Want to sell more this year? Of course you do! Without sales, you don’t need production or even marketing. In fact, your whole company is supported by sales. We like to say, “Regardless of what their organization chart says, all companies only have only two divisions, Sales and Sale Support!” in other words, if you’re not in sales, you’re in sales support. You are there to support sales.
So how can you improve sales this year? Here are our top five tips to do just that!
- Believe in Your Product
Sales is frustrating more times than not. The sales cycle always take a lot longer than you expect. Meanwhile, you’ve got bills hungry for bucks. It can get down right discouraging. What keeps you going? A deep belief in your product and the benefits it will provide your customers.
But it’s not enough for you to believe in your product. Your whole sales support staff has to believe as well. It’s not only what keeps them going – it’s what keeps your people engaged in the sales process. It’s what encourages them to come up with solutions to sales challenges. Everyone they talk to will know they believe in your product.
- Don’t Oversell
We once had a partner we’re not ashamed to say we parted company with. One time he was pitching our products to a big buyer in North Carolina. The meeting was going well. The buyer was definitely showing buying signals. Finally the buyer asked, “When can we get these products in?” It was at that point that our former partner decided to keep on selling with features and benefits and other products the buyer should buy. After about 6 minutes of selling past the close, the buyer said, “On second thought, we are going to pass at this time! Good day gentlemen!” It was 3 years before we got back into that account and we had to assure the buyer that our former partner was no longer with us.
Many entrepreneurs are so used to arguing their selling points, they don’t even hear the buying signals. We like to say, “Know when it’s time to shut up before you get shut out!” In other words, stop selling when the sale is made!
- Service What You Sell
One major thing that hurts sales is not servicing what you sell. Many entrepreneurs are so desperate to make sales happen that they forget what it really takes to keep their customers happy. Service! With good service, your customers will be more likely to brag you up to their colleagues and refer you to more buyers. Why? Because service is more important that the product.
We tell our clients not to even think about selling until they really understand the cost of sales, not the cost of goods, but the cost of sales. And the biggest cost of sales is service. Want to increase your sales? Double up on service and your reputation will precede you.
- Don’t Stop at B2B
Too many entrepreneurs think the sale is done when they sell their B2B clients. But we say, “There is no such thing as B2B! It’s more like B2B2B2C, because there is always an end-user customer at the end of that alphabet.”
And what does that mean to you? It means that you must take an interest in your customer’s customer’s business if you want your products to sell through. You also want to know how what you sold is being used and if it is being used effectively. If it’s not and you don’t know it, so much for the reorders. Want to improve sales? Get involved downstream from your B2B customer. Take an interest in their success. Remember what happened to the B2B sellers during the last recession. They initially said, “I don’t have to worry. I sell B2B.” They had to worry!
- Be the Assistant Buyer
The world’s best sale pitch is “I can help you sell your product.” When you say that, you will get a great buying signal, “How?” Now you have the mic and you’re front and center stage. But in order to say such a thing with confidence, you really have to do your homework. You have to know what your prospect’s product is.
We thought our retail buyer’s product was selling food and beverage items, same as us. But we were wrong. That was just on the way to his real product which was shelf space. He wanted to see high turnover. He wanted to buy products that would return on his investment in expensive shelf space. So for him , he was more impressed by the speed of our sales than all our features and benefits.
He also wanted to get people into his store, so he was very interested in how we were going to do that. For instance, he wanted to see our seasonal marketing materials that would help decorate his store. So much for features and benefits. Want to sell more? Find out what they are selling and become their “assistant buyer.”
Good luck with your sales this year and use our high five sales tips to make it the best year yet!
Who We Are
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.
Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.
They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.
Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at www.consumerbrandbuilders.com.
To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.