For any business owner, selling is probably the single most important skill to possess. You must learn how to sell effectively, it’s that important. Let me say it another way…if you can sell, the business world is your oyster.
Today we take a minor detour from our typical digital marketing focus and we’ll learn how selling can compliment your marketing strategy.
Sales is important for many reasons. It’s the lifeblood of business: if you don’t have sales, you don’t have revenue and your company will fail.
Sales isn’t manipulating or pressuring people to do something that they don’t want to do. It’s actually a one-to-one transfer of knowledge and trust – in other words, building a relationship with someone, understanding their needs, goals and pain points, and offering a solution that addresses those needs.
Sales isn’t easy. You won’t win every contract or get every meeting. Maybe you’ve heard that sales is a numbers game? That’s true, but it doesn’t mean you should repeat the exact same pitch every single time and hope that the law of averages will come into play. Once you’re comfortable with the techniques below, the job isn’t done. You’ll want to evolve your approach, add a new spin, and adapt to what customers are asking and looking for.
1. Identify The Right Prospects.
I know it’s tempting to go after any and all customers, especially when you’re starting out…you don’t want to say no to anyone. However, one thing I’ve learned the hard way is that it’s more productive to spend more time with better prospects. To put it differently, it’s important to identify the types of businesses that are best for your business.
Once you’ve identified your prospects, do thorough research prior to your meeting or call. Researching prospects can give you insight into the industry, competitive landscape, what types of advertising and technology they are using and more. A simple way to do this is to Google a prospect’s industry in your local area.
2. Be Confident and Build Rapport.
Most people, regardless of profession, have a natural resistance to sales. This default position may come from a lifetime of experiences, some positive but most negative. They assume that since you don’t know each other, the only reason that you are reaching out is because you want to make money. While this is partially true, you are not only selling them something, but providing a solution to a business problem that they have. Your goal during the first few minutes of your meeting is to help them lower that resistance and start to trust you.
When you’re calling on a prospect or sitting down for a meeting, be friendly and be confident! Confidence in yourself goes a long way and can help you to give off a positive vibe. A number of self-help professionals have encouraged people to look at themselves in the mirror prior to a big meeting or job interview, smile and say out loud something to the effect of “I like myself and I love my job. I like myself and I love my job.” Over and over again – you can’t help but smile because it sounds silly, but let me tell you, it actually works, and I do it every time I am about to go in front of a prospect for the first time.
When you do meet your prospect, smile, give a firm handshake—you should radiate confidence. Chances are your prospect is another business owner or manager who gets called on daily by companies or is generally very busy. When you are friendly, prompt, brief and professional, you just might stand out against all the others.
3. Ask For The Sale. Close The Deal.
I can’t overstate the importance of asking for the sale and closing the deal. You’ve put in all that hard work, research, and nailed the presentation. Now what? You should be trying to close the deal. The worst possible thing you can do at the end of a sales presentation is to look at the prospect and say: “Well, what do you think?” It’s a natural thing for many without sales training to say. We, as humans, are always looking for feedback and validation. This is not the time for that. You need to assume the sale is made, not ask her what she thought of the presentation—she is not your professor.
These closing techniques will improve your chances of closing the sale. At the end of your presentation, try saying one of the following:
Makes sense to me, shall we give it a try?
It looks like I’ve addressed all of the concerns that you outlined earlier, would you agree?
Assume the sale has been made and say: “Here’s what happens next…”
Ask them how they’d like to make the payment.
The cost is $X and I can get started Thursday. Here’s the contract, if you would please sign here I’ll get you on the schedule…
Depending on what type of business you are in, your sales cycle will vary. I have personally seen the most success when I get a client to sign off during the first meeting. Sometimes there will be a brief phone call or e-mail exchange, but the first real substantive meeting is where I try to close the deal. What I have found in having done over 150 pitches in my first year is that if I don’t close them during that initial meeting, my chances of ever closing them go down substantially.
The Takeaway: Sales is the lifeblood of any business. Your digital and overall marketing strategy are critical for driving leads and building your brand, but it’s your ability to connect with people, position yourself or your company as a solution, and ultimately close the deal that will set you apart and skyrocket your business. Practice your sales pitch and refine it based on what works and what doesn’t. You’ll hear objections from your prospects but those are simply learning opportunities that you can overcome and use to your advantage in your next sales meeting.
Remember: People want to buy, they just don’t want to be sold.
Learn more sales strategies and closing techniques in my new book.