Does it surprise you to learn that 80% of sales are made after the 5th contact with a new client? The common denominator for small business owners and entrepreneurs is the challenge of how to close on sales more often and with greater ease and confidence. I have found this to be the most common missing piece of the entrepreneurial puzzle for new business owners as well as for tenured business people as the marketplace has changed so dramatically in our ‘challenged’ economy. For example, approximately 20 other people are competing for your potential client’s money, so how can you best rise above the chatter in this buyers market? Here are some savvy sales tips from Jan Hart and Lisa Hart, of Back 2 Our Roots:
1) The new emerging sales rules abide by the 4 R’s: Reach, Relevance, Relationships, and Resilience. Key takeaways: You need to be in more places than ever before (networking, social media, industry events, etc), potential prospects want more value, results and proven ROI than ever before, you have to be reliable, consistent and trustworthy, you need to plan on everything taking longer (sales cycles are now being drawn out even longer), you must aggressively network and golden rule: you must follow-up with your prospects throughout and after the sales cycle.
2) Always be prospecting. Seize every opportunity and situation you find yourself in both personally and professionally as an opportunity to identify a prospect/potential new client/referral. Be creative-think outside the box to find and create leads. Tap into your sphere of influence. Follow-up on leads. Be persistent, not pushy.
3) Analyze your customers. Understand their key needs and challenges, discover their hot buttons and determine their intentions upfront so you do not waste time with prospects who don’t have the need or budget for your service/product.
4) Make sales presentations: Find any opportunity that you can to address a group of potential clients/ i.e. your target market and make your value proposition come alive, tailor it to your audience, communicate your key benefit.
5) Be prepared to overcome objections: Objections means that your prospect is interested and is merely trying to alleviate risk. The most common objections are regarding time, value, money, location, quality, trust-so be prepared to provide alternative solutions to all of those aspects of your business.
6) Close the deal! This is the most critical part of the sales process–remembering to ask for the business. Know when it is time to stop selling (typically after the prospect has said a series of ‘Yes’s’ to your open-ended questions) and start test closing (offering ‘if/then’ trial closes) and then be ready to close for a written commitment for your services and products: “Which package of services would you like to sign up for today”, “When would the best day be for me to deliver you your purchases today?”
7) Follow through. Ask for testimonials, referrals, arrange a reunion, thank them with a handwritten note and a gift.
In closing-remember that people buy from people they like and who they trust. Become a trusted advisor to your prospects and focus single-handedly on helping your clients solve their problems–and in time, they will have solved all of yours!