Is it an art, science or just a knack? Successful selling is a combination of all three, with an added helping of common sense. Here we take a look at ten top tips to streamline your selling techniques and to help you generate even more sales. Some of these tips really are just common sense, but all too frequently they are not employed. Others are surprising, but make sense when you consider them.
It is an undisputed fact that contacting customers personally can play a key part in your sales campaign. Whether the contact is face to face or on the phone, the personal touch puts you at the forefront of your customers’ attention in a way that media advertising and direct mail cannot. Reminding existing customers of your products or services brings about repeat sales. Potential customers can be made aware of what you have to offer. This last will involve the often dreaded cold calling and inevitably some rejection, but stick with it and you will turn potential customers into new customers.
Customers don’t want to feel they are being sold something. However, and this is the surprising part, they usually do want to buy something. Make them aware of what you have to offer, but avoid any tactics that make them feel they are being manipulated or persuaded. Help your customers to identify a need and make an informed decision and they will buy from you.
Let’s say you are selling for a toy manufacturer. There’s no point in making a lengthy presentation about nursery toys when your customer is planning to launch a range of construction kits. If you gave them a chance to tell you that, you could present them with a range of kits for various ages. Let your customer do most of the talking and you will know what they are interested in buying. You should aim to let your prospect do at least half of the talking and listen carefully to what they have to say. They will provide you with valuable tools to help close that sale.
This secret comes into the art, science or knack category. You can coach the science and mechanics of selling, but you can’t instil the art. It is true that selling is a knack and not everyone has that talent. Nurture those with special skills and increased sales will follow. If you are selling your own product or service, by all means reap the benefits of sales training, but also be honest with yourself if you feel you don’t have that special talent. If that is the case, you might be better off paying a ‘sales-star’ to do the job.
A little research goes a long way towards completing a successful sales pitch. If your customer can see you properly understand their needs, they will feel confident when you say you say you can fill their requirements. Your research should include studying their industry – both trends and problems. Find out who your customer’s biggest competitors are. You can find the information you need in a variety of sources, including annual reports, trade publications, brochures and catalogues. You can be sure it will be time well spent and result in increased sales and satisfied customers.
A good returns policy helps a customer to feel they are in charge of their purchase. By offering an unconditional guarantee, you are letting your customer know you have faith in your product and they can feel confident of following suit. This applies to services as well as to products. Your guarantee could state ‘We know you will be happy with our service, but if not we will work to rectify any shortcomings, at no further expense to you’.
This follows on from the research tip. Once you are in contact with your potential customer, ask salient questions. If a prospect says they are looking for a really robust widget, ask about the environment in which the widget will operate and see if you can get some examples of applications, stresses, etc. Probe deeper for information that allows you to better position your product.
Once you have listened to your customer, made your presentation and the client is showing interest, offer two choices. The choices are most definitely not to buy or not to buy, or even to buy now or later. Offer two buying choices. For example, if you are selling fences, ask whether they would prefer the fencing in oak or pine. When the customer states their preference, write up the order. The sale will not usually be stopped at this point, as the customer feels they have committed to a yes.
Here’s a real common sense one. It is much easier and far less expensive to get existing satisfied customers to buy than to find and close new customers. So, unless you are just starting out, make your existing clientele your priority.
Once the sale has been made, that is not the end of the story. Remember that repeat sales are your richest source, so keep in touch with your customers. You can send thank you notes or call the customer to make sure they are satisfied with the product or service they have bought. Set and maintain a schedule of future communications to keep you on your customer’s radar. Don’t forget to ask for feedback. Sometimes a customer may have a minor complaint but say nothing. However, they won’t buy from you again, so if you can handle that complaint, they may well come back to you in the future. Customers can offer valuable suggestions which can help you to maintain and increase their business with you.
From Research To Presentation To Closing and Follow Up
There we have ten sales secrets – some surprising and some common sense. So, be it art, science or knack, you can use these tips to increase your sales and your portfolio of satisfied and loyal customers.