Many people fear selling. The thought of rejection is uncomfortable. The fact is that sales is a numbers games. If you have a 10% conversation rate, you will need to present to 10 qualified buyers before someone accepts your offer. To become more successful, you must either make more sales presentations or increase your conversion rate.
Over the past few years, I’ve taken a different perspective to selling. I no longer consider a rejection as “I don’t want to do business with you.” Today, my approach is that the timing is not right. My sales calls are to qualified buyers, so I’m aware they are interested in what I have to offer. However, they might already have a provider, or perhaps the item is not in their budget. My goal is to nurture these prospects, keeping them in the loop until they are ready to buy.
Here are three proven ways to increase business sales:
#1: Have a clear understanding of the value your product or service will provide the customer.
The customer doesn’t buy a copy machine. Instead, they buy a tool that makes fast and high quality copies. In other words, you must put yourself in the shoes of the customer. The First Class passenger is willing to pay more for a flight because she will have a comfortable environment to work, eat, and sleep.
We You can only know the needs of the customer by consistently asking for feedback. Avoid implementing a new approach without the input from the customer. Be aware that your customer often has other customers, and it’s your responsibility to know the needs and wants of those individuals, too.
#2: Providing more depth and width to your product line.
Selling just one version of a particular item is problematic. Imagine a university offering just one degree: Business Administration in Management. That’s it! When you enroll, you are assigned 40 classes required to earn your undergraduate degree. You cannot select any electives (no depth), and you cannot choose a different major (width). You are a 100% Management student.
Variety expands your product line, and makes the organization more marketable. By adding more majors, the university can attract more students, and thereby increase revenue. The cash flow increase improves the ability to make investments in other ventures. This cycle improves the competitive nature of the business.
#3: Develop a sales plan, and stick to it.
The problem facing many organizations is failing to have a sales and marketing plan. In many instances, the sales staff is still following practices from a decade ago. For example, they use only print media to target our customers. I heard recently from a newspaper executive that dailies are dying, replaced by a Sunday only model.
The pre-Baby Boomer age group is married to technology. It’s important to target this group with information they can retrieve on their mobile devices. Technology continues to change, and the marketing team must keep with the pace.
Finally, I must reinforce the importance of metrics. You must know your baseline, or our starting point. Once you know where you are today, you can develop our goals and identify the milestones in between. When the plan is sound, you must stick with it even when obstacles arise. Of course, the role of leadership is to ensure that you keep making measured progress despite the many challenges.