Quite a few entrepreneurs fail because they don’t understand the most important element at the heart of their business. Knowing how to sell. Knowing how to sell your goods, services or ideas is the foundation on which the entire business rests. If this foundation is faulty, then the entire structure of the business will collapse on itself.
Successful CEO’s know how to sell their business. Not only to their customers, but also to investors and other business with whom they want to partner. It is without any exaggeration that I state that it is an absolute imperative to be well versed in selling techniques if you want to operate a successful business. With that purpose in mind, here are the ten steps that will help you strengthen your selling skills.
1. Understand Your Customers Buying Process
Understanding the process that your customers use to buy goods or services is critical to developing a sales strategy. Consumers usually buy based on emotions, but corporations often have a streamlined process that they use when they are considering buying a product. Knowing the formula these companies use when buying will allow you to develop a plan that will walk them through the entire process.
2. Plan The Process
Once you have determined your customer’s buying process, it is now time to craft a plan that lines up with their plan. Every customer’s needs and wants are different, so it is vitally important to mirror your sales plan with your customer’s sales plan. Using a static plan designed to fit all customers is a mistake made only by novices.
3. Focus On The Top Decision Makers
The last thing you want is to have to make your sales pitch to every single person in a companies chain of command. Therefore, when ever you get the chance, you should work towards making your pitch to the person at the top of the command chain.
4. Sales Are Always Personal
Corporations are emotionless automatons and can’t be sold on the personal or emotional aspects of your product, service or idea. However, corporations are run by people and people not only enjoy being sold but often look at the sales process in a personal manner. Sell to this person directly and show him or her how your product benefits them and their company. Connecting personally with the people responsible for the companies purchases will increase your chances of closing a sale.
5. Always Sell Value
If your entire sales pitch is based solely on price, then you are already on the road to failure. Show your customer how your product adds value. How does it save them labor, time or money in the long run? What separates your product from your competitors product?
6. Back Up Your Claims
People are naturally suspicious so it is important to show evidence that will back up any claims you have about your product. It is also important that you don’t exaggerate the benefits of your product. A customer who finds out that you oversold your product with inflated claims or exaggerated the benefits is a customer lost forever.
7. Strive To Be Unique
One of the most important things you have to realize is that your customers often have many buying options. They may be currently talking to a number of different salesmen with products that are similar to yours. Therefore, it is very important that you set yourself apart from the crowd. Remember, you are not only selling your product, but you are also selling yourself on a personal level. Use that to your advantage.
8. Competition is Healthy
More than likely, your customers has competitors of their own. Use this to your advantage. Companies are always looking for ways to gain an advantage over their competitors. They often also have a good deal of respect for their competitors. Letting your customers know that their competitors are also considering your product is often enough incentive for them to give you a chance to pitch your product.
9. Keep Track Of Your Customers
In order to guide your customer through their sales process, you have to know exactly where they are in their process. This allows you to not only deal with particular problems that might arise during the process, but also shows your customer that you are serious about making the sale.
10. Avoid Twelfth Hour Sales
If you have to jump in at the last minute of a sale, then you have not been keeping up with your customers or walking them through the sales process. This gives your customer a distinct advantage. An advantage that might give them enough leverage to alter the terms or price point of the deal in a way that benefits them and not you.
Executing the above steps will not only allow you to sell your product, service or idea more effectively, but also allows you to remain as cool as a cucumber through the whole process. This means more sales and more money in your pocket.
Photo Credit: Flickr/Ian Muttoo