For an entrepreneur, it is necessary to learn the ins and outs of selling. It can be a major challenge but it is manageable if you follow some strategies. Here are some tips to help you boost your sales skills:
Find your comfort level.
You need to get comfortable with selling to gain the confidence and the inside knowledge necessary. You can seek the aid of a mentor or even enroll in a sales class to improve your sales skills.
Define your target audience.
In order to refine your selling strategy you will need to identify a specific customer target. Is it small retailers? Schools? Identifying your target will save you time and effort.
Study customer buying habits.
After you identify your audience, it is important to study customer behavior. When selling a high-priced item you may notice that the customers spend more time to make the decision. In that case, you’ll need to spend more time to close the deal. If you charge a lot less, customers may question the quality of the product.
Please the first customers.
You need to make an effort to please your first customers. They will help create reputation for your company. To grow your business, It helps to have testimonials and references early on.
The first thing you are selling is yourself. You need to build a relationship with your customers. It is an ongoing process but it’s worth the time and effort. If they don’t like you, it’s very unlikely that the sale will happen. It’s a good idea to send personalized messages to your customers, instead of generic ones. This shows that you took the time and effort to address the customer individually.
Find ways to stay connected with your customers, through regular newsletters for example. You can also use social media to stay up to date with your audience. If possible, give your customers some face time. This will also help build your relationship while keeping the contact lively and fresh.
It is a mistake to assume you know what customers need and what they are willing to pay. Try to ask customers questions about what criteria they use to make their purchase decisions. If you never ask you’ll never know!
Establish a daily ritual.
Don’t leave things to chance. It’s easy to get caught up in all the work, especially if you wear different hats in your company. Instead, try to allocate some time each day to create your sales routine. This might mean reserving an hour or two each day to set your sales goals and make some calls to meet these goals.
Display your success.
Your website is usually the first contact that a potential customer has with your business or company. It should be professional and helps build your credibility. If possible, include testimonials and case studies of customers that you worked with in the past.
Turn into an industry expert.
Create blogs and seek media exposure to build your credibility and trust. It is important for people to see you as someone who understands the industry. Becoming an expert will attract new customers and strengthen your sales pitch.
Creating and promoting your product is usually not enough. Your sales approach is as important as the product you’re selling. An entrepreneur needs to create a personal relationship with the customers by bringing a personal touch to the sales process. People buy from someone they can relate to. If you fail to reach the customer personally, you run the risk of losing the sales to someone who takes the time and effort to do so. Here are some tips to help you build a special relationship with your potential customers.
Imitate the local business experience.
We all remember the experience of a corner business where the owner knows you personally and remembers small details about your family and your life. It’s a good approach to model your business on that idea. You can, for instance, remember one or two details about the customer and casually bring them up in conversation. Everyone feels they are important when someone can remember some details about their life.
Ask the right questions.
Before you embark on a hard sell, take the time to ask the right questions. The idea is to know what the customer is looking for. It’s easier to show that your product fulfill the customer’s need when you know what they actually need. Try to use open and closed ended questions. This will create a stronger relationship.
Woo your customers
Selling resembles dating, you woo your customers in hope that they will return your attention. It takes time and effort. Out of ten people, three may want to know more about your product. You need find ways to hook the customer and make them want to call you back. Remember to be respectful of their busy schedule.
Talk about yourself
Revealing something about yourself is another way to get personal with your customers, but make sure it’s not too personal. It’s a good idea to make it something your customers are likely to relate to. Studies show that if a salesperson share their birthday or birthplace with their customers, they are more likely to make a purchase and feel good about it.
Develop a good listening habit
No one likes to feel ignored in a conversation. When you ask your customers questions, make sure you are really listening to their response. Before you formulate your answers, wait for the customer to finish and understand their needs and concerns. Customers don’t want to be treated like dollar bills, so make sure you understand them personally.
Aim for direct contact with your customers
E-mail and social media made things much easier when reaching a potential customer. But face-to-face contact remains the most effective way to create meaningful connections. Communications should not be limited to emails and phones, but both are good follow-up methods.
It takes patience to develop a meaningful and lasting relationship. Don’t rush the process. When introducing your product, make sure to take the time to explain how it will benefit the prospect. Patience is a good habit when cultivating this new relationship. Don’t make your customer feel rushed to make a decision. You may lose them forever.
It is important to get involved on the social Web, not only to present your business but also to develop and grow your reputation. Being invisible on the social Web means you’re not a part of the conversation, with no chance to grow your reputation. So it’s important to take action to grow your Web visibility.
Before you start, you must determine your general goals and approaches to keep you on track. You can always change things down the road, just as you may like to change conversational approaches on a personal level. But remember that, in social media marketing, your mode of talking and conversation is done through the keyboard and your audience is much larger. At any case, these eight steps will get you started on the right track:
- Know your goals.
Start by asking the right questions to determine the type of content you’ll be publishing and what type of activities you will choose to participate in. Why are you choosing to participate in the social Web ? Are you trying to get direct sales, or offer some customer service ? Do you want to build a relationship and boost the level of confidence with your customer ? The answers to these questions will determine your approach.
- Know your resources.
It is important to know whether you have the necessarily technical skills to join the online conversation. Determine who will be creating and maintaining your social media accounts and who is going to be the face of your business on social media. This person will be answering the questions and presenting your business in the best way possible. Can you be that person ? If not, are you willing to learn ?
- Know your audience.
Before you start, you need to determine your target audience and where do they spend their online time. You also need to determine what they are most vocal about and what informations they really want from you. You need to know what your audience wants and needs to provide the content they’ll find most interesting, while still being there to interact with them on a personal level.
- Create amazing content.
You need to present your audience with great content, preferably in the form of a conversation. This will help you build a loyal following of people who will trust you to meet their needs.
- Make a schedule.
It is preferable to create a schedule for your social media marketing activities. You can, for example, allocate ten minutes of Twitter each day before you check your e-mail and before you finish work. This will help you maintain your activities each day.
- Focus on quality, instead of quantity.
Don’t get caught up in numbers, it is better to have few loyal and highly engaging followers than have a larger number who never acknowledge your efforts.
- Give control to your audience.
It is your audience who must take control of the online conversation. This will help make them develop emotional attachment to you, your brand and your business.
- Keep learning.
Be flexible and never stop listening and learning. Don’t be afraid of change.