6. Start the Business

SALES – Start your Sales Program and Sales Team

What are Sales?
Sales is about getting enough people to buy your products or services
It doesn’t matter how good a product is, it will not sell itself. If you want to achieve good sales you will have to take deliberate steps to promote, sell and distribute the products effectively.

Marketing embraces the whole concept of trying to satisfy the needs of the customer while making a profit at the same time. Selling is concerned with ensuring that enough customers will buy the goods that you have available. This means you will need good sales people to bring your products to the attention of potential customers.

Steps in the Sales Process
If you are in business you need to understand the basics of sales and not only how the process works, but also how to develop them to suit your business and satisfy your customers.

If you are selling a product or service the following are steps you should be fully aware of:

  • Have full knowledge of your products or services.
    If you are in business you need to have a full understanding of your products or service, including how unique they are and what advantages or attributes they have over other products. You need to be confident about what your products or services have to offer your customers.

  • Make contact with customers.
    The sales conversations with people in your target market should start as soon as possible so you are able to get to know them and they get to know about you.

  • Explain the benefits.
    You will need to explain to your potential customers what you products and services can do for them. It’s important that they understand your product or service will solve their problems or satisfy their needs. This means you also need to know the advantages and disadvantages of your competitors’ products and services, so that you can offer your customers superior products or services.

  • Finalise the sale.
    Most business people focus on closing the sale. You should, however, focus more on satisfying your customer’s need and encouraging your customers to make a commitment to your business and products. The closing of the sale is not the end of the process, but should be the beginning of an ongoing relationship with that customer.

  • Distribution.
    Distribution or delivery of your products is part of the sales process, although this is achieved after the sale has been signed and sealed. Once the sale has been closed, you still do not have a revenue stream from until the products have been delivered.

  • Make sure you follow up.
    After the sale has been completed, make sure you carry out the normal follow up. It is important to maintain a relationship with your customers because this type of service goes down well and if your relationship is a good one, then your customers will tell others. The idea of business of course, is to act in such a manner that your customers are satisfied and will return to buy from you in the future. Make sure that the follow up process is a key factor in your business strategy because it’s important to iron out any problems that may exist and you will not know about such problems unless you are following up and discussing any concerns your customer may have.

The 3 Basic Secrets of Selling
The greatest impact on your sales will come from customers who have developed a good relationship with you and you understand clearly their interests and desires, and what they want to get from your business and your products.

There are a couple of basic secrets to successful selling:

  1. Satisfy Customer’s Needs.
    The basic secret is showing your customers what they want to satisfy their needs and convincing them that you will do everything possible to help them satisfy that desire. It means that need to find out what your customers want and why they will buy it, and understand the reasons why they will buy it from you.

  2. Talk and Listen.
    One of the keys to discovering what your customers are looking for is to talk with them and listen to what they say. This is very simple to master, if you are looking at winning over your customers and selling more products or services to them. As soon as you know your customer’s requirements, show them what you have to satisfy them and then ask for the sales order.

  3. Don’t pressure customers
    If you simply pressure customers to sign an order over without understanding what they need it for and how it will satisfy them, then even though you may get the initial sale, the important issue of obtaining repeat sales would have been missed. It is important that you ask your customers the right questions to see where they are coming from and then listen to what they say before making decisions as to the direction of your business.

Traits of theTop Sales People
Top sales people will have common traits as follows:

  1. They are investors.
    They are prepared to invest in themselves. They are the people that attend all the seminars, obtain all the audio tapes, read all the necessary books in order to build up their expertise and knowledge.

  2. They are seekers.
    They are prepared to look at everything that will send them to the next stage. They know that there is more money for them at the next level and they are prepared to seek whatever it takes to make that level because they know that there are other benefits when they move up. They are the people that enjoy growing and creating because they know that growth and creation is beneficial to their overall ability as a sales person.

  3. They are implementers.
    They are the people who are prepared to implement whatever is necessary to achieve results. They are not interested in just obtaining good ideas, they want to follow through and implement those ideas in order to win out. Too many sales people are able to agree with the great ideas that are raised to achieve great sales results. Unfortunately, few of them are prepared to implement them and put in the necessary commitment to win out immediately.

The three requirements are therefore to invest, seek and implement.

