of times you will realize that a few long evenings of doing a one-time gig for someone might be enough to boost your business. You will have a chance to prove your value, and that could lead you to a new client or a referral.
- Offer an Extra
You want to be differentiated from your competition, and a good way to do so is to offer something that the other companies don’t. A service, a seminar — offer something that can be of value to your potential customers. Attract your leads with your own expertise if possible. Make them see how your business offers services or benefits that others don’t.
It’s important that you don’t offer extras with the aim of just gaining something in return. Show your leads that you really want to help them achieve their goals. Remember, the sales cycle is sometimes really long, and perhaps, though the people you help today may not make a purchase right away, in their minds you’ll always be the first they think about when your services are needed.
- Ask for Referrals
The ultimate sales goal of every business that has ever existed is being so good that the product sells itself through the word of mouth of those glad customers whose lives your products or services have changed. That being said, we have discovered the importance of actually asking your clients for referrals. Have you done it? Have you actually talked to them about who they could refer you to instead of just hinting at how you would love a referral? Even though it’s a tough thing to do, most people don’t refer unless you ask them to. They are glad to help, but they need to be asked directly. Your clients are the most likely to be willing to help you out, so next time you meet with a client, bring up the topic. If they don’t have someone they can refer you to, ask for a letter of recommendation and their permission to use that information for your advertisement campaigns. Remember, their success is your best portfolio.
- Optimize your Sales Cycle
Now that you have read all our tips and are willing to start applying them to increase sales in your business, it’s time to determine whether you sales cycle is correctly optimized. To do that, ask yourself these three questions, and adapt your strategy to your own answers.
- Is your target market well defined? Remember that the first step to selling is knowing who you’re selling to. If the answer is negative, investigate, and then investigate some more until you know who is buying your products.
- Is there a common thread among your existing or past customers? Perhaps the same industry, size, location, time in business, or some other factor that is common to all or most of your previous customers or clients? Knowing these trends will help you know where to reach out for more leads.
- Do you know how many calls, appointments, or proposals it takes to land one client? This metric will help you measure if your actions, pitch, or strategy is working and will help you compare results in order to see which actions work best.
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