Sales are an important part of every small business; it’s also a common challenge for many small business owners. If sales is something you struggle with, it can be helpful to spend some time getting a better understanding of the sales process and fine-tuning your sales skills.
To get you moving in the right direction, here are some tips from our advisors to help you improve your skills so you can sell your products and services more effectively.
- Listening is key
A sales conversation should consist of the prospect speaking 80% of the time, so being an active listener is a significant component of being a good salesperson. Get to know their needs and pain points, and strengths so that you can speak to whether or not your product or service will match those needs. Thoughtful questions will serve you so much better than sharing the features of your product.
- People love knowing the process.
When it comes to sales, we often feel uncomfortable sharing our process from meeting a prospect to ultimately asking for the sale. When you tell prospective buyers what the steps are and how you are deciding whether or not it makes sense to move forward, they love the transparency and are put at ease.
- Manage to the next step.
Never leave a conversation without identifying and scheduling the next steps. You don’t want to lose a great opportunity in a game of email cat and mouse trying to find a time that works to continue the conversation. Book the next step live to save yourself work and improve your close rates in the process.
- Never send a quote.
This is a cardinal sin. A price without a conversation around value and an opportunity to address any objections is like putting a message in a bottle and hoping someone comes to rescue you. Quotes are hard work, and you deserve the chance to speak to the prospect live, get their feedback, and answer their questions and objections.
- Do not prescribe without diagnosing:
When you go to the doctor’s office, a good doctor takes the time to ask questions, develop a hypothesis on your symptoms, and then use data to prove or disprove that hypothesis. Sales is truly no different. Instead of a patient having a problem, you have a prospective client with a “need”. It is very okay to walk in with a hypothesis surrounding what they may want, but we cannot sell to a specific need (i.e., price, communication, professionalism, etc.) without probing to validate that hypothesis. Usually, probing comes in the form of “What” –> “Why” –> “Why”. Not until you have validated this by saying it back to them in the form of “what I hear you say is that you care most about_____ because of _______, Is that right?” do you have your data to diagnose a prospect.
- Do not jump to solutions.
Often the sale is made in showing that you can identify root problems and sharing that you’ve solved similar issues before. You needn’t share how you would address the obstacles, so much as sharing what they are and that you’re equipped to help.
- Play the averages.
One of the biggest mistakes sales teams have is focusing, judging, or writing off prospects because they aren’t whales. Regardless of industry, you have an Average Client Size, which is simply Revenue / # of customers. Once you realize that both the small and whale-sized clients come together to form the average and that mathematically every time you land a client you essentially land a client worth your average client size, your orientation around prospects and converting everyone (assuming they are a good fit for the product or service) completely changes.
Try incorporating these simple steps into your everyday sales process. With some practice, you can become a better salesperson, one who is more comfortable with the process and more effective.
If sales aren’t your strong suit, and you don’t know where to start, you don’t have to go at it alone. Schedule a free two-hour session to dig into your business and develop a plan.
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