Basic Sales Ideas and Suggestions
Here are a few sales ideas which may help you to obtain those extra orders.

  • Make sure you keep up to date with what is happening in the news. This requires you to read the newspaper and journals and be aware of what is happening in the marketplace.
  • Make sure you follow up on all your mailings and email messages and faxes as soon as possible.
  • Work the hours that enables you to complete the job.
  • Make sure you do at least two cold calls a day.
  • Build your network by passing all your sales information and your calling card to everyone that you know including your professional advisers, your suppliers, your advertising agency etc.
  • Make sure you include your email address and fax number on all orders so that customers can contact you quickly.
  • Try and make reordering easy by providing pre addressed envelopes or other means of quick reordering.
  • Always display your products or services by having samples at your office and other places that you call on.
  • Keep in touch with your clients and remind them that you are there to assist them if they have any problems.
  • Make sure you come back to your former clients by email or phone in order to reactivate their interest and possibly generate more orders.
  • Try and use the internet so that you can receive orders through your own website or the business website.
  • If you are online make sure that you have an email system which can produce automatic responses to those who enquire.

6 Sensible Ways to Increase Sales
Here is a list of some suggestions to use in your marketing efforts.

  1. Promote your own USP.
    USP stands for Unique Selling Proposition. You need to promote the compelling reason why a potential customer would do business with you instead of going to a competitor.

  2. Target your markets.
    You need to know what your niche market is and target them. Even though your products or services are for most people, your marketing results will produce the best results for the lowest cost if you target towards those who have the greatest need for what you have to offer. In other words, identify your niche markets and go for it.

  3. Take away any risk.
    People do not buy because they do not want to take the chance of obtaining something that is different to what they expected. In other words, they do not want to lose money on the deal. Remove that risk by guaranteeing satisfaction or by offering a money back guarantee.

  4. Always make an offer.
    Always include a powerful offer when advertising. An offer of free information or a free gift can produce strong results.

  5. Make sure you diversify.
    It is a far less costly exercise to obtain business from satisfied customers than to find totally new customers. Make sure you keep diversifying into new products and services and offer them to your existing customers.

  6. Keep everything fresh.
    You need to keep expanding into new areas by testing new products and services. You cannot stand still because if you do, you will go backwards. Make sure you invest part of your budget in the area of developing new products or new ways of doing things that will be of interest to your existing customers as well as potential new customers.

How to Convert Prospects into Customers
Here are some simply procedures that any business can implement.

  1. Improve your offer.
    Most customers will take time to consider what you have to offer them but generally they will come to a decision that there are other things more important or more urgent to consider. One way to capture their sales is to dramatically improve your offer so that they are enticed to look at you as a first choice and act on that.

  2. Develop a system to follow up.
    Most customers will not buy the first time they hear about your products but you can increase your sales if you keep following them up. The follow up procedure can be as simple as contacting those prospects every month or so with a new offer.

“ Up Selling” is a Simple Art That Increases Sales
Up selling is a procedure which is designed to gain more money from your customers at the point of sale. You can create up selling by offering your customers an upgraded product or extra products when they are making that purchase. Customers are generally receptive to an attractive offer from you when they are paying you money.

A lot of businesses will avoid up selling because they are afraid that the customer will be annoyed and not buy at all. Amazingly the opposite is more the case. Customers will appreciate your thoughtfulness in offering them an added benefit that they did not know about.

Some business owners have admitted that they don't upsell because they don’t believe it was not feasible in their business. They only came around when they were told of the success in upselling that their competitors achieved. There is no doubt that a sound upselling program is a gold mine for e every business.

Providing the Impact that Results in an Order
Here are some suggestions:

  1. Gain attention fast by providing a list of the many benefits that your customers can obtain if they buy.
  2. Inject powerful tools or reasons so as to convert your reader’s emotional interest in your product into logical reasons to buy.
  3. Make sure you highlight the features of your products and services because it is a benefit that your customers receive that will motivate them to purchase.
  4. Do everything in your power to compel your reader to buy immediately. This may be by way of order form or an 0800 number or push them to make a decision by making a special price offer.

All these things are necessary in your sales to provide that impact that will result in an order.

