As you will have noticed, our hot tips are packed with useful advice. However, none of it is worth a dime if your business can't sell its products.
In this hot tip, we serve up seven pointers for ensuring stock flies off your shelves. Let's face it – there are very few of us who couldn't use more sales. And even those of us who have enough would probably be happier if we could get those sales with a little less effort, wouldn't we? Make no mistake about it, selling is a skill, and skills are learned gradually, over time, and require lots and lots of practice. Yes, there are those among us who have more of a natural aptitude towards sales, but born salesmen? They don't really exist. How many Premiership footballers do you know who don't train?
So, here are a few tips which, if you practice them, will help you get more sales more easily.
Decide who you want to have as a customer
This might seem a bit obvious, but most of us just think about the very basic requirements for a customer. In most cases, there will be a broad range of people or companies who could potentially buy your products. But look a little closer, there will be some for whom your benefits will be really strong, and some for whom they will be less so. Which will be easier to sell to? Well, no need to make things harder than necessary, is there? Also, there will be some customers you want to have, and some that you do not.
Have a look at your current customers
Which are the good ones, and which are the bad? Why? How many more bad ones do you want? Better not sell to them then! Ever heard of WIIFM? It stands for ‘What's in it for me?' What is in it for your prospects?
Think beyond benefits
At sales school, we are taught to offer benefits, not features. This is good advice because people do buy benefits, sort of. Your product will have lots of benefits and some of those benefits will be useful to some of your prospects. But why risk losing a sale by complicating matters? Why offer lots of benefits to your prospect that he doesn't want? It makes sense to offer him the benefits that matter to him, doesn't it?
You are only going to know what benefits he values if you ask him questions. Not just any questions, but the right questions.
What would be his ideal solution?
Ask about his needs, his problems, his experiences with similar or competing products. Listen to the answers It sounds obvious, doesn't it? Believe me, it isn't as easy as it sounds.
Ask more questions
Check that the benefits you are offering are what your prospect wants. Ask him: ‘Does this meet your needs? When it does… Ask for the order I know it sounds scary, but you have just agreed with your prospect that the benefits you are offering meet his needs. If you don't ask him to go ahead, it will look a bit strange, won't it? So, go on, grit your teeth – and ask. It's not really that hard, and it gets much easier with practice. All of this brings us back to the most important point: sales is a skill. It requires lots of practice, and the more you practice, the easier it becomes, and the more sales you get. Simple as that!
To read more about sales techniques and growing your business, read our blog on ‘Growing your business by increasing sales to existing customers and attracting new ones’.
About the author
Phil Atherton works for Precept Mentoring Group Ltd. Visit their website for further information.
Last updated 8th June 2016