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You are a business owner not a sales professional. Winning sales is just one of a long list of things to think about. Why complicate matters? Selling is actually quite simple if you look at it slightly differently. I have spent many years looking for ways of helping the owners of small businesses and professionals to quickly understand how to succeed in sales without needing to be a Sales Pro. Here are seven of my favourite ways to simplify selling:
1. Look for repeat purchase rather than one-off sales
2. Start small and grow rather than take on big brands
Finding new customers is much harder than selling to existing customers. Look at any successful company and the chances are that a major proportion of their sales will come from existing customers. They may not necessarily be selling the same thing all the time but they are still selling more to the same customers.
Imagine you are making a major purchase and you have to choose between three potential suppliers who have similar offerings. One supplier is a major brand. The second is not a major brand but you have already worked with them and you have been very happy with their work. The third supplier is also not a major and you have only discovered them recently following a cold call and subsequent meeting.
If you had an unresolved problem for which you wanted a solution, would you rather speak to someone who is a specialist in solving such problems or a generalist? All things being equal, even if we had a great relationship with an existing generalist supplier, we might prefer to talk to a specialist.
There are two ways of looking at what you sell. You can focus on the individual products and services or you can focus on the problems you solve. The most common approach is to have a product centric focus. There is no doubt that a product centric approach can produce sales – especially where there is an established market with educated buyers. What happens, though, is that the person selling will often miss out on cross-selling and up-selling opportunities. Selling solutions sounds the harder option but is actually easier to do and it normally leads to larger sales.
There is nothing more natural than stories. From a very early age we are exposed to stories. When we talk to friends and family we share stories. It may surprise you to discover that one of the secrets of top sales people is storytelling. We are not talking fairy stories but anecdotes of experiences with customers.
You have an important decision to make. You have to choose between three suppliers. Each have similar offerings. One came from a cold call, another you discovered by searching the internet, and the last was recommended by someone you trust.
Most people could sell a house but what if you had to sell a house every single day? What if you had several sales people who each needed to sell a house every day?
So many businesses approach sales in an unstructured way. They may get away with it where its just the owner doing the selling, but as they take on sales people the lack of a sales process means that they are not delegating sales – they are abdicating it!
A big thank you to Jeremy Jacobs for joining me on the web-cast last night, talking about ‘The Sound of Success’. The issue behind the web-cast was that when our first contact with a prospect is via the telephone then the first impression formed is almost entirely affected by our voice. A first encounter may be a cold call or it maybe that we are responding to an enquiry or a referral. It’s not just what we say, but especially how we say it.
Anyone following me on Twitter is probably used to my Saturday night tweets whilst the X Factor is on TV.
If you have been watching it recently or read the news you will have seen that the twins that call themselves ‘Jedward’ are still in the competition and there are some very talented acts that are getting a bit worried. The simple fact is that more people are voting for Jedward than some of the talent.