Learn to Use the Internet for Sales
A big question is whether the Internet will bring about the slow death of the salesperson. Many salespeople have raised this question over and over again. If one were honest, they would have to admit that it is still an unknown area.

Many current sales will certainly be affected by online selling, but the question of whether it will totally replace a majority of sales remains unanswered.

There is no doubt the Internet will replace many outside sales, so a salesperson who is able to make use of this medium will find they can add value to their tally by combining both outside and online sales to reach optimum customer satisfaction and maximum sales orders.

The online factor is moving very rapidly. The Internet is an area that all salespeople need to “come to grips with” and use.

How Salespeople benefit from the Internet
Here are some points every salesperson needs to look at:

  1. Use contact management: There is a lot of contact management software around, so make use of this. The benefits are clear and most salespeople should have this as part of their automated strategy. You need to collect information about your customers and record contacts, as well as quotes and other sales information.

  2. Presentations: You should use your laptop to develop presentations to bring your products to your customers. The Internet allows you to present colourful and attractive presentations, which you can view with your potential customer. Take the time to create presentations that will make a difference when sitting with your customer.

  3. Email: This is no doubt one of the best uses of the Internet today. Make use of email to communicate with your customers, as well as your salespeople. Use it as a sales tool. It will cut down the time needed keeping contact with customers. You will be able turn enquiries into sales.

  4. Use the Internet for searching. You can use the Internet to find information that will be of value to your customers. Your customers could come to rely on you as a source of important information, which will build confidence in your ability to provide what they need, when they need it. They say that time is the most precious commodity in this information age, so make use of the Internet as a source of information to help your customers achieve the best use of time.

The 4 Most Common Objections From Customers

Some of the more common types of objections are:

  • I don’t need it. The prospect says he does not need the product or service and that may be simply a reaction to a terrible presentation or there may be a true lack of need.

  • Don’t have any money. The prospect may need the product but simply does not have the money. If price is the major objection then the prospect may try to determine what the best price is before making a buying decision. If the prospect is generally concerned about the price then respond by suggesting a way that they can buy a product. In doing so, the objection may be overcome.

  • The delay. The most common form of objection is the delay. That is, the prospect will stall having to make a decision. To overcome stalling you have to be polite and positive and turning the objection around so you can address the needs and benefits of the prospects and bring them around to having to make a decision otherwise they will lose that benefit.

  • The product. Sometimes the prospect will object to the product itself. They might not like the product, they may feel it’s not as good as the competitors etc. In this case, you will have to bring up again the benefits of the products and the points why it is preferred over other products available.

Closing Techniques – a Must for Every Salesperson

Here are some closing techniques that can be used:

  • Direct close. This is simply asking for the order when you are sure that your prospect is ready to buy.

  • Time driven close. This works with statements like “prices are going up next week so you should go ahead and let me place your order today”.

  • A deal or concession close. This technique gives the prospect the feeling that they are making a smart choice in saving money or getting extra value by buying now. You can use phrases such as “order today and I can add this module for only 10% more”.

  • Trial offer. You can tell a prospect that they can use the product at no risk for a trial period.

There are many other closing techniques but these are the more commonly used ones.

Getting Repeat Sales is the Goal
What are the secrets to repeat business? One of the main secrets is great customer service.

Think about it.

The last time you purchased from a business, what was it that made you come back for more? Was it the customer service or the low price? Was it the money-back guarantee, or was it the follow through they carried out that enticed you to return?

Here are some things to consider that may help you boost your repeat business:

  1. Follow through fully: Always follow through. Don’t just tell a customer you will be in touch. Make sure you call them, or email them within the next few days. By doing so you build a relationship that will lock in your customer for future purchases.

  2. Show Care: One of the main complaints from customers is that businesses don’t seem to care about whether they buy from them or not. Try and build a relationship with your customers. Send a thank you note or an email, simply to keep in contact.

  3. Handle complaints fully: Make sure you handle any complaints so that customers are fully satisfied. If necessary, give a refund because it is better to take a small loss, to get the repeat business.

  4. Have a plan for handling customers who are not satisfied: Have in place a flexible plan for dealing with customers who are not 100% happy. It has been proven that if you entrust your customers with care and fairness they will always come back for repeat business because of the confidence and trust that has been built up.

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