Every expert seller has a set of surefire sales tips, but not everyone agrees on a single formula. To get a handle on how to boost sales, we asked our own team of experts and distilled their wisdom into five simple tips that work for any product, any service and any industry.
What You Say Isn’t as Important as What Customers Hear
While mediocre sellers worry about presentation, outstanding sellers think more about perception. Your customers need to believe in you and your message. They want to hear the truth, and no amount of slick presentation will fool them if you don’t believe in what you’re selling and communicate that faith to potential buyers. While focusing on your presentation is important too, your sales success depends on something far deeper: your customers’ belief in what you have to say. Buyers are smart enough to see when a presentation is hollow. If you’re having trouble believing your own pitch, you need to address that, not just build a better pitch.
Sharpen Your Listening Skills
Until you know what motivated your prospect to consider shopping with you, you don’t know how to turn browsing into buying. Is this buyer motivated by value or quality? Are you the first stop for a casual browser, or has this buyer thoroughly researched options and come to you specifically? What are this prospect’s most important needs? Your customer will tell you, but only if you’re willing to listen. Pay attention to what they say and believe them when they tell you what they need. Selling a value-oriented customer on luxury features or persuading a customer who wants a top-of-the-line product that you have the best price in town makes selling an uphill battle. Make it easy on you and your buyer by listening well.
Define Your Prospecting Time
Prospecting is a key element of sales, but if you don’t set aside time to do it, it’s one of the easiest tasks to neglect. Your marketing department can be a powerful ally here, especially if you use marketing automation software to score leads for you, but you’ll still need to do some of the work yourself. Setting aside some time every week to drum up new business and track down new leads gives you the steady stream of potential customers you need to keep your sales pipeline perpetually filled.
Plan Your Sales Process to the End
One of the biggest mistakes novice sellers make, say sales experts, is ignoring their close. They’re so caught up with devising the most irresistible presentation that they forget the goal of that presentation is a sale, and sales don’t happen without closing. Build a solid close – or better yet, multiple closing opportunities throughout the course of the sale – as part of every sales presentation you make. Allowing time for the back-and-forth of a closing attempt, resistance, overcoming resistance and a new close also lets you manage your time more efficiently.
Whether it’s as small as a timely call-back or as big as your largest order, never make a promise on which you can’t deliver. Lack of follow-through is a major reason for lost sales, so if you say you’re going to contact a lead, do it. Being able to deliver on promises is important not only for new prospects, but also for keeping established customers satisfied. There’s no magic to it; just do what you say you’re going to do, and customers will love you for it.