You have started your business, and now it’s time to hit the ground running! Those initial sales will be vital to growing your business—but what are the best ways to get there?
Of course, we want to do anything and everything to bring in sales. But on a finite amount of time and energy, you’ll want to focus on what is the most effective.
Sales are about a relationship with the customer. By using these strategies, you can increase sales and build a customer base that will last.
1. Understand Your Customer
It may seem basic, but you need to know who your customer is. Ask yourself questions about your potential customers:
- What is their pain point?
- What will motivate them to buy?
- How will they find you?
- What do they need to make a decision?
By answering these questions and anything else relevant to your industry, you can make sure that your customers will be receptive to your messaging. Use this information to your advantage.
When you identify your customer, you can also clarify who isn’t your customer. Don’t focus on these—move on. They are not your customers, and you should not waste your resources on chasing them.
2. Identify What Sets You Apart
With a quick search, customers can find almost anything online. Why should they choose you?
You should be very clear about what sets you apart from your competition—and be able to articulate it. From your website to sales calls, you want your customers to know who you are and why you are different.
Spend some time learning about your competitors. What are their weaknesses? Figure out how to turn their weaknesses into your strengths.
3. Put the Customer at Ease
The customer is investing in you. The more you can put their minds at ease, the more quickly you can turn a “maybe” into a “yes.”
If you have customer testimonials or reviews, use them. Develop case studies or success stories. You want your customers to see that “other people have been in their shoes,” and you were able to help solve a problem.
Assure your customers that they will be satisfied with your product and service. If you offer a guarantee or refund, make sure the customer knows it. It shows that you stand by your products.
4. Ask Questions
…and listen. The more you know about the customer, the more you will be able to position yourself and the value you bring.
Often, salespeople get caught up in wanting to show every detail and how every problem can be solved… without listening to the customers and the specific problem. By asking the right questions, you can show how you are the solution.
5. Share Information and Content
You may find that you don’t want to “give away too much,” but information is everything in today’s world. The more accessible you can make yourself and your brand, the more the customers will feel like they know you.
Your digital marketing strategy should both content marketing and social media. Meet your customers where they are, and provide them with material that they will find useful. Allow them to engage with you—and embrace it.
All of this is about building the relationship and positioning yourself in the marketplace.
6. Assume You Have Won the Business
You will want to frame your questions as if the sale has already happened. Don’t ask if they would like to buy your product or service, but how they see themselves using it.
Assume your prospective customers have done some research in advance. Unless you used cold calling, the customer likely has already been on your website or done some initial digging. They made a choice to continue looking at you as a solution.
By assuming you have already won the business in your conversations, it shows your confidence in the sale and helps to build the relationship.
7. Be Prepared to Overcome Objections
Now comes the tricky part of the sales process: overcoming objections. Customers always want it all: the best price, the best quality, and the best service.
The more prepared you are to answer the objections, the more you can increase your sales. If you get stuck, you may find yourself losing a lot of potential business.
Instead of being frustrated by objections, think of them as a request for more information. The more you know about the reasoning behind the objection, the better you can address them.
Here are some examples of common objections.
Example #1: Too Expensive
An objection to cost is where you will need to convince the customer of your value. If you have an ROI example, share that information. Or make the customer aware of the high quality of service that will be received.
It helps to dig into the objection of “too expensive.” Expensive compared to what? Sometimes customers throw cost out there in the hopes of negotiating, so press the customers on what “too expensive” means to them.
Example #2: Product/Service Doesn’t Meet Needs
You want your customers to see themselves with your product/service. This is where the “assume the sale” strategy comes into play and also “ask questions and listen.”
Sometimes, customers may not think the product/service meets their needs, but they have not articulated their pain points well or need you to clarify what you can offer as a solution. Provide examples from other customers that have been in similar situations.
Example #3: Unsure of Change
People don’t like change, and perhaps your prospective customers are hesitant to make a change. If the investment is a large one, they may be even more reluctant.
Here is where you can point to success stories from other customers or reviews. Help the prospect see that other satisfied customers made the change, and they saw an improvement and results.
Example #4: Unsure of the Relationship
This is a nice way of saying “lack of trust.” Maybe the customer is not familiar with your company and your brand. Maybe this is where your competitors have an advantage.
This is also where testimonials and reviews can help, but you will also want to establish yourself as an authority. The content that you share as part of your digital marketing strategy should help you here. You want the customer to trust that you know the industry and can deliver.
Example #5: Lack of Urgency
Timing is always an issue, and the customer may not see a need for a purchase right now.
You can attempt to force more interest with promotions or limited time offers to make a deal seem too good to pass up. You’ll want to do this in such a way that you don’t devalue your brand too much.
The information that you learn about your customer may also help you identify certain patterns or cycles to your sales. Are customers more likely to buy at a specific time of year (as an example)?
Ultimately, you want to have a good follow-up process in place so that if “not now, maybe later” comes up, you can catch the customers when they are ready to buy. Whether it is email campaigns or phone calls, you want to be sure you are on their minds.
8. Push for a Decision
One of the worst things for a sale is indecision. You may be spinning your wheels on a “maybe.”
Keep asking questions, and try to force a decision out of the customer. Even if the answer is “no,” then at least you can move on with life.
You don’t have to directly ask, “Are you going to buy?” Instead, you can ask, “Are you ready to make a decision?” If not, you need to figure out what other information you need to provide or determine if the customer will be stuck in indecision forever.
9. Never Over-Promise
The phrase “over-promise and under-deliver”? It probably goes without saying: don’t do that.
In selling yourself, you need to ensure that you can deliver on what is promised. Better yet—you want to exceed the customer’s expectations.
Unhappy customers will lead to refunds, bad reviews, and short relationships. None of these will lead to growth in your business.
10. Have Your Negotiation Skills Ready
Your customer is ready for “The Close.” Some salespeople thrive on the art of negotiation, while others shy away from it.
The best thing you can be is prepared. Continue to ask questions throughout the negotiation process and be patient. Try to get the customer to commit to a timeline to close.
When customers have decided to buy, they have formed some attachment to what is being sold. They can see themselves using the product or service. Use this to your advantage without pushing too hard.
Use These Strategies to Increase Sales
Now that you have some strategies to grow your business, you can set some goals for sales. Your plan for success will depend on implementing the sales strategies that make the most sense for your company.