Sales skills are essential for every small business owner. No matter how good your products and services are, you still need to convince people to take a chance on your brand. Only 17 percent of small businesses fail due to a poor product; 19 percent are outcompeted, while another 14 fail due to poor marketing skills. To avoid this outcome, here are a few simple sales tips that every small business owner should know.
Set Up a Sales Funnel
The sales funnel is a key concept with which all small business owners must become familiar. It should be designed to convert qualified leads into sales as efficiently as possible. Typically, a sales funnel has three key stages.
- Build Awareness
The first step is to make people aware of your brand, without pressuring them to buy. You can build a website, advertise in local publications, or attend local events. However, generating awareness isn't enough; you need to keep people in your sales funnel by staying in touch with them. Offering prospects something free in exchange for their contact details is a good way to generate leads.
The next step is to nurture your leads. Get in touch with your leads to offer them information about your products and promotions. Don't push too hard for a sale at this point. The focus should be on providing consumers with valuable information.
The final stage of the sales funnel involves using conversion tools like landing pages, and sales calls with a trained representative to convince customers to buy. During this stage, you should be ready to answer specific questions customers have about your products or pricing.
Know Your USP
Your brand's unique selling point should be at the heart of all your sales efforts. You need to clearly define what differentiates your brand from your competitors and communicate that USP clearly to potential customers.
Know Your Audience's Pain Points
What are the biggest problems your target customers face in their daily lives? If you cannot answer this question, you are not ready to sell. Use market research to find out what problems your target market faces and then focus your sales strategy on helping potential customers address those problems.
Personalize Your Sales Tactics
Consumers today expect companies to treat them as individuals, not simply as sources of revenue. A survey has shown that 70 percent of consumers crave more personalization, with many expecting companies to remember their past purchases and know how long they have been a customer. You can meet consumers' expectations by alerting them when products they like go on sale or suggesting products they might like based on their previous purchases.
Consumers buy from brands they trust. To position your company as a thought leader in your niche, consider writing guest blogs or giving talks about the problems your customers face. Your Better Business Bureau regularly accepts guest blogs for its online magazine Torch Talk.
You can also include testimonials and case studies in your marketing materials to show customers that they can rely on your brand to deliver a good product or service. Eighty-eight percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, so these can be a good way to persuade people to take a chance on your brand.
Encourage Skill Sharing Within Sales Teams
If you have several people working on selling your products, encourage each sales rep to share their techniques with their coworkers. Consider creating a sales playbook to which every salesperson contributes their knowledge and experience. This shared document will help to retain sales skills in your organization even when salespeople move on.
Upsell to Existing Customers
Acquiring a new customer costs 68 percent more than making a further sale to a customer already known to your business. By encouraging your existing customers to consider products similar to the ones they have bought from you in the past, or explaining the benefits they could reap by upgrading their service plan with your brand, you could increase your revenue dramatically. Just don't be too pushy, or you could risk putting off your loyal customer base. If the upsells you suggest meet customers' needs, you shouldn't have to push hard to close a sale.
Never Stop Learning
Sales skills are essential to the success of any business, no matter how small or large. Stay up to date with the latest sales techniques by following business blogs to ensure your skills always stay sharp. The next step is to put your learning into action by scheduling time to review your sales strategy on a regular basis.