Article #81, May, 2009
7 Secrets to Successful Sales in Small Business
I love sales, but it was not always this way. Like you, I have had some bad experiences with salespeople that really affected my opinion.
Fear of rejection is also a common reason for business owners to dislike sales. Between the old school "used car salesman" experiences and the rejection, it is no wonder people have a bad opinion of sales. Much of the dislike of sales comes from not having a successful system.
After getting my business degree and working a few years, I realized that I was pretty good at sales and could make good money in sales. I received some of the best sales training available and did make some good money in sales. Let me share my secrets to success with you.
- Believe in your product. When you know in every cell of your body that there are people who will absolutely benefit from your product, you will be doing them a disservice by NOT telling them about it. You must truly believe that your target market will receive value for the price. For example, I know a woman who sells household products with a network marketing company. She is not a trained business person by any means, yet she sells a lot of product because she knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that her product changes people's lives for the better.
- Listen. Most of the time, your prospect will tell you exactly what you need to do and say to close the deal. Let them talk and pay close attention! You might want to start taking notes from the first contact.
- Genuinely care about your prospects and their problems. Don't you know when someone is just trying to sell you something and doesn't really care about your problems? Enough said.
- Ask questions. Take charge of the sales meeting, guiding the prospect to the conclusion. Ask questions whose answers will allow you to give the prospect the information they need to make a decision. Find out what they have been doing without your product and what problems they need solved.
- Give a free sample. This is probably the best strategy you can employ. You know when you are in the grocery store and the nice lady gives you a taste of the newest salad dressing or frozen dinner? It helps you make the decision to buy or not to buy. Same concept! Share your brilliance. Give first and see how it comes back to you. Even if they don't purchase from you immediately, they may tell everyone about your product and how terrific you are, then make a purchase for themselves later. One note: do not expect the prospect to make a purchase just because you gave them something for free. It does not work that way, one for one, but it will come back to you if you give with no immediate expectation of a return.
- Anticipate objections. Prepare for your sales meetings by brainstorming a list of all the reasons why somebody would say ‘no' to your offer, then figure out how to overcome each objection. Go one step further and address all objections in your ‘pitch' before they are even mentioned.
- Ask for the sale. There is an old saying in sales - "If you don't ask, you don't get." You can be subtle about it and feel good about your close, but you need to ask. Try my favorite close: "How would you like to move forward?" Then be quiet! Let them take all the time they need to think it over. There is another old saying in sales - "He who speaks first loses."
These 7 Secrets will take you far in your sales meetings. Once you have figured out what works best for you, your product and your target market, do it exactly like that every time. It may become old for you, but the prospect has never heard it before, so don't change it. Put some positive energy into it and don't forget to ask for the sale!