As a small business owner, you already know that success revolves around making sales. Not all business owners are equipped with the same set of skills, but it should encourage you that sales skills can be learned and developed over time. Follow these five helpful tips to boost your sales skills and help your business thrive.
1. Know What Makes You Unique
Why should customers choose your product or service over the competition? Having a solid answer to this question is often the key to closing a sale. Customers are looking for products that solve their specific needs, and it’s important to know how your product is different from the competition. You need to know your product inside and out. Gain a thorough understanding of your marketing literature and scan customer reviews and testimonials. The important thing here is that you are able to clearly and easily articulate your product knowledge.
Remember that customers don’t want the nitty gritty technical details about what your business has to offer. They want to know how your product can immediately solve their needs. When you can show a potential client exactly how your product adds value, you’re that much closer to making the sale.
2. Do Some Research on Your Customers
The maxim that you can never be prepared definitely applies to sales. Your customers’ time is valuable. They expect you to anticipate their needs, which means you need to get to know them a bit before your first meeting or interaction. There are some effective ways to broadly get to know your customer base, including focus groups, social listening and keyword research.
Keyword research in particular helps you gain insight into customer needs. Most of your customers use Google to solve problems. When they have a question, Google usually has the answers. The keywords that your clients search for on Google are a treasure trove of information. Get a good feel for these keywords before your first meeting to see how your potential customers search for your product or business online.
3. Know What Your Customers Want
Stepping into your customers’ shoes is an important part of the sales process. Your customer has a problem that they want to solve in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible. You need to discover how your product or service addresses their unique needs.
When you interact with a potential customer, don’t hesitate to ask questions to get a better feel for what they’re looking for. Some great questions to ask include:
- How can my business best serve your needs?
- What barriers may be keeping you from meeting your goals?
- What is your budget?
- What factors helped you choose my business over the competition?
Remember that it’s not enough to simply ask questions and push on with your pitch. You have to actively listen as you get to know your customers. Some of the best salespeople achieve success because they spend less time talking and more time listening. Always practice active listening by never interrupting your customers, never jumping to conclusions and never planning out exactly what you’ll say next. Lead with your questions and let the customer’s responses direct the conversation.
4. Develop Negotiation Skills
Unfortunately, you can’t always get what you want. Sometimes, though, a little bit of negotiating can help you close a deal on terms that work well both for you and for your clients. Start each client interaction by knowing what you want but keeping compromise in mind. If you’ve taken the time to get to know your client and their needs, you’re able to make a better case for your product or service.
Your demeanor and tone are important during the negotiation process. Customers don’t like pushy salespeople – there’s a fine line between being persistent or demanding. If you and your client can’t come to an agreement, don’t respond with anger or frustration. Maintain your professionalism at all times and make sure your client leaves with a great impression even if they don’t choose to complete a sale.
5. Remember to Follow Up
It’s simply good practice to follow up with every client, even the ones who choose not to use your product or services. You need to reconnect with each client to stay connected after the initial customer interaction.
A simple email is enough to show that you care about the customer’s experience. It also gives the customer a no-pressure option to continue the conversation at their own convenience. Even highly satisfied customers appreciate a follow-up – don’t let potential opportunities fall through the cracks by failing to follow up with every client.
The best salespeople are constantly learning and developing their skills. Whether you’re completely new to business or a seasoned professional, improving your skills is crucial if you want to stay competitive. Use the tips above as a guide to expand your skill set and your sales are sure to improve.